Joan Rivers

Next year’s Sydney Mardi Gras will take place under the theme of Nations United and will feature a number of celebrated performers.

Among these, American comedienne and queen of the red carpet, Joan Rivers, will bring her rapier wit to the Enmore Theatre during the final week of the three-week Mardi Gras festival.

Other highlights from amongst over eighty festival events will be singer Tina Arena’s appearances at the State Theatre and multi-Grammy award-winning Roberta Flack appearing with the Sydney Symphony orchestra at the Sydney Opera House.

On Parade night, on March 7, viewers across Australia will be able to enjoy one of the world’s most famous gay and lesbian parades on television.

The night will be awash with flags, national dress and global icons. The Nations United theme aims to showcase the diversity of gay and lesbian Sydney as well as an invitation to gay people all over the world to come to Sydney to march alongside the locals. The key message is the importance of human rights for gay people wherever they live.

Organisers, New Mardi Gras (NMG), also announced the participation in the parade of Olympic gold medallist and recently voted Sports Performer of the Year, Matthew Mitcham. Mitcham was the only openly gay medal winner at the Beijing games and is sure to get a hero’s reception from the parade crowd.

NMG revealed two big names who will be appearing at this year’s post-parade party at Sydney’s Entertainment Quarter. First, the Freemasons will be returning to Mardi Gras after two years during which they have notched up a string of hits and been nominated for a Grammy.

Second, NMG has signed Paul Oakenfold to DJ at the Party for the first time. He has been touted as one of the world’s leading DJ/remixers. He is currently supporting Madonna on her world tour.

“There hasn’t been a Mardi Gras like this for a long time,” said NMG Chair David Imrie at the launch. “Last year’s 30th was an enormous high point for us, but we’re building on it and I think our various announcements today emphasise the point. Mardi Gras is back at the top of its game.”

The 2009 Sydney Mardi Gras kicks off on February 14, concluding with the much-anticipated parade on March 7. Mardi Gras major sponsors include ANZ, Ikea, Virgin Blue and Budweiser.

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