A Stress-free Picnic with my Motafrenz – Words and Photos By Paul Hollingworth.
Traditionally the biggest, gayest, pride-iest day in Victoria’s LGBTIQA+ calendar, the Midsumma Carnival is a crazy behemoth that is now totally unrecognizable from the well-loved, community-focussed event I first attended in the Nineties. Don’t get me wrong, the fact that they have so many attending from across the state’s many communities is truly a testament to how far we have come in our fight for recognition, acceptance, and equality.
You may remember that for as long as forever (almost), Motafrenz has had an official presence at the Carnival. In the Noughties and early Teens, this was our major driver for new inquiries and new members. By the Twenties, however, our main driver was our website and social media presence – so why then continue with Carnival? The Committee had discussed long and hard about this – the individual time commitments needed to ‘man’ the stall on the day, the huge amounts of logistics and pre-planning needed in the lead-up, the costs, and the non-existent interest from passers-by – maybe it was time to try something new.
So, something new was exactly what we did. Based on the success of our secondary event last year, the informal picnic separate from our stall, we decided to plonk ourselves under a big shady tree and actually ENJOY ourselves! We had planned on setting down opposite the stall of our friends, the Melbourne Motorcycle Tourers, but I was too lazy to lug Gordon’s stuff that far and we actually found a nicer spot within sight of the main stage.
We call it a picnic as we had some picnic rugs and camp chairs, but most of us in attendance decided to be adventurous and dine from one of the many mobile vendors on-site. It was actually nice to go to the Midsumma Carnival for the pleasure of it, and having the Motafrenz picnic area as a base was certainly better than going alone. I sincerely hope we replicate this setup at next year’s Carnival as it was the most I have enjoyed myself there for many years.
Our replacement event for our official presence at Carnival is our extended presence at Pride March. This year at Pride we will have our cars moving in formation in the form of the Progress Flag (an extension of our previous Rainbow Flag formation), a group of marchers to carry our banner and accompany the cars, and a display of the cars at the end in Catani Gardens with a branded and ‘manned’ stall which we will share with the Melbourne Motorcycle Tourers.
Please consider popping down, it should be fun. We still have space if you would like to march (on foot) with us – please see our events page or email me if you want to register. From April, the Committee will be brief on our presence at Carnival, Pride March, and ChillOut – if you have any ideas or feedback, please let us know and we will take it on board. You can find all our email addresses on our website at About>Committee.
I would like to thank my co-leader for this event, Gordon Campbell; all those who attended and made it so much more fun; and my driver for the day, Alan Benedetti (and his lovely partner, Vince).