Melbourne is the ideal city in Australia to go event-hopping since its annual calendar attracts hundreds of hordes of tourists from all over the world. This year is also peppered with celebrations that aren't quite as flashy but nevertheless warrant mention. Every month in Melbourne, you may attend a major festival celebrating arts, music, comedy, cinema, fashion, culture, community, spirituality, gastronomy, or design.
Each one attracts a diverse crowd of young people, middle-aged adults, and families with diverse income levels to its free and ticketed performances of both domestic and international talent. These are the most well-attended and widely-recognized festivals to allow you to make sense of the year's worth of celebrations and plan your schedule accordingly. There's bound to be something for everyone to enjoy there in city ranked highest in quality of life around the globe.
FAQs About Melbourne Festivals
Over 200 such events are located in Melbourne's network of restaurants, eateries, event halls, rooftops, basements and gardens.
White Night Melbourne is an annual light festival held in the city's CBD. The city is transformed through installation, lighting, exhibitions, street performances, film, music, dance and interactive activities throughout Melbourne's streets, laneways, public spaces and gardens.
Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world.
Halloween is celebrated on October 31, and Halloween 2021 will occur on Sunday, October 31. The tradition originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts.
The Food and Wine Festival adds numerous kiosks or booths around the World Showcase that sample food and drinks from their respective country or region. Here is a great resource showing the menus and linking to pictures of each booth and food items from last year to give you an idea about offerings, sizes, and costs.
Australian Open In Melbourne
For two weeks in January, Melbourne hosts the tennis world's most exciting players for the Australian Open. One of the largest athletic events in Australia draws more than 550,000 fans. Roger Federer refers to the Grand Prix tennis competition as "the happy slam," so now is a great time to check out the action on the floor and learn more about the chill vibes of Melbourne's urban culture. Participate in the city's pulsating atmosphere by attending one of the many festive beer gardens, pubs, or live music events where you can watch the games on giant screens.
The Australian Open is the only one of four Grand Slam tournament held annually, and it draws top players from all over the world to compete for the coveted crown. Played at Melbourne Park over 14 days, The atmosphere is festive and exciting, with music events and performances. The Yarra River banks at Birrarung Marr will be dotted with food vendors and restaurants, and there will be exhibition matches, a giant screen built up outdoors for people to watch live games on the lawns, and activities for youngsters.
Chinese New Year
Melbourne will come alive with vibrant festivities, featuring dazzling light shows, fireworks, live music, Dragon Boat races, Tai Chi demonstrations, and free food samples. In addition, Queensbridge Square hosts a stunning New Year's Eve party and countdown. All walks of life are encouraged to participate in this shared cultural event.
Dependent on the lunar calendar, the Chinese New Year might fall in either January or February. It doesn't matter what month it is, because it is always one of the most widely celebrated celebrations in the globe.
While Melbourne is one of the top cities in the world to celebrate this joyous day, everyone can still have a good time. Chinatown, Docklands, Union Square, the Crown Entertainment Complex, and Queen Victoria Market are the hubs of city life. Richmond, Clifton Waverly, Boxhill, Sunshine, and Footscray are just some of the suburbs where festivities are taking place.
Family-friendly activities include food markets, cookery demos, visual art and light displays, cultural events, craft clinics, lion and tiger dances, store blessings via lion dance, parades, roving entertainment, and fireworks. Learn more about the schedule and locations by checking out the website.
The arts, culture, and community of Melbourne's LGBTQ+ population are honoured at this annual festival. The Midsumma Festival is Emma's biggest gay and lesbian festival, and it spans three weeks, from semi to early February. More than 300 people from all throughout the city attend the shows each week.
Art displays, art installations, live bands, themed dressing competitions, and arts and crafts clinics, parties, and perhaps even sailing lessons are just a few of the ticketed and free events you can look forwards to. The Pride March is a major event, and people dress up in feathered costumes, sequinned garments, and leather accessories to celebrate. To learn more about the schedule, locations, and purchasing tickets, check out the website.
