One of Australia’s most remote pride festivals, Broome Mardi Gras, is proudly celebrating its 10th anniversary next month.
Broome Pride founder Lucy Falcocchio moved to Broome in western Australia’s Kimberley region in 2009, originally just for a 12-month work contract.
“You get here and you believe you’re the only gay in the village. I thought I’d be tarred and feathered by midnight,” she recalled.
But Lucy discovered how diverse the community is across the Kimberley and the Pilbara. Years later, she’s still a local.
“I just got sucked in by the Kimberley. I’m not going anywhere now.”
‘The whole community comes out’
Ten years ago, Broome Pride started when a group of friends wanted to come together for drinks to watch the Sydney Mardi Gras parade, happening on the other side of the country.
Lucy said the group got organised and approached the local nightclub with their plans.
“For Mardi Gras in February 2015, there were 300 of us at the venue. We watched the parade, had a dance and got a local fella from a remote community to do a drag show,” Lucy recalled.
Ever since that first night, Broome Pride’s annual Mardi Gras event “just kept growing and growing”. It’s now its own fully-fledged festival.
Over the years, Broome Mardi Gras sold out the events they put on and outgrew venue after venue.
“In 2016, we packed out the only nightclub in 400,000 square kilometres. The line was down the street,” Lucy recalled.
“What you wouldn’t expect is that the whole community comes out, from cattle stations and remote Indigenous communities.
“They come from all over the state, and now they’re coming from all over Australia. Everyone dresses up and it’s this huge community event.”
Broome Mardi Gras’ 10th anniversary celebrations
Next month, Broome Mardi Gras’ special 10th anniversary celebrations start on February 28 and will run to March 4.
The main event is the Broome Mardi Gras Dance Party at the Roebuck Bay Hotel. The party will spread across multiple stages, hosted UK Ministry of Sound star Paul Morrell and Aussie DJ Delicious.
“For the 10-year anniversary we’re taking the Dance Party back to where it started,” Lucy explained.
“We have extended licensing and we’re taking over the Roebuck Bay Hotel and spreading out into the carpark to fit 2800 people in.”
Over two nights, the Broome Mardi Gras Cabaret is on at the Broome Civic Centre, with a night of drag, music and performance.
Later, the Big Splash Boat Party will cruise the Kimberley coast with punters aboard a floating afterparty with food, drinks and a dancefloor.
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Lucy Falcocchio said there’s a special purpose behind Broome Pride’s Mardi Gras event each year.
“Broome Mardi Gras is an LGBTQIA+ event but I’ve just always been a firm believer that to achieve real equality you have to become the one community,” she said.
“I really feel that we do that here. In 10 years what we’ve managed to do is affect real social change up here.
“Broome Mardi Gras is in the wet season but everyone understands that we do it because we commemorate what Mardi Gras is truly about.
“We commemorate the 78ers at the same time of year as [Sydney] because it’s our way of paying respect to those that walked the hard miles for the young ones today. We never forget that.”
Broome Mardi Gras 2024 runs from February 28 to March 4. Check out all the events and book tickets at the Broome Pride website.
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