Fes­ti­val Fun in Mel­bourne

Vic­to­ri­ans’ love of a fes­ti­val is leg­endary and March is most def­i­nitely fes­ti­val month. By Jenny Burns

Where Melbourne - - Contents -

MEL­BOURNE IS HOST­ING nu­mer­ous iconic events this month while there are also plenty of fun fes­ti­vals around coun­try Vic­to­ria.

These fes­ti­vals bring to the fore the State’s de­li­cious food and wine, stylish fash­ion, flo­ral de­lights, great sport­ing cre­den­tials and love of a good laugh.

Ma­jor Mel­bourne fes­ti­vals in­clude Vir­gin Aus­tralia Mel­bourne Fash­ion Fes­ti­val, Moomba, Mel­bourne Food and Wine Fes­ti­val, Mel­bourne In­ter­na­tional Flower and Gar­den Show, The For­mula 1 2018 Rolex Aus­tralian Grand Prix and the Mel­bourne In­ter­na­tional Com­edy Fes­ti­val. Vir­gin Aus­tralia Mel­bourne Fash­ion Fes­ti­val (vamff.com.au), sched­uled from 1 to 18 March, is an an­nual cel­e­bra­tion of fash­ion, arts, ideas and creative en­deav­ours. The fes­ti­val in­cludes world- class run­way shows, state-of-the-art pro­duc­tions, beauty work­shops, re­tail events, in­dus­try sem­i­nars, fo­rums and live en­ter­tain­ment.

Over 100 of Aus­tralia’s es­tab­lished and emerg­ing de­sign­ers are tak­ing part in this year’s fes­ti­val. They in­clude first time par­tic­i­pants Hansen and Gre­tel, Arns­dorf, Chris Ran Lin, P.E Na­tion, Nice Martin, Kaliver, ATOIR and El­li­att.

High­lights in­clude around 50 run­way events while a fash­ion party fea­tur­ing food and fash­ion is be­ing held at the Plaza, lo­cated within the Royal Ex­hi­bi­tion Build­ing.

The Eat.drink.fash­ion pro­gram matches of­fi­cial events tak­ing place within the city with top bars and restau­rants nearby to cre­ate the per­fect fash­ion night out.

The Fes­ti­val’s Ideas and Arts pro­grams high­light in­no­va­tion, a theme which is ex­plored through a fo­cus on sus­tain­abil­ity and eth­i­cal fash­ion.

Moomba (mel­bourne.vic.gov.au/ moomba) has been a cel­e­brated part of Mel­bourne’s events cal­en­dar for 64 years and this year’s fes­ti­val, be­ing held from 9 to 12 March, prom­ises to be just as pop­u­lar. High­lights in­clude free daily ac­tiv­i­ties, work­shops and per­for­mances in­clud­ing live mu­sic shows. There are cul­tural in­stal­la­tions, rov­ing en­ter­tain­ment, a nightly car­ni­val, fam­ily movies and fire­works.

Moomba Fes­ti­val’s Skate Park is hold­ing daily scoot, skate and BMX clin­ics, demon­stra­tions and com­pe­ti­tions. The Moomba Masters Cham­pi­onship sees the best in­ter­na­tional wa­ter-skiers and wake­board­ers bat­tle it out in a se­ries of com­pe­ti­tions on the Yarra.

Ath­letes are com­pet­ing across five cat­e­gories—slalom, tricks, jump, night jump and wake­board­ing—to win the cov­eted Moomba Masters ti­tle.

Other fes­ti­val favourites in­clude the Bird­man Rally (11 March) which sees en­trants don­ning their most in­ven­tive home­made fly­ing con­trap­tions and soar­ing into the Yarra in the name of char­ity.

Around 2,000 peo­ple are par­tic­i­pat­ing in the 2018 Moomba Pa­rade (12 March). Com­mu­nity de­signed floats, cul­tural per­for­mance troupes, pro­fes­sional and am­a­teur dance groups and school par­tic­i­pants are weav­ing their way from Bird­wood Av­enue through the Kings Do­main park­land, fin­ish­ing at Queen Vic­to­ria Gar­dens.

The Mel­bourne Food and Wine Fes­ti­val (mel­bourne­foodand­wine.com.au), on from 16 to 25 March, shines a global spot­light on Vic­to­ria’s world-class food and wine in­dus­tries.

This year’s fes­ti­val fea­tures over 275 events around the State.

A num­ber of events in Mel­bourne are be­ing held at the Ho­tel Lin­drum. Here each night an in­ter­na­tional or in­ter­state guest chef is of­fer­ing his or her take on sus­tain­able eat­ing, over five cour­ses with matched wine from a mas­ter Mel­bourne som­me­lier.

Mel­bourne’s best som­me­liers and bar­tenders are cu­rat­ing a list of unique cock­tails and award-win­ning Vic­to­rian wines to match a bar menu crafted by chefs Matt Stone and Jo Bar­rett from lo­cal, sus­tain­able pro­duce.

Fes­ti­val go­ers can also stay at the ho­tel and feast on ho­tel break­fasts, mini bar and in-room din­ing menus de­signed by Stone and Bar­rett.

Other high­lights in­clude Bank of Mel­bourne World’s Long­est Lunch on 16 March which sees 1,700 din­ers sit down at a 500-me­tre table along the banks of the Maribyrnong River. Chefs Adam D’sylva (Tonka, Coda), Jerry Mai (An­nam, Pho Nom), and Kay-lene Tan (Tonka, Coda) are cre­at­ing a three-course meal for din­ers.

Twenty-one Re­gional World’s Long Lunches are be­ing held on the same day.

