Melbourne to deliver a bold new global festival

AAR Melbourne Festival Fire Gardens - photo by Sarah WalkerA spectacular new festival will redefine winter in Melbourne, with the Victorian Government bringing together ambitious and unique attractions to deliver Victoria’s sixth and only creative major events pillar.

Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley and Minister for Tourism and Major Events Martin Pakula have revealed plans for the new festival – which will celebrate Melbourne’s cultural, creative and culinary strengths.

“This bold new winter festival will build on Melbourne’s standing as a global cultural capital, showcasing our local artists and bringing our cultural arts institutions to life,” said Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley.

A new creative team will be charged with developing a diverse program of visual and performing arts, with large-scale takeovers of precincts filling our laneways and venues and celebrating Melbourne’s famed ‘after dark’ culture.

The festival will build on our renowned independent arts scene, having a strong focus on specially commissioned and world-first collaborations between local and international artists. The festival will improve access to cultural experiences for a greater range of Victorians with free and ticketed events, building on our strengths as a vibrant and diverse city.

Beginning with a transitional year in 2020, the festival will combine the long-running Melbourne International Arts Festival and White Night Melbourne Reimagined – creating an event that will sit with the world’s top festivals.

“The new festival will create more opportunities for local artists and creators, attract increased Victorian, interstate and international audiences and will project Melbourne’s cultural excellence to the world, said Melbourne International Arts Festival Chair, Tim Orton.

The new festival will bring Melbourne to life during the quieter winter months and support our bars, restaurants and hotels to be full year-round. It will also showcase regional Victoria with the announced White Night Bendigo in 2020 and Geelong in 2021.

“This new festival will showcase everything Melbourne has to offer on an international scale, boosting our economy and enticing more visitors from around the world while helping to keep our hotels, restaurants and cafes bustling in the quieter winter months,” said Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, Martin Pakula.

The festival will provide a boost to Victoria’s world-leading major events calendar – which contributes $1.8 billion to the Victorian economy each year – as well as increasing cultural tourism. The first winter festival will be staged in 2020 over several weeks, with exact timings to be finalised.

Image: Melbourne Festival Fire Gardens (2018) – photo by Sarah Walker