December 10th, 2023Boots and bling: what’s in store for ChillOut 24
Planning is well advanced for Daylesford’s ChillOut ’24 with a “cornucopia of queer talent” in store for the annual March long weekend attraction.
Five major key events have been launched with a considerable number of umbrella events also locked in, along with the 2024 theme – Boots and Bling.
Friday night, March 8, is opening night at the town hall and it’s shaping as one colossal dance party.
“Friday night we have 100% Dance at the town hall so we can get some more life into the main street,” says festival programmer Jacqui Walter.
“That’s with the 100% Kylie Tribute Show and we have Kween Kong and her dancers, and we also have the amazing soulful voice of Shauna Jensen. She’s coming down from Sydney with lots of great dance hits.
“It’s basically designed to have people up and dancing from start to finish with DJ Du Jour closing the night out. It should be fantastic.
“Saturday night we have Funk Soul Sista at the Town Hall. That is a queer women event. Queer women and their chosen family and friends are welcome, celebrating queer women’s music and that’s emceed by the amazing singing sensation Denise Hanlon from Sydney.”
Bluehouse will also be making a rare appearance with their drummer, Julia Day, and Sydney’s Bek Jensen will have festival-goers up and dancing with her funk soul band while the services of DJ Eddie have been secured to close out the night.
It’s a case of being spoilt for choice, with ChillOut’s inimitable Bush Dance also poised to return on the Saturday night at Victoria Park where it will be co-hosted by Sexy Galexy and Nate Byrne from the ABC, with some potentially startling appearances by Spankie Jackzon, winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under in 2022.
“We’ll also have Brenda Bressed singing with country band The Cartwheels and we’ll have The String Band back. It will be a massive night,” Jacqui says.
Sunday, March 10 features the festival’s iconic street parade down Daylesford’s main drag and Carnivale at Victoria Park.
“It’s anticipated that special guest Courtney Act will be popping up at any one of the events over the weekend,” says Jacquie.
Jacquie also says Courtney will be shouldering co-hosting duties at Carnivale, a day of community, laughter, and joy co-hosted by Nate Byrne, and Narelda Jacobs.
Carnival will also feature Kween Kong, Katie Underwood, Sexy Galexy, DJ Du Jour, DJ Eddie, Shauna Jensen, The Lost Girls, Bek Jensen duo, Dolly Diamond and more, with a closing performance by Courtney Act.
“There’s a whole lot of umbrella events being launched at the moment as we speak, and our usual suspects like the tennis tournament, the social walking, there’s an art experience, wine tours and we’ll have our shuttle bus working as well,” Jacqui says.
“It’s just a feast. We’ve got all the great local drag queens coming up from Melbourne and Ballarat. We’ve got the Youth Muster, which is a free event, happening on Saturday at Vic Park, drag story telling…
“And Lavandaze of course, out at Lavandula on Sunday into Sunday night. That’ll be a big afternoon and it’s incredibly popular too. It’s a beautiful setting.
“There are more announcements to come. We’re still a good two months off yet. We’re working on some more exciting events. We’re looking to celebrate a real cornucopia of queer talent.”
Words: Eve Lamb | Images: Michelle Donnelly