In the lead up to Adelaide’s first inclusive pop music festival, CityMag spoke to local queens Kane Enable & Eve Elle about what makes this loud and proud festival one of a kind.
Dragged out of the club, Mary’s Divas are festival ready
Adelaide is no stranger to a music festival. Boots squelching in the mud, a mosh of patrons bouncing up and down and drinks waved in the air: a ritual we know well.
This spring, Mary’s in the Park offers a fresh take for festival season, featuring local divas alongside well-known names.
Mary’s in the Park is the brainchild of Adelaide venue, Mary’s Poppin, one of Adelaide’s few queer venues. While some Adelaide venues host drag-centred events and themed nights, Mary’s is uniquely placed as an Adelaide nightclub that consistently centres a regular cast of drag queens.
Mary’s diva Kane Enable tells CityMag it was a no-brainer for the Mary’s in the Park organisers to include Mary’s usual queens like her in the line-up. Especially since it’s the star quality of their queens that make Mary’s a pillar of Adelaide’s queer community.
“Adelaide has a really high-quality drag scene and I think that does come from being a smaller city,” Kane says.
“Our director has always really wanted to build us up and have us be seen on platforms and on the same poster as Ricki-lee and Crystal Waters as well as those big Australian drag artists, like Art Simone and Karen from Finance.
“It’s very exciting to be doing that, I’ve never performed at something like this in Adelaide, outside of Adelaide and I don’t think South Australia as a whole has ever seen something like this.”
Ru Paul’s Drag Race seemingly sashayed drag into the mainstream, although the art form and the idea of gender as performance go back much further than the reality TV giant.
In recent years, we’ve seen more and more drag acts gracing the programs of Adelaide Fringe, and potential work for queens include drag brunches, hen parties or hosting gigs for shows or corporate events.
Despite this, Mary’s in the Park still marks the first queer-owned and operated local music festival with a drag heavy line-up of local queens alongside international drag stars and Aussie pop icons.
“I’ve never had that kind of very inherently queer representation at a festival,” Kane says.
“In fact, festivals are often something I avoid, because I don’t want to be bothered with the types of people that you’re going to experience at some of those events.”
Kane hopes more festivals will follow Mary’s lead and that it will set a precedent for South Australia’s talented drag performers to be seen.
“I mean, they’re great performers, they’re a great presence, they always look good. Why wouldn’t you want a drag queen at your festival?”
Another one of Mary’s resident queens, Miss Eve Elle, agrees Mary’s in the Park is filling a void by bringing this offering to Adelaide.
“I think Adelaide has for a really long time been missing something curated for the queer community that is really exciting,” she says.
“Hopefully it’ll bring people in from interstate or even overseas that will come for it and think that it’s going to be a fabulous event that otherwise probably wouldn’t give Adelaide a go.”
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As for what you can expect from the day? A pop extravaganza of course!
“The queer community has always identified really strongly with popular music and pop music artists, especially the Divas,” Eve says.
“It comes down to the phenomena of having, you know, the mother figure…whether it’s Cher or Madonna or Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Britney, everyone looks at what they’re doing and says, ‘that’s mother’
“That’s someone that I look up to and worship… in a small way, that’s what we get to embody when we’re on stage.”
Joining Kane Enable & Eve Elle in the local line-up are Alison Xpress, Berri Juicy, DJ Indi Klosette, Hunty Dumpty, DJ Josif, Luci Furr, Vonni and Wundes.
The line-up also includes Ricki-Lee, Crystal Waters, Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Samantha Jade, Adore Delano, and more.
In addition to the queens and artists on the two main stages, there’ll be a big top dance tent, roving performers and, obviously, a well-stocked bar and food vendors.
Mary’s in the Park kicks off Feast Festival at Rundle Park on Saturday 4 November, with tickets available on their website.