Last Saturday, SUMBA and friends were privileged to join the ‘Pride in Protest’ contingent to march in the 2020 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade.

Dressed in red and black, SUMBA might not have been the most flamboyantly dressed of all the parade-goers, but we had our instruments (and Musical Director Gus’s fabulous costume) to level the playing field. After many hours of waiting, strategically timed entry into the parade waiting area, and a few band members going on a sneaky ice-cream break, at 10pm it was finally time for SUMBA’s marching to begin.

Marching down Oxford street with confetti everywhere and cheering observers on either side, we played some well-known SUMBA tunes such as YMCA and Oye Como Va, and also had a few less-played songs to spice things up, including Old Town Road and the Final Countdown. In what was a Mardi Gras miracle, the set list lined up pretty exactly with the length of the parade, a new-found phenomenon we are to call ‘mardigrasification’. Of course, SUMBA wasn’t the only highlight of the night; the sheer diversity and passion of all the other parade members, either in floats or on the ground, was really awesome.

But all too soon the parade was over, but what a fun, exciting, and memorable night it was. We would like to thank the USYD ‘Pride in Protest’ contingent that invited SUMBA to join the parade, and of course thanks to everyone who came to play with SUMBA. A special mention should be given to Musical Director Gus, who may not have had an instrument, but instead managed to dance, twirl, and shout down the whole of Oxford street; what a legend! Finally, commendation should definitely be given to our three last-minute percussion joiners who not only willingly aided SUMBA in the march, but were also so fabulously dressed!

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