Get yourself to Kings Domain, where you may experience Latin America through its music, culture, art, flavours, and passion. A variety of Latin American musical styles, such as samba, tango, salsa, and cumbia, will be performed. The event will include a fully stocked bar selling cocktails and a variety of drinks, while food vendors will offer a wide selection of authentic street food from over Latin America.
Lonsdale Street Festival
Melbourne is home to one of the largest Greek groups of Greeks living abroad (the diaspora). So it is only natural that it would also be the site of an annual Greek celebration. The Cumberland Street Festival has been held in February and is Melbourne's largest Greek street celebration. Festival goers may enjoy a weekend featuring Greek music, dance, and food in the historic Greek Precinct.
Traditional Greek performances, live foreign and local theatre, food vendors, and the Loukoumadomania eating contest will give you and your family a taste of Greece. For the little ones, there are carnival rides, face painters, and balloon artists. The best part about the festival that shuts down Lonsdale Street is that it's totally free.
Lonsdale Road between Swanston and Russell is the site of an annual Greek cultural festival. Over the course of the weekend, there will be many stages featuring free performances, pop-up bars serving Greek local delicacies, cooking demonstrations, artisan booths, dance classes, and activities for kids.
Japanese Summer Festival
A colourful flavour of Japan is presented at this family-friendly event at Federation Square, complete with spectacular cultural exhibitions. Indulge in tasty treats, learn a new skill like origami, or hit the dance floor with friends. Entertainment and martial arts demonstrations take place on the main stage.
Remember when a line of red-clad women marched down the street carrying a giant M for "Moomba"? The customary Monday street procession is but one of the highlights of Edinburgh's most renowned event. In addition to the parade, Magpie Rally upon that Yarra River, Moomba Grand waterskiing championship, carnival in Alexandra Garden, live music programme, and fireworks at night, Moomba is well-known for being held yearly during the Labour Monday long weekend in March. It's the biggest gathering of its kind in the Australia and the longest-running in Melbourne. The best part is that attendance at these events is entirely gratis. Learn more about the schedule and locations by checking out the website.
Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival
In March, the largest consumer fashion event in Australia lands in Melbourne, about 400,000 international and domestic visitors. Experience over 100 of Australia's leading, up-and-coming, and even young Local designers in a carefully chosen programme of catwalk shows, retail parties, beauty clinics, live entertainment, and more. The Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival Moreover, it's a cultural show that explores the intersections of modern art, design, film, and literature. In order to learn more about the event's schedule, designers, locations, and how to purchase tickets, please go to the website.
Melbourne Food & Wine Festival
There are hundreds of exciting restaurants and wine bars where you may experience and celebrate cuisines from all over the world events staged in Melbourne and throughout Victoria.
The World's Longest Lunch is the highlight of the festival, which also includes wine tasting, high tea, meals from celebrity chefs, cooking classes, and demos.
From march to early April, Victoria becomes a world-class dining destination because to its expansive programme of over 300 food and beverages festivals across the state, which began as a small programme with only 12 events in 1993. Many of Melbourne's restaurants, cafes, event spaces, roofs, basements, and gardens play host to some of the city's more than 200 similar gatherings. Our devoted and talented chefs, winemakers, artisanal producers, and farmers deserve all the credit in the world around Melbourne, it is all possible.
No matter how serious or casual your interest in food may be, you're sure to find something to your liking at this premier culinary festival. Attendees travel from all over the country and the world to sample seasonal fare, chat with the festival's featured chefs and producers, and pick up helpful advice at informative master classes. In addition, several of the best restaurants in town are offering discounts and specials for festival-goers only. Simply said, these 10 days will be the most memorable of your life food and wine experiences. For locations and discounts, please visit the website.
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
The Melbourne International Film Festival is unlike anything you've seen at Spleen Bar or Quick Bites. It's one of the largest in the world, and it's Australia's national comedy festival. Beginning with just 56 concerts, we've grown to provide well over 500 annually.
