Unicorns – The Festival! brings an all-inclusive event to the forefront of Melbourne's party scene

As the festival circuit continues over the hot summer months welcoming artists from all across the planet, one festival on the northern shoulder of Melbourne is pushing forward for social change. 

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Jacinta Oaten

It’s Unicorns – The Festival!, and for the last seven years it’s been running as a queer club night, both in Sydney and Melbourne. Following hearty demand, however, this year will see the first Unicorns rear its rainbow head in festival form. 

“People wanted something bigger and I’ve conjured up what I think would be a dream festival for a queer person or anyone who wants to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community,” says organiser Delsi Cat AKA Adele Moleta, who created the event in response to the lack of all-inclusive spaces for queer people. 

“I realised, being a pansexual femme woman, that there weren’t many places I could go and feel safe, supported and celebrated, so I created something where I could,” she explains.

Describing the festival in detail, Moleta’s vision of an all-inclusive wonderland comes to fruition. The area will consist of six main spaces ranging from a huge dancefloor to stadium-seating workshops, to a games room where Mario Kart will be projected onto the walls. 

There will also be a huge outdoor area where markets and food trucks, hair salons and body painting can be found. “It will be a combination of educational workshops on gender and sexuality but also a kick ass party,” she says.

But moving on from the activities, the most important element of the festival according to Moleta is the diverse lineup of artists and performers, “We’ve seen a lot of talk lately where festivals are featuring white men and the feedback from these promoters or bookers is that they just don’t feel like the acts are out there. We wanted to showcase that they are out there and it’s just about looking and platforming these people so that they have more opportunities.”

With Moleta’s fascination with fringe art a driving motivation, 95 per cent of artists on the lineup are either female, non-binary or trans. MicahTron, an adventurous rapper from San Francisco who produces a unique brand of queer-positive hip hop, headlines the bill. Miss Blanks, a trans female rapper of colour who has slowly been making a name for herself on the local scene, will also perform. 

Then there’s Queensland’s OETHA, a three-piece Indigenous hip-hop group that features all women, and Melbourne’s Huntly, an electronic trio who describe their music as ‘doof you can cry to’. 

Sky Sirens, burlesque girls from Sydney, will be hanging from the ceilings performing aerial hoop acrobatics. They will also be joined by the likes of DJ Sezzo, SIMONA, Paul Gorrie, Megan Bones, Sullivan and many, many more.

Aside from the stellar lineup, most importantly, the festival stands as a reminder that acceptance and belonging is key, “Life can still be quite hard for queer people, especially coming off the back of the anniversary of the marriage equality campaign. We’re still experiencing a lot of hardship, a lot of inequality, a lot of fighting, struggle and marginalisation. I think events like this are really important because it sends the message that, hey, you are valuable, you are wonderful, you are prioritised, and we want to celebrate you,” Moleta says.

Unicorns, however, is not just for those who identify as queer, rather it is for everyone and anyone, which Moleta wants to make clear. “I want people to feel like they can come to support and celebrate the community. The music and the artists on their own are worth going to see no matter what your gender or sexuality, they’re just talented people. And also queers just throw the best parties.”

By Julie Fenwick

Unicorns – The Festival! takes over the Northcote Town Hall on Saturday February 2. Head to the venue website for tickets and more information.