Austin International Drag Festival Closes Out Year Four in Style

With greater diversity, this year's fest set a new precedent

Kings, queens, drag royalty, and their fans closed out the fourth annual Austin International Drag Festival with "Nocturnal Emissions: Return to the Pleasure Dome" Sunday evening at the North Door. With epic performances, the final blow out offered a boozy, dance-filled end to a glittery weekend.

Scarlett Mascarra (l), Chyna Versace, and Maxi Glamour called the fourth annual fest "sickening" (Photo by Courtney Naquin)

Done-up in their best attire – drag or otherwise – the crowd was lively and eclectic. A drag king who goes by the Artist Formerly Known as Anton told me he traveled from Tel Aviv with friend and fellow performer Sahar exclusively to attend the fest. As one of many kings who took the stage at Thursday’s KingFest, Anton called the 2018 event the "best drag experience ever,” noting that the weekend was “very inclusive” and judgement-free. Both Anton and Sahar perform in Israel and are already planning to bring a troupe with them to next year’s festival.

Though this was Anton’s first year at Drag Fest, many attendees were returning performers. Queen Maxi Glamour performed for the second year, coming from St. Louis with her friends Scarlett Mascarra and Chyna Versace. When asked how to describe this year’s festival, they agreed: “Sickening! Amazing! Fabulous!”

“It’s like a big family, and it keeps getting better,” added Glamor.

Austin's very own Dandy Velour (Photo by Courtney Naquin)

Overall, it was the feeling of community and a greater attention to diversity that really resonated with attendees. Local king Dandy Velour told "Qmmunity" that Drag Fest is getting increasingly inclusive each year. “All performers take the time to talk about inclusivity, especially in respects to gender and sexuality,” Velour said. When asked about his favorite part of the festival, Velour mused, “I got to know more performers, not just see them.”

This year’s fest set a new precedent for future events. With increasing inclusivity, the global drag community will surely grow, too. As Maxi Glamour said, the fest was like one big family – a big, glittery family. And we can’t wait to see what they do for 2019!

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Austin International Drag Festival, Drag Fest, Dandy Velour

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