Queer nightclub Mary's Poppin is throwing its first music festival Mary's in the Park. It's loud and unapologetically pop.

Words:  Lara Pacillo // Main photo: Tori Cianci

East End’s LGBTQIA+ club Mary’s Poppin is taking things outdoors this weekend with its first ever music festival. On Saturday November 4 at Kadlitpina Rundle Park, Mary’s in the Park will bring a purely pop music festival, which is also a first for Adelaide.

The festival brings an epic lineup of pop royalty alongside some of the world’s biggest names in drag across two stages.

From day to night, attendees can expect non-stop entertainment featuring star-studded artists including Ricki-lee, Crystal Waters (USA), Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Samantha Jade, Joanne and a plethora of queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race USA and Down Under.

Mary’s in the Park will also feature favourite local drag talent and entertainers, including Kane Enable, Miss Evelle, Wundes, Nightcall DJs, and many more.

Samantha Jade

The festival has been an event that Mary’s in the Park founder and Mary’s Poppin owner Stephen Craddock has been eager to host for years. Capitalising on pop music that Mary’s clubgoers love was a natural choice.

“We’ve really leant into that genre and feel it offers a point of difference compared to other festivals, but we also know it’s something our demographic absolutely loves,” Stephen says.

“We’ve referenced the 90s and the 2000s in our lineup and added world-class drag performers, I don’t think you’re likely to see something like this anywhere else.

“We are so stoked with the lineup, and feel it is a celebration of pop in that queer-leaning sense we were intending.”

Stephen describes the day will be “a cluster of colour, movement, and entertainment,” as roving entertainers and drag artists perform throughout the park.

Food vendors include Gang Gang with burgers, Fiesta Tajine with Moroccan cuisine, Signor Arrosticini’s Italian street food, TaCHs Stroopwafels offering Dutch treats, and more. The bars will be well stocked with cocktails included to keep festival-goers hydrated.

Festival staple, Gang Gang

Mary’s in the Park was inspired by the LGBTQIA+ community and allies that exist in South Australia, which Stephen says is very committed to supporting welcoming safe spaces and queer spaces. The festival aims to push this further.

“Festivals like Mary’s in the Park at the very least help create mainstream visibility of queer people within the community; but more than that, they offer safe spaces for the LGBTQIA+ community and extended community to express themselves, celebrate their lifestyles and connect with one another.

“It’s so important to make spaces like this available to the community and we absolutely intend to bring the signature safe space of Mary’s Poppin to Mary’s in the Park.”

The event is a new addition to Adelaide’s Premier LGBTQIA+ Arts and Cultural Festival Feast Festival which will run from November 1 to 19.

Now in its 26th year, Feast is an open-access festival showcasing emerging and established talent with over 500 artists and 80 events stretching from cabaret and drag, to visual art and film.

Mary’s Poppin nightclub. Photo // Tori Cianci

Stephen hopes to see Mary’s in the Park grow to become a nationally renowned event in the coming years and create a stronger platform for local artists to be celebrated, particularly in the pop genre.

“We are so passionate about showcasing South Australia to the rest of the country,” Stephen says.

“We hope that this event eventually acts as a tourism driver bringing in our LGBTQIA+ friends from interstate and overseas to celebrate and party with us.

“The festival offers a new facet to the music scene and something the city hasn’t seen before…we expect that Mary’s in the Park will be a launchpad in future years for new, local artists to be seen.”

Mary’s in the Park: Saturday November 4 // Kadlitpina Rundle Park Adelaide 5000

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