ChillOut sneak peek
With a unique welcoming drawcard, Daylesford has long been associated as Victoria’s queer country hotspot. Lana Wilson spoke to ChillOut Festival Director Simone Gordon about why the Central Highlands is so appealing to queer Melburnians and what ChillOut 2013 has in store.
Daylesford has a special place in the heart of ChillOut Festival punters – those who attend yearly know its calming, provincial charm rests as the perfect backdrop for a weekend away from Melbourne’s frantic grind.
As a town that prides itself on rejuvenation, relaxation and gourmet fare, there is every reason to kick off the office wear and overworked devices in exchange for a weekend of queer fun and community spirit.
“I’ve lived in the area for 12 years, I love the area,” says ChillOut Festival Director Simone Gordon.
“It has so much to offer culturally, scenery and food and wine wise - it’s a great area to live in, there’s a never a dull moment.”
With a resume boasting twenty years of festival experience, the former Melbourne Food and Wine Event Manager says her first year as ChillOut’s Festival Director has been rewarding.
“We’ve worked hard at making our information available earlier, we’ve made our website simpler and easier to use and are making the whole experience for our audience easier and more accessible to get to,” Gordon explains.
Planned for the 2013 program is a plethora of visual and performing acts, dance parties, community activities and food events, as well as the Retrospective Exhibition, which reflects on ChillOut’s 15 years.
“It also acknowledges our past committee members, past volunteers, past community involvement and past audience involvement,” notes Gordon.
“It also recognises without all of those lovely folk before us, we wouldn’t have the privilege of delivering ChillOut.”
Also building the momentum during ChillOut’s various dance parties will be DJ Casio, DJ Simon Edwards and DJ Ma Bower – exciting talent that Gordon says is integral to keeping the festival fresh.
“I think they will work exceptionally well together to get the crowd up and dancing,” Gordon says.
Another fresh addition to the festival is the ChillOut smartphone app, featuring a full menu of event details and a detailed map of key festival venues.
With the festival at possibly its best yet, accommodation and tickets are selling fast, with Gordon encouraging people to consider all forms of accommodation right across the Central Highlands region.
Unlike other GLBTI orientated festivals, the difference the Labour Day long weekend event brings is what could be described as a sense of belonging.
“There’s definitely a positive vibe [in Daylesford],” says Gordon.
“Everyone is jumping on board and helping which is which really great,”
“15 years ago, being gay in the country was not as acceptable as it is now, so to have a festival that created awareness about the gay community being a part of the [country] community…it helps with that acceptance.”
(Image: Dykes on Bikes at ChillOut)