The last of the summer wine is drunk, but this city isn’t slowing down. Here’s a few things to while away the hours in Melbourne as Autumn rolls in…
#1 Golden Plains
The kid sister of the Meredith Music Festival is all grown up, celebrating ten flawless years in 2016. Ask a local – Golden Plains is without doubt Melbourne’s best camping festival, with just one stage in a shady supernatural amphitheatre, two rocking bars and a fine array of food trucks. The music is also off the hook this year, with punk rock trio Sleater-Kinney leading the charge, power noise from Buzzcocks and Violent Femmes, nostalgic indie from Built to Spill and funky hip hop from Madlib collaborator Freddie Gibbs, plus many more. Without a doubt, the biggest drawcard is Eddie Current Suppression Ring – hometown heroes reunited for one truly golden weekend from March 11 to 13.
#2 Sydney Road Street Party
The community vibes run thick and fast at the Sydney Road Street Party, the centrepiece of the Brunswick Music Festival. With ten stages spread across an 800-metre stretch of road, visitors can catch literally dozens of musicians playing a full deck of musical genres, from funk to folk artists, reggae to hip hop, world music to country. Add street food, craft markets and community demos, and you’ve got one mighty nice day in the sun. It goes down Sunday March 6 from 12pm to 7pm.
#3 Friday Nights at NGV
If you haven’t checked out the Andy Warhol / Ai Wei Wei exhibition at the NGV, you need to remedy the situation immediately. Visit on a Friday night in March and in addition to a shimmering stack of bike frames and a hall of silvery balloons, you’ll see the best live music Australia has to offer. Local act Pearls are scheduled to play on Friday March 4, with Xylouris White on stage the following week. On Friday March 18, the inimitable Bertie Blackman is up, rocking the great hall of the NGV with her punk pop electro style.
#4 Picnic at Hanging Rock at The Malthouse
One of Melbourne’s most-acclaimed theatre companies, Malthouse is way out on the cutting edge. Their latest production takes an Australian classic and reinterprets it for the stage – the story of a bunch of wistful, virginal schoolgirls at the turn of the 20th century who disappear in the murky crevices of an ancient volcanic rock. The play was written by Tom Wright and stars a bevvy of up-and-coming Australian actresses, including Amber McMahon from North By Northwest.
#5 Melbourne Burger Invitational at Welcome to Thornbury
Presented as part of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, the Burger Invitational is the Mecca for beef-eating, bun-loving folks. Seven star players in the Melbourne burger scene – 8bit, 1090 Burger, Beatbox Kitchen, Dude Food Man, Easey’s and Mr Burger – will gather for an evening of food samples and beer, with dessert provided by the wickedly awesome Gelato Messina. The Invitational happens on Tuesday 8 and Wednesday 9 March and your ticket gives you open access to the burgers, ice cream and a pint of Melbourne Bitter.
#6 Jurassic World: The Exhibition
Some utter genius at the Melbourne Museum decided the best way for us to appreciate the dinosaurs is to have lifelike versions of them roar in our faces. Based on Spielberg’s classic film, Jurassic World: The Exhibition is an immersive experience where visitor travel to Isla Nublar and experience scenes straight out of the movie, including encounters with a towering Brachiosaurus and the vicious Tyrannosaurus rex. Like Jeff Goldblum says, “It’s gonna be just like taking a walk in the woods… 65 million years ago.”
#7 Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Anniversaries galore! The Comedy Festival is celebrating 30 years of laughs this year, plus the honour of being one of the world’s top three comedy events, up there with Edinburgh and Montreal. There are 535 shows this year across 121 venues, including awesome locals like Celia Pacquola, Hannah Gadsby, Judith Lucy, Fiona O’Loughlin, Felicity Ward, Sammy J & Randy and Tripod. Swinging in from overseas are Ross Noble, Paul Foot, David O’Doherty and Stephen K Amos – all much-loved and familiar faces – while fresh meat from the international circuit includes Bridget Everett (Inside Amy Schumer), Hall Cruttenden (Mock the Week) and Larry Dean (for best newcomer award at the 2015 Edinburgh Comedy Festival).
(Lead image: Brunswick Music Festival/Facebook)
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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.