Melbourne's three-week long live stand-up festival attracts a huge number of local and interstate tourists because to the excellent cast of foreign and local comedians. Due to its immense success, the event has expanded into a national roadshow. Over eighty cities around the region have been graced with the hilarity of the troupe's touring comedy show. Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore are among the worldwide locations where the festival is now held. For information about upcoming performances, as well as venue and ticketing information, please visit the website.
Melbourne, Australia, is the comedy capital of Australia, and this festival is one of the largest in the world. There will be a multitude of different types of entertainment, including stand-up comedians, theatrical and cabaret performances, events geared towards children, street performances, movies, and art exhibitions. Melbourne's Town Hall becomes the festival's central hub, with other shows at locations spread throughout the city and its surrounding suburbs.
Melbourne Queer Film Festival
The Melbourne LGBT Film Festival is the largest and longest-running queer film event in Australia. In addition, it is one of Melbourne's most well-attended yearly art exhibitions. The curated programme includes some of the most recent queer features, shorts, and docs from nations all over the world, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands, Russia, the Philippines, Canada, Guatemala, Senegal, and Australia. Conversations with the directors, international talent on panels, and online chats. In most cases, the movies will be shown at ACMI, Kino Cinema, and Cinema Nova. Learn more about the movie and purchase tickets online.
Good Beer Week
It's Good Beer Week, a time to toast the many merits of beer. Multiple hundreds events at various venues around the city of Melbourne and the state of Victoria for the duration of this festival, exhibiting some of the top brewers from around the world. Savour the delicious cuisine, refreshing drinks, lively music, and entertaining company.
Melbourne Knowledge Week
Melbourne Knowledge Week is held annually in May to promote Melbourne's vision of becoming a knowledge metropolis and to showcase the sector's most forward-thinking ideas and individuals. It's a chance for locals and tourists alike to get inspired by the innovative spirit and cutting-edge technologies that are shaping Melbourne's future.
More than sixty events, both free and ticketed, are spread out over the city for you and your loved ones to enjoy. The festival also features workshops , exhibitions that highlight developments in technology, healthcare, the arts, civic engagement, and urban planning and design. Dates, specific programmes, locations, and ticket sales may all be found online.
Central Melbourne hosts an annual festival celebrating the arts, music, and ritual.
Melbourne International Jazz Festival
Jazz greats from all over the world, both local and visiting, perform in Melbourne's streets, music halls, clubs, restaurants, and galleries. There are several free events and shows suitable for children in addition to the main attractions. The festival's goal is to establish Melbourne as a major jazz centre.
Concert halls, nightclubs, restaurants, and galleries all throughout Australia regularly host performers from all over the world venues and outdoor venues each year when the Melbourne A world-class jazz festival is coming to town. For one week every June since 1998, this festival has turned the area into a global mega jazz venue. Over a hundred of the best jazz artists and bands in the world will be performing for free and for a little fee on the schedule. The festival not only took place in the city proper, at spots like Hamer Hall, Blackburn's Lane Jazz Club, and Coopers Malthouse, but also in the nearby suburb of Footscray. Dates, times, locations, and ticket information may all be found online.
Open House Melbourne
Open House Melbourne is a winter weekend celebration where over 150 buildings, houses, and venues in central Melbourne and its suburbs open their doors to the public for free, guided tours. Churches, schools, universities, city halls, theatres, libraries, museums, salons, colleges, government buildings, labs, residential towers, and historic mansions are all open to the public for tours.
Melbourne International Film Festival
The best new films both Australia and around the world will be screened at this 18-day festival, which will take place at various locations across the city. In addition to screenings, there are panels, discussions, and acting lessons.
The Melbourne International Film Festival is Australia's most popular important summer movie festival Several of the largest festivals of its kind, it has been held in Melbourne since 1952. Over the course of three weeks, you and your family can see dozens of films from across the world, including arthouse flicks, feature films, documentaries, and shorts. Family and kid-friendly movies are also available. Awards are being given out for the best shorts, features, and documentaries that were entered into the festival. Films are shown at the Forum Cinema, Victorian Arts Council, ACMI, Kino Cinemas, and the Village Arts Theatrette, among others, all across the city. Dates, times, and locations of screenings can be found online.
