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For our inaugural Flamboyant Friday, we’re inviting you all to dress to the nines! Whether you commit head-to-toe, or just go for a subtle pop of colour, we can’t wait to see you all looking fierce in fuchsia, magnificent in magenta, silly in salmon, cute in coral… you get the idea.

Our pinkest venue by far, Reflex, will be throwing a Friday PINKFLEX takeover, with prizes for best sashay, best outfit and all-round vibe, so get your glad rags on and get down there!

(And whilst you’re at it – a little reminder of Saturday’s carnival theme: Wild & Free! – more on that here.)

‘You can’t tell me what colour to wear. I’m not doing it!’

You don’t have to! It’s just a bit of fun and nobody has to take part. As with any of our costume themes, you are all free to totally ignore it and do your own thing!

‘….but I thought Friday’s were for gender-swapping!’

Any Shambalan stalwart will tell you that Friday’s at Shambala have long been about pushing the boundaries of the binary, and experimenting with gender roles; a chance for people to dress their truest or to test out the absolute opposite; to play pretend.

We’ve received some lush feedback from members of our Trans and non-binary community over the years – including from some folks who found their true gender identity through experimenting at Shambala – which is, obviously, wonderful to hear. 

However, we’ve also received some feedback from members of the community who have felt this theme can encourage painful misgendering from others who (whilst likely meaning well) have given gendered compliments or comments – or assumed somebody is “dressing up”, when in reality, they are presenting as they always do.

You may remember that back in 2022, we worked with a wonderful Trans-led consultancy (Gendered Intelligence) to pick this theme apart and see how we could better manage this – or whether we should just move away from it altogether. Their advice was to create public guidelines on how to educate our audience on avoiding clumsy micro-aggressions – and to keep an eye on it over the coming years, welcoming feedback on how we were doing, from the Trans and Non-Binary community. 

After further feedback in 2023 from members of these communities, we have decided to put it to bed, and try something new… so here we go!

‘Wait!!! My husband LIVES for his annual ball gown outing on Friday at Shambala – is he not allowed to do this anymore!!?’

Of course he is! You can wear whatever you like (providing it isn’t offensive – step away from the Native American Headdresses, or afro wigs if these items are not of your culture please) – however we will be moving away from promoting or encouraging any gender swapping theme to our audience, for the reasons mentioned above. But of course you can do your thing if you so wish…

What we will say is – PLEASE be mindful of misgendering. It’s completely possible to tell someone that their outfit is fabulous, or that they look fierce AF, without mentioning what gender you assume they are, or aren’t. You might be inadvertently telling someone they look amazing in their ‘costume’, when in fact, they’re not wearing a costume at all. However well intentioned, a misguided, gendered compliment may well ruin someone’s day or weekend. Let’s work together to ensure our whole community feel welcomed, safe and comfortable to be themselves.

Huge thank you to everyone who voted! x