Melbourne Festivals

Events

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January

Midsumma Festival

February

L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival

March

Volkswagen Melbourne Queer Festival

International Flower Show

Each year in Melbourne around March and April, the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens is the venue for the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. The show features new garden products, outside furniture, water saving and recycling technology, garden lighting, and a large variety of plants, trees, bulbs, shrubs, and flowers. Exhibitors include landscapers, nurseries, and florists, among the over 500 who attend.

Many garden displays and floral features are judged, with the City of Melbourne Award Of Excellence For Best In Show, Ford Sustainability Award, Royal Horticultural Society Comeadow Award, 200-105 examand the Horticultural Media Association Best Use of Plant Life Award up for grabs. Garden sculptures are on display in the Carlton Gardens. Not only are the garden sculptures judged for awards, but many are available to buy. At the Retail Fresh Flower Market in the Royal Exhibition Building, people buy the flowers they like.

Often visitors to the show can meet gardening celebrities and view their displays. Several gardening and lifestyle television shows cover the event. A Children’s Garden provides plenty of treats for younger gardeners, with face painting, lessons on gardening, and an animal farm. Various musicians and other entertainers perform around the grounds of the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show.

The Royal Exhibition Building is on the World Heritage List and has hosted prestigious events and shows for over a century. It was even the location for the opening of the first Parliament of Australia.

The Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show provides a similar experience to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in England, which is the most famous flower show in the world.

Those visiting the show can park their car near the venue or take public transport, as trams, trains and buses stop nearby. The free City Circle tram makes a stop not far from the Royal Exhibition Building.

Moomba

Held every year on the Labour Day long weekend in March, the Moomba festival is an important part of the history of Melbourne. Moomba is over fifty years old, and has evolved over the years as Melbourne grows and changes. There are many free events that cater to families.

The Moomba Parade consists of bands, community groups, floats,300-101 exam and the Moomba Monarchs. Each year’s King or Queen of Moomba is a famous Australian, usually from the entertainment or sports industries. Olympic runner Cathy Freeman, singer Rolf Harris, and Wimbledon doubles champion Paul McNamee were Moomba Monarchs of the past. The parade travels through the centre of Melbourne on Swanston Street.

Moomba has many events centred around Melbourne’s Yarra River. The Moomba Masters International Invitational Championships features the elite of Waterskiing competing in jumps, slalom, and trick events. With well over $100,000 in prize money up for grabs, the water-skiers put on a great show. Wakeboard and Barefoot events are also contested.

The Birdman Rally combines technology and comedy as people pilot their flying machines from a platform four metres above the Yarra River. Most have a quick plummet to the water below, while others do create aerodynamic vehicles that can cover some distance; the large crowds that gather for the event cheer for both results. The aircraft don’t have engines and can have fixed wings, rotary wings, or flapping wings. The entry fee for the Birdman Rally goes to a charity.

Another event that raises money for charity is the Bath Tub Dash. Australian celebrities put on a life vest, jump in a bath, and try to paddle across the river.

The banks of the Yarra River are turned into a carnival, with various rides and games for people to play, and a fireworks display in the evening. Concerts are held that cover many different musical categories.

Moomba is considered to mean “Let’s get together and have fun”.

April

Melbourne International Comedy Festival

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is a months of fun and laughs that happens in Melbourne every year. The events take place all over Melbourne during the months of March and April.

The Melbourne Town Hall is the location for the biggest comedy shows, with the Main Hall there having a capacity of over 1,000. Smaller shows occur throughout other areas of the Town Hall, catering to crowds from around 350 to 50 in the smallest rooms. More shows can be seen at the Forum theatre, Victoria Hotel, RMIT Capitol Theatre, and other smaller venues.

While the festival does bring in many of the best comedy acts from Australia and around the world, new acts are invited to present their shows.

A number of awards are handed out. The Barry Award, named for Barry Humphries, is awarded for the best comedy show. The Critics’ Award is presented to the best local performer, while the Best Newcomer Award is given to the act who performs a great show on their first visit to the festival.

