Brisbane’s queer festival to MELT hearts and open minds

The Huxleys promotional photograph for Brisbane Powerhouse's queer festival MELT
The Huxleys

MELT brings together queer artists and allies for a truly spectacular must-see festival at Brisbane Powerhouse. 

Queensland’s unapologetic festival of queer revelry is back for its eighth edition at the Brisbane Powerhouse. 

The event runs from November 11 to 26, featuring a fortnight of celebration of LGBTQIA+ artists and allies in the domains of music, theatre, and stunning visual exhibitions. 

Brisbane Powerhouse will play host to acts from across the globe including home-grown talent and international world stars, coming together to showcase and celebrate the diversity that is the heart of the queer community.

The party starts with Kah-Lo

Kicking off the festival party in unmissable style, Kah-Lo opens Melt with her house-laced hits and dance beats. Following this epic show will be a Melt opening party to remember, as Brisbane Powerhouse comes alive with DJs, lights, and dancing.

Kah-Lo will team up with First Nations artist Djanaba, who mixes traditional and modern music. Her new single Don’t Really Care, with PNAU, will get you dancing.

Closing weekend – Keiynan

Heartthrob and award-winning artist Keiynan Lonsdale will bring his musical talents to MELT

Born and raised to Nigerian parents in Sydney, Keiynan is an actor, dancer, and singer-songwriter who found success in the States after his early years on ABC’s Dance Academy.

Readers will likely be familiar with his work in Love, Simon as well as his guest appearances on RuPaul’s Drag Race

Showcasing his multitude of talents, Keiynan released his debut album ‘Rainbow Boy’ in 2020, earning him the title of Outstanding Breakthrough Music Artist at the 2021 GLAAD Music Awards.

Rainbow Dragon, Gay Street Fighter, and On My Wave were the real standouts of the album while his latest single Lessons is a preview of what’s to come with another album out this year. 

He will be performing with Keelan Mak, a queer alt-pop artist from Naarm/Melbourne on Friday 24 November. 

Closing night – Chappell Roan

Joining MELT’s stellar musical lineup for a closing night party to end all parties is LA-based queer pop and sub-culture icon, Chappell Roan. 

Originally from Missouri, Chappell brings a unique style with elements of punk, blending bright and dark sounds with irresistibly catchy pop sensibilities.

The rising star’s appearance at MELT comes just after the release of her critically acclaimed debut album The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess, produced by Olivia Rodrigo’s Dan Nigro. 

Highlights from the album include the cheer-inspired HOT TO GO!, Pink Pony Club, Casual, and Red Wine Supernova which is sure to electrify the Powerhouse crowds. 

Chappell recently appeared on Elton John’s podcast Rocket Hour, where the legend told her “You are something else baby, your records are amazing, I’m such a fan.”

Chappell also brings a level of camp revelry to her aesthetic which has been influenced by drag culture which she spoke to Elton about.  

“I love having songs that allow me to dress up and bring drag queens on stage,” she said.

This embracing of queer life and identity is influenced by Chappell’s own journey from a small conservative town to LA. This is also the theme of her album and music which she told Teen Vogue about earlier this year. 

“[It’s] an awakening of this world she never knew existed, which includes queerness, which includes heartbreak, which includes falling in love, which includes the city and clubs, and it’s the world of Chappell Roan,” she said.

It’s also been announced that she will be supporting Olivia Rodrigo on her 2024 arena tour, so this is your chance to catch a pop queen on her way up in an intimate setting. 

Chappel performs on the closing night, Saturday 25 November. 

More MELT music

Aluna, UK dance star and ex-AlunaGeorge member will play songs from her new solo album MYCELiUM. She’ll share the stage with KUČKA, an electronic producer and singer who has worked with Flume, A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar, and others.

WA-based Alter Boy, led by singer Molly Priest and Auslan interpreter Luke Eastman, design their shows to provide people who are hard of hearing the full emotional experience that comes with live music. A queer-lectro pop band that mixes R&B with deep beats and haunting vocals. Auslan choreography is woven into the performance, custom lighting visually stuns and baselines pulse through the body in time with the music. Alter Boy will perform with June Jones, a Sydney alt-pop singer who’s released her single Good Girl.  

TOPS is a Montreal-based band that makes sophisticated pop with soft rock influences. Jane Penny’s wistful voice sings over drums, guitars, and keyboards. Their songs are catchy and emotional, with a unique groove.

Theatre on show

Bunny is an interactive show by Luke George and Daniel Kok that explores and uses the art of rope, knots, and bondage to create a collective experience between themselves and the audience of desire and connection. They intimately explore themes of consent and trust by engaging the audience into the work. The show has travelled to over a dozen cities worldwide to critical acclaim and is now back in Australia.

Overflow, from UK trans writer Travis Alabanza, is an all-trans production about women’s bathrooms – who belongs there … and who is left out. Rising star, Janet Anderson, captivates as Rosie, a trans woman, who is trapped in a flooding nightclub cubicle. In this one-woman show, she captivates attention recounting stories of past encounters, long lost friends – holding a mirror up to the societal judgment of trans people. 

Comedian Rhys Nicholson talks about their anxiety, food issues, and book deal in new memoir Dish. In a talk at MELT Rhys will share stories, thoughts, and recipes from the book –  exploring life’s small questions.

Take part in Spencer Tunick’s first-ever Qld artwork

The 2023 festival has scored a massive coup with Spencer Tunick set to bring Brisbane, in all its glory, to the world stage in a celebration of the Brisbane LGBTQIA+ community and its allies. 

Spencer is an American photographer known for his large-scale works of human nude installations across the globe.

It will be his fifth art piece in Australia and his first ever in Queensland. 

His previous work includes photographing 5,000 people in front of the Sydney Opera House for Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras as well as works at Bondi Beach and in Melbourne. He has produced work in countless locations including New York, London, and the Dead Sea. 

A strong supporter of the LGBTQIA+ community, and a long-time proud PFLAGer, Spencer sees this work, titled TIDE, as a way to help celebrate the diversity within the community he is such a strong advocate of.  

TIDE will hopefully speak to diverse groups of people, and everyone navigating their way through the difficult challenges of our current world.  It is a privilege to be making art that centres around the LGBTQIA+ community with all its beauty and vibrance,” he says.

Brisbane Powerhouse Program Manager and TIDE Curator, Emmie Paranthoiene said “This installation of Spencer Tunick’s is a nod to the true core of Melt Festival focusing on the expression of diversity and is a fantastic opportunity to showcase our stunning city”.

“Get ready to see Brisbane through a different lens. We are bringing the bare and bold to Brisbane with Spencer’s visit and his incredible series of installations,” she said. 

You can volunteer to be part of this historic global event on 18 November, by visiting

Free visual art at Brisbane Powerhouse

Paul Yore’s BECOME WHAT YOU ARE is a transgressive exhibition of textile works that critique various aspects of contemporary society. He uses recycled materials and traditional crafts to create his pieces. The exhibition includes a recent collaboration with Australian fashion house, Romance Was Born.

The Huxleys’ Places of Worship photographic exhibition, captures the fading magic of other worlds. The Huxleys are Melbourne artists who dress up as outsiders in nature. They want to celebrate and adore the earth’s jewels with their costumes and styling. They also want people to admire and worship their queer bodies and their differences.

Tin Nguyen & Edward Cutting, known as Tin & Ed, are Australian artists, based in New York, who are curious about nature and our human link to it, showcasing this through larger-than-life installations. Multitudes is a series of fun art and science projects that mix the real and the virtual, the human and the more than-human. 

MELT Festival runs from 11-26 November. Explore the full MELT 23 program and get ticket details at

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