Arts & Entertainment
1 min

Raising cash with ’stache

Freddie for a Day raises funds for ACT

Freddie and his mustache.

Lovers of Queen can soon don their best Freddie Mercury costumes — big bushy mustaches and all — for a Freddie-themed fundraiser to benefit the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT).

In 1992, the remaining members of Queen held a tribute concert for Mercury, who had died of AIDS the preceding year. The Mercury Phoenix Trust (MPT) was established to donate money from this concert, and other efforts, to AIDS-related charities. In 2011, on what would have been Mercury’s 65th birthday, MPT hosted a lavish party in the UK to raise funds, with everyone encouraged to wear Freddie-related costumes. Thus began the worldwide Freddie for a Day (FFAD) parties.

Julie Hanson was intrigued by the FFAD parties popping up everywhere. “I saw there was one in Germany and another in Brazil, so I wrote to the MPT website to ask if there was a party in Toronto, because I wanted to go! And they said, ‘Not yet.’” She organized an FFAD at Woody’s in 2011, because she’s a huge Queen fan and has been campaigning against AIDS for a long time. “I had a lot of gay friends in the ’80s who ended up dying of AIDS, and a lot of the artists I admire also died of AIDS.”

Hanson is hosting a much larger event this year at the Gladstone Hotel. Attendees should wear costumes from Mercury’s better-known performances, or at least sport thick black mustaches (on sale at the door). There will be several performances, from artists like Rick Rock and Bob Wegner of the Queen tribute band Simply Queen, and Juno Award–winning singer/songwriter Andrew Cash (who is also an NDP MP), as well as a silent auction, a raffle, a best costume competition and karaoke. The event is entirely volunteer-run, with all proceeds going directly to ACT.