Country Queer

Lifting up LGBTQ+ voices in country and Americana.

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Kick Up Some Dust at these Upcoming Queer Country Festivals

by Madeleine Tomasoa

Image: Steers & Queers Gay Ole Opry, Toronto, CA.

While many events in this past year have been cancelled, that doesn’t stop the metaphorical truck of country going round the…country.

As we continue to transition out from the clutches of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re looking ahead to a mix of live queer country events from Brooklyn all the way to Australia, including many with virtual options. Due to various restrictions, make sure to check your area’s limitations and regulations, and don’t forget to mask up and get vaccinated!

ChillOut — Victoria, Australia

If you’re from down under, you’re bound to enjoy ChillOut, a “Queer Country Pride” festival in Australia. While their main 25th anniversary celebration is planned for the first quarter of 2022, they’re hosting a variety of spin-off events this year that are totally worth checking out. Their ChillOut Women’s Dance is taking place on October 16, so put on your dancing shoes and say hi to a couple of friendly faces.

Steers & Queers Gay Ole Opry — Toronto, Canada

Steers & Queers Gay Ole Opry promises a fun time at in The Hayloft Dance Hall in Toronto. Tickets just recently went on sale on August 18. While not exactly a ‘festival’ per se, they’re committed to delivering the best of queer country. Described as a “queer honky tonk folk party,” Steers & Queers have been host to some of the best parties available, including their “Night of 1000 Dollys” series. Come on down to the barnyard and have the queerest time of your life! 


A Honky-Tonk of Our Own

AmericanaFest — Nashville, TN

The AmericanaFest lineup is distinctly queer this year, with an array of LGBTQ+ performers that includes Allison Russell, Ana Egge, AJ Lee and Blue Summit, SG Goodman, Waylon Payne, Crys Matthews, Sarah Shook & the Disarmers, Melissa Carper, Izzy Heltai and Rainbow Girls. Whew! In addition to that stellar list (and any others we may have missed), keep an eye out for a special Country Queer presence at this Nashville festival, which is coming up quick from September 22-25.

Brooklyn Folk Festival — Brooklyn, NY

This year’s Brooklyn Folk Festival will run from the 12th to the 13th of November at St. Ann’s Church. Touted as “diverse, spontaneous, and countercultural” by the New Yorker, it focuses on tenets that are shared experiences of the queer community. Past years have offered a mixture of face-to-face performances and digital livestreams and Zoom workshops for your entertainment, even featuring a festival-grown video game called BANJO TOSS! What could be more country than that?

Nashville Pride — Nashville, TN

Pride doesn’t end in June. This year’s Nashville Pride runs from the 18th to the 19th of September, featuring a range of queer country artists such as Orville Peck, Brooke Eden, and Mercy Bell. As a safe ground for queer folk in Music City, USA, Nashville Pride is bound to be fantastic in atmosphere and in celebration of those who came before us.

ArtemisFest — Madison, TN

The inaugural year of ArtemisFest is just around the corner. This Americana festival dedicated to women’s voices is located in the heart of Tenessee and will take place on October 9. The lineup features a diverse and noticeably queer cast of performers, including outspoken country queer artists Mercy Bell, Luisa Lopez, and Steff Mahan. Tickets are available now and must be purchased in advance, so get ’em while they’re hot!

Stagecoach Festival — Indio, CA

Stagecoach Festival has a notably queer and racially diverse lineup for 2022, featuring artists such as T.J. Osborne of Brothers Osborne, Brandi Carlile, Orville Peck, Waylon Payne, and Amythyst Kiah. Though country-centric, Stagecoach is more than your average honky-tonk—featuring artists with influences that range from rock, to pop, to blues, there’s something for everyone at this sunny California festival. 

Girls Just Wanna Weekend — Riviera Maya, MX

Speaking of Brandi, Carlile’s very own ‘Girls Just Wanna Weekend’ is an all-female and queer friendly festival, back this year for its third iteration. This is a four night, all-inclusive staycation, so you’ll have plenty of fun on the beaches of Mexico while rocking out to favorites such as Amythyst Kiah, Katie Pruitt, Allison Russell, Indigo Girls, and plenty more, including performances from Carlile herself. Float in out of your comfy guest rooms and end up rocking out on the beach with musicians, complete with craft cocktail bars and specially curated food stations.

Overall, this year’s live performance series provides a range of experiences for the prospective queer country festival-goer, wherever you may be. From camping to dancing to relaxing at a resort, there’s something for everyone here looking for a grand (and gay!) old time.

Madeleine Tomasoa is the current Assistant Editor for Sledgehammer Lit. They are from Jakarta, Indonesia. They enjoy betting on losing dogs and watching cars go around in circles.