New Festival set to celebrate Melbourne’s love of Music

This October, a brand-new music festival is set to celebrate Melbourne as one of the world’s great music cities, with the first international acts announced and more local acts and events to come.

Minister for Creative Industries Steve Dimopoulos has announced the first taste of the inaugural Eighty-Six festival, which is set to run from 23 to 31 October, taking over venues along High Street, Northcote.

“Victoria is Australia’s home of live music and we are bringing the best international and local acts to Northcote for this one-of-a-kind music festival to showcase what we do best,” said Minister for Creative Industries, Steve Dimopoulos

The new festival has been named after the 86 tram route which runs along High St between Northcote and Preston, an area that is home to more live music venues than in any other street in Australia.

Across nine days and nights, The Eighty-Six will see live music events held in theatres, record stores, bars, restaurants, and bocce and bowls clubs that regularly present live music along the famed tram route.

The first international artists include notoriously wild Japanese punk rockers Otoboke Beaver, jazz performer Makaya McCraven, an Australian-exclusive live show from the American podcast How Long Gone and a three-night residency from indie rock heroes Built to Spill.

The Eighty-Six is backed by the Victorian Government’s On the Road Again – Metro, part of the $20 million Live Music Restart package, which has seen live music make a strong return across Melbourne and regional Victoria.

“The Eighty-Six is designed to create ideal conditions for music to thrive and be valued – today’s announcement is focused on internationals and is just a taste of what is to come. We are excited to share the full program, including a truly epic celebration of our local music ecosystem,” said The Eighty-Six Founder & Artistic Director, Woody McDonald.

Melbourne is renowned as Australia’s live music capital and one of the best places for live music anywhere. In 2019, live music contributed $2.55 billion to the state economy, and live music audiences topped 50 million.

Partnering with Darebin City Council, the festival will collaborate with a range of small local businesses to showcase the best local and international artists.

“The Eighty-Six celebrates Darebin’s exceptionally talented and creative arts community and supports the live music venues and retail and hospitality businesses that make our diverse and vibrant city so wonderful,” Mayor of Darebin City Council, Julie Williams.

The Eighty-Six will run from 23 to 31 October 2023 with more program announcements coming soon. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Otoboke Beaver – photo by Jumei Yamada