There’s not much disputing it: Melbourne is the place to be. Recently voted the world’s most liveable city for the fifth year in a row, Australia’s second largest city is positively brimming with amazing things to do. There’s a well-established but still-growing arts scene, landmark sporting events, and all kinds of markets and festivals. Suffice to say, Melburnians are spoilt for choice. So read on as we take you through some of the unmissable events in and around the Victorian capital this summer.
Horror Movie Campout, Friday 4th and Saturday 5th December 2015
The first event of its kind in Australia, the Horror Movie Campout is a uniquely immersive camping experience (replete with drinks and hot food) with some of the scariest movies of all time on an outdoor screen, in a remote venue an hour’s drive from Melbourne. Don’t expect to sleep soundly either, as the thrills continue through the night – with scare actors on duty to keep the hairs on the back of your neck standing!
Queen Victoria Night Market – every Wednesday from November 2015 to March 2016
Trading at the largest open air market in the Southern Hemisphere goes on late into the evening every Wednesday night over the summer. It’s one of Melbourne’s most iconic and historic locations, and proudly claims to be the “heart and soul” of the city. The night market features live entertainment and an unmatched variety of street food.
Andy Warhol/Ai Weiwei Exhibition, National Gallery of Victoria, 11th December 2015 – 24th April 2016
Perhaps the year’s biggest art event, not only in Australia but the entire world, brings together two highly controversial artists: Andy Warhol is one of the defining figures of 20th century art, and Ai Weiwei is set to be of the 21st century’s equivalents. This enormous exhibition will present over 300 works, including some of Warhol’s most famous screen prints (including Campbell’s Soup and Elvis), alongside a suite of new commissions from the Chinese artist, including a Lego installation which has already been making headlines around the world after the Danish toy company refused to sell him a bulk order: in response, thousands of Lego enthusiasts have sent him their bricks as donations.
Australian Open Tennis, 18th January – 31st January
This one pretty much sells itself. It’s one of the four major tennis competitions in the world, featuring all the biggest players on court and tons of celebrities in the crowd. Tickets are already on sale so you’d better be fast if you want to catch Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams trying to defend their titles!
Midsumma Festival Opening Carnival, Birrarung Marr, Sunday 17th January
Midsumma is a large annual celebration of LGBT culture which began in 1988 and now attracts six-figure crowds across three weeks of festivities. Since 2008 Midsumma has opened with a Carnival on the middle Sunday of January, situated in the large city-centre park Birrarung Marr. It’s an all-day event for the whole community comprising family picnics, markets and lots of live music, which carries on late into the night. Throughout the festival there are numerous events around the city, including film, theatre, cabaret, music and poetry, for the most part produced by the local community.
Sustainable Living Festival, 6th-28th February 2016
The Sustainable Living Festival is Australia’s largest ecological gathering, bringing together academics, activists and enthusiasts to raise awareness of the environmental problems we face, promote sustainable living and discuss solutions to global warming.
First started in 1998, the festival now encompasses talks, workshops, film exhibitions and live music – presenting an optimistic vision for the future of our planet and inviting everyone to participate.
White Night, 20th February 2016
It may only have started in 2013, but White Night Melbourne is already one of Australia’s biggest and most important cultural events, with over half a million attending in 2015. But what is it? A twelve hour, free to all bonanza of visual art, music, food, theatre, sport, fashion and film, spread across the city from 7pm to 7am, with activities in the streets, parks, galleries and other public spaces. According to the organizers, it has even taken over New Year’s Eve in terms of crowd numbers!
Melbourne Zoo Twilights, 30th January – 7th March 2016
Every weekend, from the end of January to the middle of March, the 150-year old Melbourne Zoo remains open after hours for a series of concerts in a very special location. Local artists play alongside international guests to raise money to fight wildlife extinction worldwide. There are also be special presentations by the keepers of the lion and elephant enclosures, so it’s a night to be educated as well as entertained!
Picture from speakertv.com
Big West, 20th-28th November
Big West is a community-organized, by-the-people-for-the-people festival in the West of Melbourne running for nine days and featuring over 70 events, most of which are free. It’s multi-cultural, multi-faceted and multi-platform, with a wide variety of exhibitions, live shows and above all, experimentation. As the organizers say, the artists will turn “theatres into houses and houses into theatres”! And on the 21st November, there’ll be an enormous street party in Footscray, combining family-friendly fun with social awareness.
Photo from www.beat.com.au
Brickvention, Royal Exhibition Building, 16th January-17th January 2016
What better excuse to visit the first building in Australia to receive UNESCO heritage status, the Royal Exhibition Building, than an all-day Lego exposition? Brickvention is run by volunteers, and showcases wild and wonderful Lego constructions by enthusiasts from across Australia. Cars, trains, pirate ships, sculptures, you name it, it’ll be there. Look out for the speed-building competition!
Photo from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBhCDM-TcAY
Australia Day, 26th January 2016
Last but certainly not least… it’s the big one. Australia Day. From its history as a anniversary of the beginning of British colonization of the continent, in contemporary Melbourne this has turned into one of the biggest celebrations of multiculturalism in the world. It’s also a day of citizenship ceremonies, and thousands of people become official Ozzies on this date every year. In Melbourne, a huge motorcade of classic cars passes through the streets at the Kings Domain Gardens, and there’s a big all-day event at the Docklands which culminates with fireworks after sunset.
ALL OTHER PHOTOS TAKEN FROM OFFICIAL WEBSITES/INSTAGRAMS OF EVENTS