To honour the day in 1835 when people disembarked on the Enterprize and landed on the north side of the Yarra River, Melbourne hosts its "Birthday Bash" on August 30. Many activities are planned, including a formal flag-raising ceremony, a music concert, a regatta on Victoria Harbour, and a fireworks display Melbourne Day lunch.
Melbourne Writers Festival
Melbourne hosts an annual literature festival in August and September. There's more than just book lovers at the Melbourne Writers Festival. The magazine encourages readers to engage with and think critically about pressing issues in a wide range of fields, including popular culture, sciences, gender, travel, and the political sphere. Stories, workshops, panels, live performances, art, and music from hundreds of authors, journalists, and bloggers representing Australia and around the world are just some of the activities available to you and your loved ones during this annual event. Although admission to most events requires a ticket, numerous activities are offered at no cost to both adults and children. Get your fill of stories and authors at the Melbourne Writers Festival. Dates, activities, and locations can be found online.
Melbourne Fringe Festival
Established and up-and-coming independent performers alike share their work during the annual Melbourne Fringe Festival. The wide variety of creative forms showcased includes everything from drama and dance to cabaret and the visual arts, and even comedy and music. The festival takes place at numerous locations throughout the city.
Each year, the London Fringe Festival attracts more than 6,000 nationally and internationally artists who showcase their most innovative and cutting-edge works in more than 150 locations all across the city. From September through October, Victoria hosts the city's largest independent art festival. Works from the worlds of theatre, dance, cabaret, song, visual art, comedy, and the circus are all available for you and your loved ones to enjoy. You'll be spoiled for choice with over 400 paid and unpaid performances, exhibitions, movie premieres, and other activities. Tickets, locations, and schedules are all available online.
Australia's premier international arts festival and one of the world's largest multi-arts festivals takes place each year in Melbourne. Dance, classical and modern music, theatre, filmmaking, visual art, and even a circus all find a home at the Melbourne Festival every October. Arts Centre, Australia Recital Centre, ACMI, Seat Of government, Federation Square, and Melbourne Town Hall are just some of the venues where you and your family can enjoy performances by established and up-and-coming Australian and international companies and artists, both for free and for a small fee. In addition to the free events, there will be meal discounts for season tickets and an educational programme for elementary and high school children. To learn more about upcoming shows, locations, and how to purchase tickets, go online.
Federation Square will host a Polish cultural celebration in honour of Melbourne's rich cultural landscape. Stalls selling Polish food and merchandise, live music and dancing performances, craft demonstration, and other fun activities.
Melbourne Music Week
Featuring over 200 international and domestic musicians over the course of eight days, it is among the largest music festivals in the country. Multimedia, video, and visual arts for both adults and children are also featured. In excess of 60 venues will be hosting hundreds of concerts where you can see up-and-coming artists and help them promote their new albums. Most of them don't cost anything either. Details such as the schedule, location, and how to purchase tickets can all be found online.
To celebrate the holiday season, Melbourne offers over twenty events and activities for families to enjoy. Myer's Christmas Displays, multimedia projections on The Town Hall, photographs with Santa, the enormous Christmas in Christmas Square, and lights along Broad Street Mall are all hallmarks of the annual Melbourne Christmas Festival. Celebrations begin in late December and continue throughout the month of December. Carols by Candlelight, hosted by Vision Australia and held at the Sidney Kse Music Bowl, is a popular tradition for the holiday season.
African Music & Cultural Festival
Federation Square hosts Australia's largest yearly African event. At this no-cost event, you may take in live performances of African music and dance, as well as exhibits of African art and apparel, and sample delicious traditional African fare.
New Year's Eve
Melbourne's New Year's Eve events are second only to Sydney's, which has traditionally been the largest in Australia. Federation Square, Embankment, South Wharf, Docklands, and the Central Business District are just few of the sites hosting parties and events with a wide range of themes and price points. Additionally, they flow over into neighbouring areas such as Fitzroy, South Yarra, St. Kilda, Richmond, and Port Melbourne. Fireworks displays, both family-friendly and late-night, are among Melbourne's most popular free events, drawing in excess of 600,000 people each year. The website has further details about the times, dates, and locations of the activities.
