Northside Bizarre now attracts thousands of people every year, and has become a highlight of the annual queer calendar in Melbourne.
THE HISTORY OF NORTHSIDE BIZARRE
The event was to be a fundraiser which sold used fetish gear at a goods market (which we now call our 'Leather ‘n Treasure Market'). This would allow people new to the kink scene the ability to purchase quality used kink gear at an entry price-point so they could try out the ‘scene’, rather than spending a fortune on rubber gear or leather chaps. The used goods would allow other more experienced members of the community to pay it forward with their old used gear and allow newer members entering the scene at a cost affordable entry point. A win-win all round!
The idea for this event was originally shared from a local guy who had heard of a similar event taking place with a Cincinnati kink group in the USA. The members of this group figured they all had leather gear they didn’t wear anymore and realised that no younger guys were coming up as new members of the kink community because new gear was so expensive. So, the suggestion was made to do something similar here and this was the first seed sown for the Northside Bizarre.
In the spirit of the original Laird Auction, produced by volunteers of Thorne Harbour Health (formerly Victorian AIDS Council) and the Slave Market (produced by No Attitude Guys), Northside Bizarre was established as a way of raising funds for people living with HIV and to provide significant community giveback.
The event was an instant hit with community and grew and grew each year in popularity. From it’s humble beginnings as a small event held solely in the Laird Hotel (with each year reaching capcity) it was soon clear that we needed to expand. Northside Bizarre has expanded to take over the neighbouring Collingwood Masonic Hall and the section of Henry Street that runs between the two iconic venues. The event has continued to evolve and now reflects everything kink, inclusive, and community, represented by the Laird's signature orange (a nod to the days of the handkerchief code where orange meant 'anything goes').
The idea was pitched to the Laird Hotel, where owner Brett Lasham suggested re-establishing the original Laird Auction to add value to the event. The idea was to get more unique, one of a kind, and community business items to be sold at auction. Thus, Northside Bizarre was born!
At a later date, JOY 94.9 were brought on as partner fundraisers with Thorne Harbour Health and The Laird to form the perfect threesome pairing made in heaven!
Our kink demonstrations on the The Laird Stage have evolved to be more inclusive of all queer diversity performances, and we now even have a community cooking competition called Master Baker where queer community groups battle it out for the top prize.
Leather & Treasure goods donated every year sees more and more community members getting involved, and we now have a range of community stalls selling their goods on our ‘Market Alley’. Our now famous auction is held in the Collingwood Masonic Hall over four to five auction blocks and sees a range of community members come to bid on our unique, one of a kind, hot ticketed items.