Melbourne in February is alive with activity and, despite the unpredictable summer weather, the show always goes on. Here’s the seven best things to find yourself at in Melbourne this month.
#1 A domino effect
The mother of all art installations is coming to Melbourne on Saturday February 6. Presented by Arts Centre Melbourne and UK performance art company State House Opera, Dominoes is a kinetic sculpture and community project that will see 7000 white breezeblocks tracing a two-kilometre path around the Melbourne CBD. More than 300 volunteers will help build the trail and guard the blocks for the grand finale – an epic tumbling river of giant dominoes.
#2 Party for 12 hours at White Night
Australia’s version of Nuit Blanche, White Night, takes place in Melbourne – a spectacular one-night arts and music festival than runs from 7pm until 7am, taking in all the nooks and crannies of the city. The free music program includes Robert Forster of The Go-Betweens, Harvey Sutherland, Emma Donovan and the Putbacks and dozens more. Highlights from the art and installation program include a visual art and music takeover of Riverside Skate Park; graffiti, beats and performance art in Hosier Lane; a burlesque/fashion show at the Old Melbourne Gaol; a beautiful installation of luminous dress sculptures in Queen Victoria Gardens; and an all-night dance marathon at Birrarung Marr. This is just scraping the tip of the iceberg, mind you – White Night runs wide and deep, and well past dawn.
#3 Courtyard Cantina
On Fridays in February, the Courtyard behind the Immigration Museum becomes a pumping hub of worldly eats and entertainment. With music from soulful acts like Cocoa Noire, Miss Goldie and CC:Disco, and food from Mankoushe, Cornutopia, Burn City Smokers and El Alamo, the Courtyard Cantina is a sunny excuse for after work drinks. Check the program for special events like the Tiki Time Cocktail Tasting, the Fashion Festival walk-off and a live broadcast from Melbourne’s own PBSfm.
#4 ROC out
The ROC Race is a ‘Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge’ inspired by Wipeout – a titanic inflatable obstacle course at Flemington Racecourse, designed for the fearless, both young and old. Slip, slide and tumble your way through the Foam of Fury, past The Sweeper and the Wrecking Balls, down The Hippo, Cool Runnings and The Drop. Carpe diem! Take no prisoners! And be prepared to look like a total goof.
#5 Head to Australia’s biggest music festival
Australia is lousy with summer festivals right now, but St Kilda Festival is a unique beast. Set on the beautiful St Kilda foreshore, the festival is completely free and crazy popular. Expect up to 400,000 people to turn out for a day of music across seven main stages, with performances from Client Liaison, The Bombay Royale, The Beards, Bad//Dreems and more. Being a community festival at heart, there are tons of cute and random events on offer, like ‘bubble’ soccer and bocca on the beach, disco yoga and free dance classes. Be warned – public transport is the only way in and out. It all goes down on Sunday February 14.
#6 Make passata like an Italian
Passata is the blood to the Italian culture’s veins. Passata is made on Tomato Day – a day made famous by Looking For Alibrandi where Italian families join together celebrate the mighty tomato plant with a whole lot of cooking, squashing and bottling. Now you too can make passata like an Italian at Melbourne’s Tomato Festival, happening at Edendale Community Farm in Eltham, on February 21. May the sauce be with you.
#7 Watch a movie at the ‘G
There are endless places to watch cinemas under the stars this summer, but none so grand as the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Plonk your butt down on the hallowed turf of AFL legends and Test Match stars, transformed into the biggest outdoor cinema this city has to offer. Cinema at the ‘G runs for just two nights – 12 and 13 February – with Million Dollar Arm and The Martian on the bill.
(Lead image: John Gollings/White Night Melbourne)
Simone Ubaldi is a ghostwriter, music journalist, film critic and frequent flyer. She has written for The Age, The Monthly, triple j Mag, Paper Sea, Faster Louder and various other publications, and appeared on ABC Radio National, triple j and Melbourne's 3RRR FM. She has co-authored four books, including memoirs of Bon Scott and Mark 'Chopper' Read, and she stashes a lot of her writing here.