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival started in 1987. The stated goals were to “showcase and celebrate the best of Australia���s comic artists” as well as “nurture and develop new comic performers and comedy works” and “present the finest overseas comedians to Australian audiences”. These goals have been met and exceeded as the festival continues to grow.

The average price for the shows is around $20. The large Gala show has tickets for sale that start at just over $50 to around $120 for seats closer to the stage. The proceeds from the Gala are donated to charity.

For those unable to get tickets to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Gala, this show is usually broadcast on television. Some of the famous performers from this event include Jimeoin, Tom Gleeson, Dave Hughes, Arj Barker, and Felicity Ward.

May

Next Wave Festival

Melbourne Jazz Festival

International Jazz Festival
All around Melbourne in early May is Jazz time, and many of the concerts are free.

June

Circus Oz at Birrarung Marr

International Puppet Carnival

International Animation Festival
Known for its thematic, visual, and technical diversity, the Melbourne animation festival is run each June.

July

Melbourne Design Festival

Melbourne Winter Masterpieces

Magic Festival
Local and international magicians perform each July.

August

Melbourne International Film Festival

The Age Melbourne Writer’s Festival

Spring Fashion Week
In August and September, Melbourne hosts the best and wildest fashion designers at the Melbourne Spring Fashion Week. With around forty designers and over 150 individual events, the MSFW is attended by thousands.

Some of the designers who have been involved include Collette Dinnigan, Arnsdorf, Lisa Ho, Carly Hunter, Therese Rawsthorne, Yeojin Bae, Claude Maus, Dhini, Bettina Liano, Jack London, and Alexandra Blak. Celebrities like Jennifer Hawkins often play a part in the shows, in conjunction with the stores or designers they represent. Often the place to be during Melbourne Spring Fashion Week is the Bourke Street Mall, where the large Myer and David Jones stores are located.

The Melbourne Spring Fashion Week consists of the Business Breakfast Series, free events and fashion parades in the City Square, a student fashion program, and the City Series. The MSFW City Series includes the categories Fashion Shows, Fashion Learning, Celebrating Accessories, Fashion And Film, Exhibitions, Previews And Launches, and Fashion Experiences.

Some of the venues used for Melbourne Spring Fashion Week are located in Collins Street, Bourke Street Mall, Swanston Street, Harbour Town Shopping Centre, Flinders Lane, Federation Square, QV Square, and Melbourne’s GPO. These locations are all in the middle of Melbourne. They are within walking distance of the city loop train stations, and most have a tram stop right outside the venue. Car parking is available nearby.

Educational events also take place during Melbourne Spring Fashion Week. People can learn how to make professional patterns or create a silver ring, as well as learn about the history of fashion, international fashion, and the business side of fashion.

Those attending Melbourne Spring Fashion Week can also take advantage of exclusive offers from participating restaurants and clubs around Melbourne. These offers include priority entry to popular night spots.

For those who want more fashion, the Melbourne Fashion Festival takes place around March each year.

Writers Festival
The main literary event in Melbourne, the Writers Festival attracts a lot of international writers. The festival includes performances, readings, films, and many other creative ideas. The festival takes place at the end of August and early September.

September

The Age Melbourne Fringe Festival

Motorola Melbourne Spring Fashion Week

October

Melbourne International Arts Festival

Each year in October it is time for the Melbourne International Arts Festival. All cultural aspects are catered for with events for dance, theatre, music, visual arts scheduled. Talks and forums allowing young artists and other visitors to learn from established artists form another part of the festival.

The Melbourne International Arts Festival is also the location for many Australian and World premieres. A number of events sell out while there are also free exhibitions and performances for the public to attend.

A large number of venues around Melbourne are used for the Melbourne International Arts Festival. The Arts Centre on St Kilda Road is where most of the action happens, with different events located there in the State Theatre which can seat around 2,000, Playhouse which holds around 800 and Fairfax Studio which has a capacity of cl