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ChillOut: A festival 'out' in the country

Chapter


Abstract


  • Little is known about how sexual diversity shapes lives outside

    metropolitan Australia. Places beyond the metropolis are conventionally

    seen as fashioned by narrow strictures of heterosexuality (Gottschalk &

    Newton, 2003). A host of (post)colonial national mythologies encourage

    people to imagine rural Australians as white, heterosexual men and

    women. Such ideas are encapsulated in the bushman mythology and the

    legend of Ned Kelly, and replayed through characters such as Crocodile

    Dundee (Turner, 1994), as well as the fi gure of the ‘farm woman’ and longstanding

    organisations such as the Country Women’s Association (Alston,

    1995). Where sexual diversity enters this imaginary, visions are often overlain

    with narratives of lesbian and gay suicide, homophobic violence and

    ‘escape’ migration to ‘gay’ urban centres. This chapter presents a counternarrative,

    offering stories about the enjoyment of ChillOut, a lesbian and

    gay festival held annually in Daylesford-Hepburn Springs, twin country

    towns in Hepburn Shire, Victoria. This is partly an exploration of how

    ChillOut complicates and challenges the ‘closeting’ of lesbians and gay

    men in rural Australia, utilising camp humour to unsettle stereotypical

    assumptions about (people of ) diverse sexualities. But at the same time,

    ChillOut is infl uenced by economic discourses that frame lesbian and gay

    tourists as ‘affl uent’, and is embedded in political structures that continue

    to favour heterosexuality as ‘normal’. In this light, the festival must also be

    considered through the construction of the ‘gay tourist’ or ‘lesbian tourist’

    as subjects of both privilege and opposition. Drawing on these perspectives,

    we address the different experiences and meanings of ChillOut for

    organisers, participants and residents.

    To explain how Hepburn Shire has become a festival ‘capital’, this

    chapter fi rst outlines its shifting demography, economics and politics.

    We pay particular attention to the origins and development of ChillOut.

    We then explore how the playfulness of camp unsettles the assumptions

    of rural places devoid of sexual difference. Next, we argue that while

    ChillOut challenges the absence of diverse sexualities in many rural

    Australian narratives, it normalises non-threatening expressions –

    certain confi gurations of gayness as affl uent lesbian and gay tourists

    rather than an overarching acceptance of sexual difference in all aspects

    of everyday life. This may be helpfully thought about in terms of a hierarchy

    of homosexualities, highlighting ongoing oppression for anyone

    whose sexuality does not conform to idealised notions of the lesbian or

    gay tourist. In the conclusion, we refl ect upon how ChillOut tests, adapts

    and recreates narratives about what it means to live in Daylesford–

    Hepburn Springs.

Publication Date


  • 2011

Citation


  • Waitt, G. & Gorman-Murray, A. (2011). ChillOut: A festival 'out' in the country. In C. Gibson & J. Connell (Eds.), Festival Places: Revitalising Rural Australia (pp. 209-226). Bristol, UK: Channel View Publications.

International Standard Book Number (isbn) 13


  • 9781845411688

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84855243003

Book Title


  • Festival Places: Revitalising Rural Australia

Has Global Citation Frequency


Start Page


  • 209

End Page


  • 226

Place Of Publication


  • Bristol, UK

Abstract


  • Little is known about how sexual diversity shapes lives outside

    metropolitan Australia. Places beyond the metropolis are conventionally

    seen as fashioned by narrow strictures of heterosexuality (Gottschalk &

    Newton, 2003). A host of (post)colonial national mythologies encourage

    people to imagine rural Australians as white, heterosexual men and

    women. Such ideas are encapsulated in the bushman mythology and the

    legend of Ned Kelly, and replayed through characters such as Crocodile

    Dundee (Turner, 1994), as well as the fi gure of the ‘farm woman’ and longstanding

    organisations such as the Country Women’s Association (Alston,

    1995). Where sexual diversity enters this imaginary, visions are often overlain

    with narratives of lesbian and gay suicide, homophobic violence and

    ‘escape’ migration to ‘gay’ urban centres. This chapter presents a counternarrative,

    offering stories about the enjoyment of ChillOut, a lesbian and

    gay festival held annually in Daylesford-Hepburn Springs, twin country

    towns in Hepburn Shire, Victoria. This is partly an exploration of how

    ChillOut complicates and challenges the ‘closeting’ of lesbians and gay

    men in rural Australia, utilising camp humour to unsettle stereotypical

    assumptions about (people of ) diverse sexualities. But at the same time,

    ChillOut is infl uenced by economic discourses that frame lesbian and gay

    tourists as ‘affl uent’, and is embedded in political structures that continue

    to favour heterosexuality as ‘normal’. In this light, the festival must also be

    considered through the construction of the ‘gay tourist’ or ‘lesbian tourist’

    as subjects of both privilege and opposition. Drawing on these perspectives,

    we address the different experiences and meanings of ChillOut for

    organisers, participants and residents.

    To explain how Hepburn Shire has become a festival ‘capital’, this

    chapter fi rst outlines its shifting demography, economics and politics.

    We pay particular attention to the origins and development of ChillOut.

    We then explore how the playfulness of camp unsettles the assumptions

    of rural places devoid of sexual difference. Next, we argue that while

    ChillOut challenges the absence of diverse sexualities in many rural

    Australian narratives, it normalises non-threatening expressions –

    certain confi gurations of gayness as affl uent lesbian and gay tourists

    rather than an overarching acceptance of sexual difference in all aspects

    of everyday life. This may be helpfully thought about in terms of a hierarchy

    of homosexualities, highlighting ongoing oppression for anyone

    whose sexuality does not conform to idealised notions of the lesbian or

    gay tourist. In the conclusion, we refl ect upon how ChillOut tests, adapts

    and recreates narratives about what it means to live in Daylesford–

    Hepburn Springs.

Publication Date


  • 2011

Citation


  • Waitt, G. & Gorman-Murray, A. (2011). ChillOut: A festival 'out' in the country. In C. Gibson & J. Connell (Eds.), Festival Places: Revitalising Rural Australia (pp. 209-226). Bristol, UK: Channel View Publications.

International Standard Book Number (isbn) 13


  • 9781845411688

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84855243003

Book Title


  • Festival Places: Revitalising Rural Australia

Has Global Citation Frequency


Start Page


  • 209

End Page


  • 226

Place Of Publication


  • Bristol, UK