The annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival (AKA Gay Christmas) is coming in red hot and the lineup for the festival’s big blowout party on March 5 — the Mardi Gras Parade — has landed. Glue down those lace fronts and affix your nipple pasties, because it’s gonna be an extravaganza to remember.

Mardi Gras Parade is returning to the Sydney Cricket Ground this year because of Miss Rona’s continued Australian residency. However, the event is bringing Darren Hayes home for his first live performance in Australia in over a decade. An icon! We stan! Silver linings!

This year’s Mardi Gras set will also mark Darren’s 20th year as a solo artist, and the 25th (!!!) anniversary of Savage Garden’s seismic debut album. How has it been 25 years since that self-titled record, with its cover to cover heaters, was unleashed into the world? An instant classic, an eternally-hot belter of an album.

Backing it up with the deep late 90s/early 00s energy at this year’s Mardi Gras Parade is Vanessa Amarosi, who will be belting out a very special performance for the huge hoon. There’s not a doubt in my mind that as soon as she kicks into the first notes of “Absolutely Everybody”, the whole place is going to be reduced to rubble. Now that is the kind of deeply positive party energy we want to have in 2022.

Joining the two heavyweights of essential Aussie pop are performances from ARIA-nominated singer-songwriter Mo’Ju, appearances from Timothy Springs and Prinnie Stevens, as well as sets from local DJs KLIMI, Charlie Villas and Division 4.

Who’s to say what else is on the cards for the parade this year — will we get another Drag Race Down Under cast reveal? Gawd we can only hope.

The 2022 Mardi Gras Parade marches into the SCG on Saturday, March 5 from 6pm, and tickets start from a very nice $10 a pop.

Fair Day, Sissy Ball, pool parties, Laugh Out Proud comedy, Full Bush Ball and the Mardi Gras Film Festival are all back on again this year too, and you can check out the full program of events over on the festival’s website.

Image: Supplied / Anna Kucera