A new urban art festival announced for Melbourne: Can’t Do Tomorrow

CDT The Facility - photo by Alex Jovanovic_Artist Mayonaize and CamscaleThe first of its kind in Melbourne, Can’t Do Tomorrow is a celebration of urban art and contemporary culture in one of the most iconic underground spaces in Australia: The Facility, Kensington in February 2020.

Everything at the summer festival is designed for people who want to immerse themselves in a new way of consuming, or being consumed by, art. Feast your eyes, gorge your stomach, shimmy to live music, play intellectual ping pong, snort espresso martinis and salute the scene’s most smouldering talent.

Can’t Do Tomorrow will transform The Facility into an outlandish Eden populated by a crowd more hedonistic than a 90s warehouse rave. More than 100 artists, galleries, crews and collectives will descend on The Facility to display and sell work in urban art disciplines as varied as: painting, murals, photography, stencil, sculpture, video, illustration and epic immersive installations.

Founded by Director of The Facility, Kent Johnston, the festival has been a long time coming. “I’m not an expert in the urban art scene but I have always loved it!” he says. I’ve questioned why Melbourne hasn’t had a large-scale celebration of its talent and my guess is there’s never been the space.”

“I’m lucky enough to work at The Facility every day – this incredible old wool store smack bang in the middle of the city. It’s been the epicentre for Melbourne’s artists for decades. Each day, hundreds of people pass it on their way to and from work by train but have never seen inside. Now’s your chance,” says Johnston.

Headed by Festival Director, arts and event producer Zoe Paulsen, Can’t Do Tomorrow is set to appeal to both the experienced urban art enthusiast as well as the novices among us. “We are serious about creating a community that encourages the urban and street art movement, giving it the recognition it deserves,” she says. “We want to join the industry in advocating for the scene and inspire and invest in a new generation of talent.”

“This is the right time for urban art to reach a broader Melbourne audience. Coinciding with NGV summer exhibitions – KAWS, Companionship in the Age of Loneliness and the world premiere of Keith Haring | Jean-Michel Basquiat, Crossing Lines – Can’t Do Tomorrow will play a lead role in further positioning the city as the urban art capital of Australia,” says Paulsen.

The festival will profile artists in three exhibitions sectors, curated by industry heavyweight Toby Benador, Director of Just Another Agency. Benador – who is known to push the boundaries and break the rules, says: “I am honoured to be a part of a concept that celebrates and encompasses art and creativity on so many different levels. This festival is an incredible way of pushing boundaries, showcasing a range of creatives along with the incredible talent Melbourne has access to.”

UNLEASH: 80 independent artists from the scene will be showcasing and selling work across disciplines as diverse as painting, writing, video, sculpture, installation, prints and stencil design.

UNLOCK: showcases a number of established galleries and collectives exhibiting new and historic works from the urban art movement, through solo shows and group exhibitions.

UNLIMITED: get set to tumble down the rabbit hole into this immersive section, where dark dreamscapes and whimsical wonderlands lie in wait. It will show a series of fantastic environments, awe-inspiring installations and site-specific murals created by some of the biggest names in the underground urban arts scene, including: Alex Lehours, Ben Frost, Callum Preston, Georgie Seccull, Kaff-eine and Michael Peck.

As well as art, Can’t Do Tomorrow will be raising a glass to Australia’s urban underground through a dynamic program of live music, workshops, performance and talks – full program to be announced November 2019.

Can’t Do Tomorrow takes place at The Facility, Kensington: 20 – 29 February 2020. Artist submissions are no open and close on 1 September 2019. For more information, visit: www.cantdotomorrow.com for details.

Image: The Facility – photo by Alex Jovanovic / Artist – Mayonaize and Camscale