Chilling out in 'cosmopolitan country': urban/rural hybridity and the construction of Daylesford as a 'lesbian and gay rural idyll'
This paper advances scholarship on 'lesbian and gay rural idylls'. A growing literature examines how 'lesbian and gay rural idylls' are not only produced in opposition to the urban, but are themselves urban constructs. We extend these contentions by exploring the processes of idyllisation suffusing lesbian and gay festival tourism in Daylesford, a town in non-metropolitan Victoria, Australia. We find that Daylesford's idyllisation by the lesbian and gay tourism industry blurs the urban/rural binary, and instead hybridises rurality and urbanity in the tourism images and practices of 'cosmopolitan country' associated with the town. Research findings from Daylesford are analysed to examine how the dynamics of tourism marketing and festival attendance help produce and articulate this hybrid variant of the 'lesbian and gay rural idyll'. We utilise two sets of mostly qualitative data for this inquiry: travel commentaries in the news media, and a survey conducted in Daylesford at the 2006 ChillOut Festival, Australia's largest lesbian and gay rural festival.