In January, Melbourne plays host to the most exciting tennis players in the world for two weeks at the Australian Open. More than 550,000 people show up to watch one of Australia's biggest sporting events. Celebrations of the Chinese New Year will be a riot of colour and sound, complete with light shows, fireworks, and musical performances. Emma's largest gay and lesbian event is the Midsumma Festival. For a whole weekend, Lonsdale Street was closed for Greek street celebrations.
The Japanese Summer Festival fills Federation Square with the vibrant colours of Japan. In the months of March and April, Victoria hosts more than 300 food and drink festivals, turning it into a mecca for foodies from all over the world. Airlines that are based in Virgin Australia Australia's premier consumer fashion event takes place during the Melbourne Fashion Festival. The festival's highlight is the World's Longest Lunch, but there will also be wine sampling, high tea, and dishes prepared by celebrity chefs. This festival is one of the largest in the world, and Melbourne is known as the comedy capital of Australia.
In contrast to Spleen Bar and Quick Bites, the Melbourne International Film Festival provides an experience unlike any other. Festival-goers can take advantage of deals and discounts at a number of the city's finest eateries. Each year in May, Melbourne hosts Knowledge Week to further the city's goal of becoming a "knowledge metropolis." The Melbourne Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Film Festival has been running longer than any other queer film event in Australia. Every year, in the heart of Melbourne, there is a festival honouring the visual and performing arts, as well as ritual and ceremony.
During the summer, Melbourne hosts one of the world's most prestigious film festivals: the Melbourne International Film Festival. More than 150 buildings, homes, and venues in the heart of Melbourne and its suburbs open their doors to the public for free, guided tours as part of Open House Melbourne, an annual winter weekend event. Melbourne Day commemorates the arrival of settlers on the northern bank of the Yarra River on August 24, 1835. Each year in August and September, Melbourne holds a literature festival. At each year's Melbourne Fringe Festival, both well-known and upcoming artists share the stage.
The Melbourne Festival, the city's largest free arts event, takes place in Victoria every year. Over 400 shows, both free and for a nominal cost, are presented each year. There are more than twenty Christmas-themed events and activities to choose from in Melbourne. Festival highlights include a Polish cultural celebration and an African music festival. More than 600,000 people celebrated New Year's Eve at free events in the city last year, making it the second most popular New Year's Eve destination in Australia behind Sydney.
- Open Championship of Australia, Melbourne, January/February In January, Melbourne plays host to the most exciting tennis players in the world for two weeks at the Australian Open.
- Chinese New Year can occur in either January or February, depending on when the lunar calendar resets.
- Emma's largest gay and lesbian celebration, the Midsumma Festival, takes place over the course of three weeks, from late January to early February.
- Each year in February, Melbourne has its largest Greek street festival, the Cumberland Street Festival.
- From the end of March through the beginning of April, Victoria transforms into a mecca for foodies everywhere thanks to its massive programme of over 300 food and beverages festivals across the state.
- Your cuisine and wine experiences throughout these 10 days will be unparalleled in your lifetime.
- It's the largest comedy festival in Australia and one of the biggest in the world.
- Huge crowds of locals and visitors from other states flock to Melbourne every year for the three-week long live stand-up festival due to the high calibre of the comedians performing both internationally and locally.
- As one of the largest comedy festivals in the world, it is fitting that it takes place in Melbourne, Australia, the country's unofficial comedy capital.
- The Melbourne Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Film Festival has been running longer than any other queer film event in Australia.
- The calendar has over a hundred of the world's finest jazz musicians and bands performing for free or a little price.
- July/August Film Festival of the International Kind in Melbourne This 18-day festival will take place at various venues throughout the city, screening the best new films from Australia and throughout the world.
- Each year in August and September, Melbourne holds a literature festival.
- The Melbourne Writers Festival attracts a diverse audience each year.
- At the Melbourne Writers Festival, you may read all you want by your favourite authors and hear them read their work.
- During the Christmas season, family can choose from over twenty different events and activities in Melbourne.