22 January 2024

Wagga Mardi Gras puts out a call for local artists to perform on community stage

| Chris Roe
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Mardi Gras crowd

Do you have a talent to showcase at this year’s Mardi Gras? Photo: Wagga Mardi Gras.

The team behind the Wagga Wagga Mardi Gras has put out a call for locals to showcase their talent on a new community stage during this year’s festivities.

Since the first family-friendly event in 2019, the Wagga Mardi Gras has grown to become a fixture on the events calendar and thousands turn out for the annual street parade and party in the park.

READ ALSO Time to celebrate, prepare and connect with Wagga’s Back to School Party

Founder Holly Conroy said the idea to establish a community stage reflected a desire to recognise and celebrate local creatives and performers.

“This region is home to so many talented people: musicians, artists, performers, dancers and more,” Holly said.

“We wanted to give locals a space to show off their skills, entertain the community and join in the joy and celebration of Mardi Gras.”

The plan is to alternate community stage performances with the main Mardi Gras stage performances on the Saturday evening (9 March), which organisers hope will effectively double the entertainment on offer.

woman with rainbow flag

Mardi Gras is back for the fourth time in five years, and Holly Conroy says it will be HUGE. Photo: Chris Roe.

The committee is also looking for a local creative to help organise the acts and to MC the community stage on the night.

Holly said the stage would be open to anyone who wanted to have a crack and would include an open mic.

“You or your group don’t need to be professional performers,” she said.

“We’re open to anyone who can bring something joyful, entertaining and engaging for festival-goers to enjoy.”

READ ALSO Think beyond the potholes: Wagga City Council calls on the community to shape the vision for future

The focus for Mardi Gras is on the Saturday afternoon parade that kicks off on Baylis Street, but events begin on Thursday with Drag Bingo at Tilly’s followed by a drag show on Friday.

The floats will be ready to roll from 5 pm on Saturday and the celebration flows down to Victory Memorial Gardens for “the biggest party Wagga has ever seen”.

Sunday’s recovery markets are also a great chance to connect with local producers and stallholders.

Mardi Gras artwork

Wagga Mardi Gras official artwork ”Parade of Joy” by Courtney Lewis. Photo: Supplied.

This year’s event will also see the unveiling of the official Wagga Wagga Mardi Gras artwork after Courtney Lewis was declared the winner of the inaugural art competition in November.

”Parade of Joy” is a digital work featuring a procession of rainbow-coloured dancing characters entwined by a rainbow river representing the Murrumbidgee.

“I wanted to make it really fun, bubbly and inclusive, and for people to be able to pick a character that they like and relate to,” Courtney said.

“They individually represent a different colour of the progressive pride flag, but their personalities came about as I was drawing them. They told me what they wanted to be.

“I also wanted something that would create the feeling of wrapping around us all and bringing us all together, so you can’t go past our river with that beautiful shape it has.”

For more information on the festival, visit the Wagga Mardi Gras website and if you are a performer, you can apply for a gig on the community stage by emailing the committee at [email protected] before 16 February.

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