River Graze from 16 to 18 March sees the banks of the Yarra trans­formed into a food and wine lover’s play­ground for the an­nual event. Here you will dis­cover how New York City’s fa­mous Oddfel­lows Ice Cream Co uses Vic­to­rian pro­duce to cre­ate new flavours, visit the Food Truck Shop by the fa­ther of Mel­bourne’s food truck scene Raph Rashid and sam­ple many of Vic­to­ria’s best wines in the City Cel­lar wine gar­den.

Crawl ‘n’ Bite, sup­ported by Vic­to­ria Har­bour from 19 to 21 March, ex­plores Mel­bourne’s vi­brant din­ing scene. Hosted by a food and wine in­dus­try icon, a ‘crawl’ vis­its three of the city’s finest venues in one area in one night for a sig­na­ture dish and matched drink. Eleven op­tions are on of­fer cov­er­ing Mel­bourne’s CBD and sur­round­ing suburbs.

Other ma­jor events in­clude the Wine Pro­gram which sees wine matched with cheese and dumplings.

The Mel­bourne In­ter­na­tional Flower & Gar­den Show (melbflow­er­show.com.au), on at the Royal Ex­hi­bi­tion Build­ing and Carl­ton Gar­dens, Carl­ton from 21 to 25 March, is the South­ern Hemi­sphere’s largest horticultural event.

Now in its 23rd year, the show at­tracts a cross-sec­tion of flo­ral fa­nat­ics and gar­den­ing en­thu­si­asts—from home im­prove­ment, DIY and ren­o­va­tion buffs, to fam­i­lies ex­plor­ing creative Cubby Houses and en­joy­ing flo­ral face paint­ing for all ages.

The show is also ex­tremely pop­u­lar with young cre­atives and emerg­ing de­sign­ers look­ing to hone their skills and to learn from the na­tion’s fore­most flo­ral tal­ent.

High­lights in­clude the Show Gar­den com­pe­ti­tion which recog­nises ex­cel­lence across land­scape de­sign. En­trants this year in­clude in­ter­na­tional award-win­ning Ja­panese land­scape and gar­den de­signer Yo­suke Yamaguchi who has col­lab­o­rated with Vic­to­rian Ross Ue­ber­gang to cre­ate a gar­den that fuses ori­en­tal cul­ture and de­sign with Aus­tralian aes­thetic.

The Show Gar­dens are com­ple­mented by the Land­scape Vic­to­ria Bou­tique Gar­dens Com­pe­ti­tion where a se­lec­tion of five de­sign­ers are cre­at­ing a se­ries of in­ti­mate gar­den en­vi­ron­ments.

The en­tire in­te­rior of the Royal Ex­hi­bi­tion Build­ing is an ex­plo­sion of colour and scent, with pro­gram­ming span­ning two lev­els. High­lights in­clude the RMIT flo­ral fash­ion com­pe­ti­tion, flo­ral de­sign in­stal­la­tions from Aus­tralia’s fore­most flo­ral artists, live stu­dent de­sign com­pe­ti­tions, daily flo­ral work­shops, and a pro­gramme of horticultural and floristry in­dus­try ex­perts giv­ing in­sight­ful demon­stra­tions and Q&A ses­sions daily.

The For­mula 1 2018 Rolex Aus­tralian Grand Prix (grand­prix.com.au), from 22 to 25 March, is renowned for bring­ing to­gether the big­gest names in mo­tor­sport, in­ter­na­tional celebri­ties and prom­i­nent busi­ness lead­ers.

To­gether with the chance to see the best For­mula 1 driv­ers in ac­tion (in­clud­ing Aus­tralia’s own Daniel Ric­cia­rdo) there are plenty of other things to see and do around the Al­bert Park track.

Visit the Heineken Vil­lage on Satur­day and you’ll see the Black Eyed Peas DJ Set and sev­eral other mu­si­cal per­for­mances while feast­ing on food and wine and watch­ing all the on-track ac­tion on the su­per­screens. The Kids Sport­ing Zone in­cludes sport­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, live mu­sic and food. Fan stages and the Mel­bourne Walk give race-go­ers a chance to get up and close to their he­roes. The In­dus­try and In­no­va­tion Precinct high­lights Vic­to­ria’s con­tri­bu­tion to the au­to­mo­tive, de­fence, avi­a­tion and ad­vanced man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­tries. M-lane show­cases the best of Mel­bourne, set­ting up a laneway-like ex­pe­ri­ence and a culi­nary feast. To­gether with the For­mula 1 cars, race­go­ers can also see other ve­hi­cles rac­ing in­clud­ing Aus­tralian Su­per­cars.

The Mel­bourne In­ter­na­tional Com­edy Fes­ti­val (com­e­dyfes­ti­val.com. au/2018), which starts on 28 March, is one of the three largest com­edy fes­ti­vals in the world, along­side Ed­in­burgh Fes­ti­val Fringe and Mon­treal’s Just for Laughs. Es­tab­lished in 1987, the Fes­ti­val has grown to in­clude over 600 shows in 2018 with an enor­mous pro­gram of stand-up com­edy, cabaret, theatre, street per­for­mance, film, tele­vi­sion, ra­dio and vis­ual arts. Dur­ing the fes­ti­val the Mel­bourne Town Hall precinct is con­verted into a gi­ant com­edy hub and here you’ll find in­ter­na­tional and lo­cal com­edy acts per­form­ing in venues of all shapes and sizes.


Mel­bourne Food and Wine Fes­ti­val.

Vir­gin Aus­tralia Mel­bourne Fash­ion Fes­ti­val.

Mel­bourne In­ter­na­tional Com­edy Fes­ti­val. Photo: Jim Lee Photo.

Mel­bourne In­ter­na­tional Flower & Gar­den Show.

For­mula 1 2018 Rolex Aus­tralian Grand Prix. Photo: LAT Im­ages.

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