Top 11 things to do this Summer in Melbourne
Once again, Australia’s cultural capital delivers a stellar city-wide line-up this summer. And after the year we've had, we certainly deserve to enjoy some safe, physically distant fun. From ground-breaking exhibitions to alfresco cinemas and New year's Eve feasts, there’s plenty to explore.
Treat this as your guide to everything you need to do before the end of summer.
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The hotly anticipated NGV Triennial will return this summer, with the gallery announcing the dates for the second edition of the colossal exhibition. The NGV Triennial will run from December 19 to April 18, 2021, showcasing 86 thought-provoking, eye-widening works from more than 100 artists. The best part? It's free.
It's almost time to send off a wild year and with restrictions easing Melburnians are left wondering what to make of their New Year plans. Fireworks won't be going ahead, but that's OK, because you're all invited to take part in an even better way to celebrate. Melbourne city council, the Victorian government and Melbourne Food and Wine Festival have joined forces to bring the city’s streets to life with open-air dining. It's unlike anything we've ever seen before – during the New Year Street Feasts event we will be celebrating with our loved ones over an alfresco meal throughout the city and supporting businesses that have done it tough this year.
The District Docklands is getting a glow-up as it launches Imaginaria – a magical "future play experience". In layman's terms, Melbourne, you're getting a giant, glowing, otherworldy all-ages playground to explore this summer. Imaginaria will allow (let's be honest, event-starved) Melburnians to explore fantastic custom-built, interactive structures like a giant inflatable bubble, glowing light maze, and a "cosmic abyss". The whole installation features bespoke sound, light and even scents that are activated as guests explore the dreamscape.
Some people like to go for a swim on a warm summer evening – and then some people like to listen to symphonies. If you're the latter, then you're in luck, because the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is bringing back its free concerts at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl this summer – now in a socially distant way.
Head down to the Yarra for Juniperlooza: a summer gin festival celebrating the herbaceous spirit. After a stint down river at the Boatbuilders Yard, Juniperlooza is back where it started at Pilgrim, just below Fed Square. This year the festival will be an all-summer affair, with Juniperlooza running for the duration of the season. There will be 70 gin labels from thirty different producers available to taste, with Pilgrim running interactive talk and taste sessions for gin enthusiasts.
The NGV is bringing the largest ever exhibition of Tiwi art to Melbourne this November, showcasing 70 artists and nearly 300 works in Tiwi. The works presented in Tiwi date from 1911 right up to the present day, but don’t come expecting a chronological tour. Instead, the exhibition will present the works in the context of Tiwi art and culture, including their two primary cultural events: the pukumani (mourning) and kulama (coming of age) ceremonies.
Over the last 20 years, street artist Rone has cemented himself as one of Australia’s most successful street artists. The artist (real name Tyrone Wright) has carved himself a niche in the world of urban art by routinely taking over abandoned places and distressed spaces and filling them with large, despondent portraits of women. What you might not know is that Rone is from Geelong, and he’s returning there for his first survey exhibition from late February.
Photo 2020 – which was set to be the largest and most significant photography event in Australia – was just about to really get started when a certain something put the whole world on pause. However, the huge event was rescheduled, not cancelled, and will re-emerge as Photo 2021 from February 18 to March 7, 2021. Photo 2021 brings together free exhibitions and a massive public program to Melbourne and cities across Victoria. Works in the inaugural event are based around the central theme of ‘the truth’ and features photographers from around the world.
It’s hard to fully comprehend the impact that artist Mirka Mora had on Melbourne. The French-born artist emigrated to Melbourne in 1951 following the Holocaust, and quickly set about ingraining herself and her playful art within the city’s growing bohemian scene. There have been many exhibitions on Mora, but none quite like this. The Jewish Museum of Australia has announced that it will host Mirka: the most extensive survey of Mirka Mora ever.
To celebrate what we are hoping will be sunnier times ahead (both literally and figuratively), Fed Square is hosting an enchanting sound and light installation called Sky Castle. Sky Castle will be taking over Fed Square and transforming it with clusters of inflatable rainbow arches. The whimsical work is courtesy of art and technology company Eness, which has quite the history of creating dreamy public works (you might remember the Sonic Light Bubble the group presented at Fed Square during White Night 2017).
The Palace Cinemas franchise was started by the Zeccola brothers, who arrived in Melbourne in 1957 and opened cinemas for the purpose of screening Italian films to fellow migrants. In the late 1990s, Palace launched the Italian Film Festival as a showcase of the latest movies from the homeland. This year Melbourne will throw three (three!) opening night events across the city, at Palace Como, Westgarth and Balwyn. Each cinema will screen a different highlight film, plus guests receive a complimentary glass of Il Fiore prosecco and a gift bag.