Support for arts and culture

Hello WorldPride: Sydney prepares for global LGBTIQA+ celebration

More than 500,000 people will enjoy arts, sport, parties and First Nations programming from 17 February to 5 March 2023.

People created a giant Pride Progress flag on the steps of the Sydney Opera House

Super-sized celebrations are in store for Sydney when our city hosts the world's largest pride festival.

WorldPride is a global festival that promotes LGBTIQA+ issues through events, parades and other cultural activities.

So just how big will Sydney WorldPride be? Huge. We’re talking more than 300 events across the city including the largest LGBTIQA+ human rights conference ever held in the Asia-Pacific region, opening and closing concerts at The Domain, a First Nations gala concert, Bondi Beach party, Pride march across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, LGBTIQA+ Women’s Party at Sydney Town Hall, more than 60 specially curated arts experiences, and over 20 sporting events.

Mardi Gras Party. Image courtesy of WorldPride
Mardi Gras Party. Image courtesy of WorldPride

This truly international LGBTIQA+ festival is expected to inject millions of dollars into the NSW economy and will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first Australian Gay Pride Week, the 45th anniversary of the first Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and the 5th anniversary of Australia saying yes to same-sex marriage.

“We're ready to welcome the world to Sydney for WorldPride 2023," Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“As one of the most LGBTIQA+ inclusive communities not just in Australia but around the world, Sydney is the perfect home for a festival celebrating the rainbow community, and I know we're all excited to get the party started.

“This is the first time the event will be held in the southern hemisphere, and it's a wonderful opportunity to show off our vibrant and inclusive city and invite people from all over the world to develop a deep sense of belonging here.

"We want everyone coming to feel confident in themselves and connected to their neighbours, to celebrate, build relationships and discuss the ongoing fight for equality, especially in the promotion of trans rights.

“The festival’s scale and appeal will not only celebrate our LGBTIQA+ communities, but it will be a boost to the Sydney’s cultural life and economy.

City of Sydney Mardi Gras parade entry. Image: City of Sydney
City of Sydney Mardi Gras parade entry. Image: City of Sydney

“We’ve supported Sydney WorldPride since 2019 when we helped fund the team's initial bid to host the event. Given the event footprint extends across multiple locations throughout the city, this is the perfect opportunity to shine the spotlight on Sydney’s unique local neighbourhoods and global city centre."

Celebrations will officially kick-off on Friday 17 February when we raise the Progress Pride flag at Sydney Town Hall.

In the spirit of this year’s Sydney WorldPride theme – gather, dream, amplify – leading community members will come together for the event. The ceremony will include a presentation of the Key to the City to members of the community in recognition of their efforts in advancing LGBTIQA+ movement.

The festival will also feature the world-renowned Mardi Gras Parade which will return to Oxford Street for the first time in 3 years. With 12,500 participants and more than 200 floats, it will be the largest event of the WorldPride festival, with 300,000 spectators expected to attend.

In addition to funding for Sydney WorldPride, we’re providing more than $262,000 in support to Mardi Gras and will take part in the parade with a float themed ‘Oxford Street, you’re so sweet’.

The Oxford Street neighbourhood will become the home of Pride Villages, with parts of Crown and Riley streets closed to allow for stalls, performances, dining and a place to connect with friends and family in between WorldPride events. And on weekends, Crown Street will also host nightly shows and special extended entertainment.

Pride Villages is part of Sydney WorldPride.
Pride Villages is part of Sydney WorldPride.

At Customs House we’ll have the Liberate! exhibition showcasing the works of photographer C. Moore Hardy and other social documentary and queer photographers, which highlights the significant social issues and events of the last 45 years.

The City of Sydney supports Sydney WorldPride with $1,050,000 in cash and $650,000 in discounted good and services, or value-in-kind, sponsorship.

Sydney WorldPride will be the first festival held in the southern hemisphere. The inaugural WorldPride took place in Rome in 2000, followed by Jerusalem (2006), London (2012), Toronto (2014), Madrid (2017), New York (2019) and Copenhagen and Malmo (2021).

Published 27 June 2022, updated 13 February 2023