For the team behind CLOSET parties, organising a music festival was a natural next step.

“There's something about dancing in the sunshine or under the stars that you can't replicate in a club,” says festival organiser Anna Whitelaw. “And there's something magical about spending the weekend in the wilderness.”

“There is something freeing about being surrounded by other queer people, and knowing you can dance with your girlfriend or boyfriend without anyone gawking at you.”

When they found a purpose-built campsite in Kinglake, just an hour north of the city, Australia’s first queer, boutique music festival, Gaytimes, was born.

The space, usually used for school camps, is a clearing in the middle of the rainforest, ringed with giant trees and ferns that “look like they are straight from Return of the Jedi”.

Paul Mac, Banoffee, GL and Oscar Key Sung will headline. The organisers are planning 40 hours of music, art installations and lights, pool parties, film screenings, yoga and sexuality workshops.

“I'm expecting lots of costumes, body paint, glitter and angel wings,” she says.

Capped at just 500 people for “quality over quantity”, punters can pitch a tent and camp, or stay in the onsite cabins.

You can BYO everything, but there’ll also be food trucks and coffee vans.

Gaytimes is going to be “camp in every sense of the word”, but Whitelaw hopes it’ll have the same anything-goes vibe as CLOSET.

“We've always billed CLOSET as ‘a night for homosexuals and those who love them’, and that’s definitely still the case with Gaytimes.”

Gaytimes, Australia’s first queer music festival, will take place March 12–14, 2016 in Kinglake, Victoria.

This piece was updated on January 21, 2016. Gaytimes was originally to take place in Kinglake, but will now be at Lake Mountain Alpine Resort.

The most recent line-up announcement is here:
Paul Mac
Oscar Key Sung (DJ set)
Kylie Auldist
Yo! Mafia
Salvador Darling
Simon TK
DJ Sveta
Simona Castricum
Beloved Elk
That Fahri Guy
Jason Conti
Jennifer Loveless
6am In The Garage
Luke Agius
Brooke Powers
Ruby Slippers
Estée Louder
Catriona Constance v Mellydee
Aimee Lotus