By TILEAH DOBSON
The ABC has proudly announced its lineup of talented and diverse presenters for this year’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, live from the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Saturday, 5 March.
Last year, the ABC brokered a deal with organisers of Mardi Gras to broadcast it for the next three years, including its anticipated return to Oxford Street in 2023.
This year, the lineup of presenters includes TV journalist and presenter Hamish Macdonald, who will be joined by ABCQueer’s Mon Schafter and comedian Steven Oliver in covering the parade. They’ll be supported by drag icon and TV personality Courtney Act, Australian Idol winner and performer Casey Donovan, and ABC News television presenter Jeremy Fernandez.
Macdonald was thrilled to be given the honour of presenting the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras television coverage.
“What better excuse for us all to get together and have a big ol’ party!? I’m thrilled and honoured to be hosting the Mardi Gras for the ABC,” Macdonald said.
“It is an event that brings the whole community together to celebrate, to laugh, and (hopefully, Covid notwithstanding) hug friends enthusiastically. I can’t wait to join Mon, Steven, Courtney, Casey and Jez to help share this event with the whole nation.”
While it will be easier for residents of Sydney and surrounds to attend the festival, those interstate or abroad won’t have to miss out. The ABC promises to broadcast the parade on Saturday, 5 March across the following ABC channels:
- ABC iview and third-party streaming platforms from 6:30pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT)
- ABC TV from 7:30pm AEDT
- Triple J, including the Triple J and ABC listen apps
- ABC Local Radio Evenings from 7pm to 10pm.
The ABC is no stranger to the festival, having been the first media organisation to televise Mardi Gras back in 1994.
Oliver said he was proud to be a part of the ABC’s longstanding commitment to supporting LGBTQI+ events in Australia.
“I’ve been in Mardi Gras quite a few times, I’ve been a roving reporter, I’ve opened Mardi Gras with the spoken word, but this is the first time actually hosting so I’m really looking forward to making the ABC the GayBC!” Oliver said.
One of the world’s most renowned and beloved LGBTQI+ celebrations, the Mardi Gras theme this year is ‘United We Shine’. The theme’s message is clear: LGBTQI+ communities shine brighter together, and by soaring against hate and inequality as a collective, the core message of love and inclusion is heard louder
It’s a message that resonates strongly with Schafter.
“I’m really looking forward to being able to celebrate my community, who I love so much, with the whole of Australia. I feel like on this night all my worlds come together. It’s ‘Queer Christmas’ and everyone’s invited!” Schafter said.
A talented lineup has been promised for the parade, with singer/songwriter Darren Hayes returning to Australia for his first live performance Down Under in a decade.
The parade will also include performances by Australian music legend Vanessa Amorosi and ARIA-nominated singer/songwriter Mo’Ju, as well as globally iconic children’s entertainers, The Wiggles.
Tileah Dobson is the news and queer editor of the Sydney Sentinel.