British pop sensation Years & Years – aka Olly Alexander – is no stranger to putting on a delightfully camp performance for his dedicated legion of fans.
So it’s no surprise that the singer feels in his element as the headlining artist for the inaugural Summer Camp Festival, which sees over 150 DJs, drag queens, dancers and performance artists take the stage in Sydney and Melbourne in Australia’s first-ever touring pride festival.
Joined by the likes of “Murder on the Dancefloor” songstress Sophie Ellis-Bexter, electro icon Big Freedia, New Zealand’s Ladyhawke, Australia’s own The Veronicas and more, Years & Years headlined the first-ever Summer Camp Festival at The Roundhouse in Sydney on Saturday and will again appear at Melbourne’s Coburg Velodrome on November 12 in a glitter-filled celebration of the LGBTQ+ community.
“It’s just so amazing to be part of such a queer lineup,” Olly tells Rolling Stone of being a part of the inaugural festival. “It feels like one big pride party, it’s just a really good vibe filled with people having a good time.”
Adding to the significance of being a part of the festival, Olly notes that such a queer-focused musical event is momentous in the sense that it marks the evolving attitude of society as a whole when it comes to celebrating LGBTQ artists.
“It’s a really good feeling,” he says, adding, “Having been in the industry for about 10 years, I’ve definitely seen attitudes change. There’s always been really amazing queer artists thriving and making great music, but I feel like in the last few years there’s been a real groundswell of support for queer artists.
“It’s really unusual to play a lineup that is so kind of queer-focused and celebrating queer culture. I think we’re seeing so many exciting things happen in the music industry in terms of artists having this direct relationship with their audience via social media. I think it’s a really exciting time.”
A longtime fan of Australia and its talent, last year saw Olly undertake a collaboration with queer icon Kylie Monogue for the track “A Second To Midnight” – a feat most artists could only dream of achieving.
“It was just the best,” Olly gushes of working with the “Locomotion” singer.
“I’ve grown up loving idolising Kylie since I was a kid, When Fever came out, I was like, ‘Oh my God, this woman is amazing!’ And it was my absolute dream come true to work with her.
“She’s so genuine and down-to-earth. I first met her in 2015, but we worked together during the pandemic, which was during a time when I had really low self-confidence – I was just really not going through a very good time. And then this collaboration with Kylie came about, and it made me feel so so grateful,” he continues.
“She gave me some really advice about my career, because she’s seen and done it all, and she told me even she still gets nervous when performing. But just working with her was amazing, it was so great.”
Olly’s love for Down Under doesn’t end at our most famous musical exports, with the singer revealing he adores the enthusiasm of an Aussie crowd.
“I have to say that our crowd at the Sydney show at the Roundhouse was just so enthusiastic and so lovely,” he says.
“They were just such a good audience. When I played [Kylie Minogue collaboration] “A Second To Midnight” and “Starstruck”, it just went down so well. It was like a really, really, good feeling, like, ‘Oh, wow! People seem to really love [my music] here. So that was just really cool.”
You can catch Years & Years at Summer Camp Festival 2022 at Coburg Velodrome in Melbourne on Saturday, November 12th, 2022. Tickets are still available from Moshtix