You better Believe it – it’s looking like superstar singer and actress Cher will headline Sydney’s 40th gay and lesbian Mardi Gras in March.
While it is understood a contract is yet to be signed, sources close to the event have told Fairfax Mediathe 71-year-old gay icon is almost locked in to perform at the world-renowned gay pride festival.
Organisers typically seek out big overseas acts on major anniversaries – the 30th Mardi Gras was headlined by Cyndi Lauper – and this year’s will take on extra significance given the historic legalisation of same-sex marriage just weeks ago.
Cher, a leading gay icon, is known for hits such as ”Believe” and ”If I Could Turn Back Time”. Photo: Aaron Lee Fineman
The rumour mill has been in overdrive, especially after the If I Could Turn Back Time singer hinted at the deal on her official (and ever zany) Twitter account, teasingly posting: “Where am I going in March!?”
And it was helped along last week when the Australian Radio Network appeared to break an embargo by publishing an online story declaring Cher was “officially coming to town” for Mardi Gras. It was swiftly retracted but remains viewable in cached form.
Officials made it clear that while Cher was being courted as “plan A” for the after-party, dealings with megastars were always precarious and fallback options were in place.
Already, the 40th anniversary Mardi Gras parade has been swamped with interest and overbooked. Organisers copped heated criticism for rejecting the NSW Teachers Federation – a long-time participant in the parade – before bowing to pressure and granting the union a float once another group pulled out.
About 12,000 people from 200 groups are expected to march along Oxford Street on March 3, which will mark 40 years since the political protest and gay pride march began.
Organisers issued an apology to those unable to participate, citing safety and security concerns that imposed strict limits on the number of people and vehicles involved in the parade.
Brandon Bear, co-chair of Sydney Mardi Gras, said the chief barrier to expanding the size of the parade was the limited space allocated for pre-parade marshalling on College and Liverpool streets, around Hyde Park.
“If there are more people in there, it does actually become less safe, and it becomes very unpleasant,” he said.
“We’re part of Sydney, we’re not separate to it. It’s about making sure that we can be as fabulous as we can, but not ruining the space for everybody else and keeping the city operational.”
Mr Bear declined to confirm Cher’s involvement in the festival, saying only that “no announcement has been made” and “part of the excitement of the party is waiting to find out who the headliner will be”.
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