Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 7 / 15 February 2018

Cher to headline Sydney Mardi Gras celebration

by Heather Cassell

Gay icon Cher is set to headline the 40th Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras party March 3.

U.S. fans can try and get tickets as an additional number go on sale Tuesday, January 16.

Late last month, the pop superstar caused a stir among gay fans with a tweet featuring rainbow, sparkling hearts, stars, bees, and kiss emoji topped off with the hashtag #putsomeshrimponthebarbie, “Ok … you boys know where I’ll be in March.”

(Cher will headline the 40th Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Photo: Machado Cicala Morassut)

(Cher will headline the 40th Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Photo: Machado Cicala Morassut)

Organizers, however, didn’t confirm the 71-year old Grammy award-winning singer’s tweets until January 11.

In the meantime, fans rushed to grab tickets, selling out the event within hours, organizers told the media.

Last year, Mardi Gras welcomed an estimated 250,000 spectators from around the world. More than 12,000 people took part in the annual parade, according to a 2017 news release from the organization.

Ticket sales for various events were already reaching unprecedented numbers back in November due to Australia’s marriage equality win, Terese Casu, CEO of Sydney Mardi Gras, told the Bay Area Reporter last month.

Event organizers issued a statement after confirming Cher would perform.

“Cher has established herself as an influential, hard-hitting voice in global politics, and throughout her career has been at the forefront of LGBTQI campaigns and numerous charities,” Casu stated. “Cher represents the same unapologetic and fearless freedom that makes the LGBTQI community so enduring and strong – positioning herself as a true gay icon.”

Cher’s chart-topping hits span five decades from “I Got You Babe,” a duet with her then-husband, the late Sonny Bono to “If I Could Turn Back Time,” and “Believe.”

The multi-talented artist also garnered a best actress Oscar, three Golden Globes, and an Emmy Award.

Organizers said that additional tickets will go on sale Tuesday, January 16 at 3 p.m. (Pacific Standard Time). Tickets, $86 – $199.88 (AUD 108.70 to 252.45), will be limited to two per person.

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is a 16-day festival from February 16 to March 4, filled with a variety of events including educational talks, arts, sports, and, of course, parties featuring top DJs from Australia and elsewhere.

Casu expects many visitors from around the world – especially, Canada, Europe, the United States, and the United Kingdom – to celebrate with Australians at this year’s historic Mardi Gras.

“Come and be a part of a moment that will never be again,” she said.

Don Harwin, minister for the arts in New South Wales, said this year’s Mardi Gras will be “momentous for LGBTQI Australians.”

“I have no doubt it will be the biggest and best yet,” he said in the release, noting that there is a lot to celebrate. “Cher fits this celebratory mood perfectly.”

“When it comes to international recording artists, they don’t get much bigger than Cher and as one of the LGBTQI community’s most vocal advocates, she is the perfect person to help celebrate Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras,” he added.

This year’s Mardi Gras will celebrate the 40th anniversary of when the 78ers rose up and fought the police attacks in the country’s version of the Stonewall riots, and last year’s marriage equality victory.

“It’s an amazing moment,” said Casu.

Organizers have held their sights to keep the event as a “platform for social justice and equality,” she added.

The event will take a retrospective look over the last 40 years as it celebrates community activists – lesbian activism to the history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic to same-sex families – who took Australia’s LGBT rights movement out of the shadows into acceptance.

“There’s no party like the Mardi Gras party,” said Casu. “We do such an extraordinary party.”

Cher will perform at the Mardi Gras Party 2018 at the Hordern Pavilion, Driver Avenue (next to the Entertainment Quarter), Moore Park at 10 p.m. March 3.

Mardi Gras is sponsored by the New South Wales government and tourism bureaus, Qantas, SBS, and KIIS 1065.

For more information, visit

— Cynthia Laird, January 13, 2018 @ 8:40 am PST
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