‘A True Loss’: Cairns Tropical Pride Festival Shuts Down After 12 Years


Cairns Tropical pride rainbow crossing
Photo: Cairns Tropical Pride

Far north Queensland’s largest pride festival, Cairns Tropical Pride, has announced it will shut down after 12 years.

At the festival’s AGM earlier this month, committee members voted to close the association down after being unable to elect a new committee of volunteers, FNQ Magazine reported.

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Cairns Tropical Pride President Kevin Scott said the decision came down to a combination of a lack of volunteers, a lack of community support at last year’s festival, and ineligibility for Tourism Queensland funding.

“There appeared to be a consensus that the community is no longer engaged with Pride at this time,” Scott said.

“We are ineligible for funding from Tourism Queensland this year because we’ve had grants from that source for three years, the maximum number of consecutive years allowed.

“Currently we have $36 in the bank with approximately $450 outstanding of which we are likely to receive approximately $250.”

Writing in FNQ, the publication’s editor Jay Horne said the closure of the festival was “a true loss, a passing of a golden era in the Cairns LGBTQIA+ community” but he hoped the festival’s events would continue in some form.

“For a pride festival to be successful, all sectors of the community need to come together as one,” he wrote.

“Having been a pride committee board member myself in 2018, I was able to witness first hand a surprising shift in our community after the ‘yes’ vote in November 2017.

“It was almost like now we had achieved our equality goal, we lost our passion to fight for continued visibility and ongoing acceptance.”

Cairns Tropical Pride committee member Vyvyen Wong told FNQ the decision “breaks her heart” but community support was vital if the festival was to continue.

“Most of us who have participated in the planning and running have done it with no commercial interest or self-serving gains,” Wong said.

“We have put ourselves out with countless unpaid hours (including time away from our loved ones) to ensure that we have an event to celebrate who we are and to show our visibility.”

The Cairns Tropical Pride festival was started in 2006, and was briefly renamed Tropical Mardi Gras.

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Last year’s Cairns Tropical Pride was headlined by Matthew Mitcham and drag star Karen From Finance, and also featured the festival’s regular Fair Day, art exhibition, and pool party events.