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Interview | TropOut organisers Jamie Hutchinson and Aaron Zoanetti on their boutique island festival

The two organisers speak about why their festival isn't marketed as a circuit party

By Steve Brown

In the Pacific, TropOut, a gay travel event, has gained reputation by organizing small “boutique island festivals” during the last years.

Gay guys explore the host island, have a stress-free time, go out, and, most importantly, meet new friends from all over the world.

In September, Melbourne-based TropOut-organisers Jamie Hutchinson and Aaron Zoanetti set up TropOut in Europe for the first time.

It is not surprising they chose to host the party in Malta which has been ranked number one travel destination on the European Rainbow Index, which rates countries’ laws and policies affecting LGBTQ community.

Almost 50 travellers gathered for a week of party, culture, sun and beaches on the island of Malta, while the local community celebrated pride.

Attitude talks to Jamie and Aaron about their experiences and what’s up next.

Congratulations for setting up the first TropOut event in Europe. From your point of view, what stood out?

Jamie: For me the personal highlight was actually celebrating TropOut and Pride, because there was a really great buzz in Malta. I enjoyed the Saturday night party after Pride, and I enjoyed our TropOut boat party.

TropOut is marketed as a “festival”, but it is no circuit party.

Jamie: It’s a boutique island festival. We don’t seek to be part of the circuit, and we don’t seek to attract large masses of people. Instead, we select an amazing destination, and create travel experiences for the modern gay traveler. We go out and experience the island together during the day, but we mix up with the locals during the night. We’re sharing experiences and meet people we remain friends with.

Why has been Malta been a destination of choice for TropOut?

Jamie: We were looking at places in the Mediterranean and Malta ranks very well when it comes to LGBT rights. Malta seemed liked an exciting kind of venture, and one that would be a good place to try TropOut for the first time in Europe.

Your next events are New Caledonia and Koh Samui. What can we expect there?

Aaron: New Caledonia gives people a very unique sort of French island pacific experience. We’ll also party on a private island with the local community. Koh Samui is the official post-vacation of White Party in Bangkok. So, there is more of a focus on the relaxing and the yoga. We’ll also sail around the island of Koh Phangan. It will be one of those days that starts out pretty chilled and then builds into its own party on the water, while we’re sailing back into Koh Samui.

Words: Tobias Sauer