Few cities in the world can match Melbourne for the frequency, diversity or quality of its festivals. There are festivals almost every month, often several times a month, nearly always attracting marquee international performers and thousands of local fans who often book up to a year ahead for tickets to the main events.
Comedy Festival - “Did you know that Melbourne is the third funniest city in the world, at least for three and a half weeks each March/April?” asks Australian Stage. The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is next only to Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Montreal's Just for Laughs Festival.
Writers Festival - Every August Melbourne holds one of the country’s major literary festivals, and hundreds of times a year there are events at the city’s buzzy Wheeler Centre, where “there’s a hunger for talking about ideas.”
Melbourne Arts Festival - Melbourne audiences are braver than most, recounted Melbourne Festival director Jonathan Holloway after the 2016 festival in The Age.
Fringe Festival - "This is about freedom of artistic expression,” says The Age. “This is the moment where anyone – whoever they are, whatever they are – can participate. We find everyone a venue."
Spring Fashion Week - “Whether you’re a fashion enthusiast or new to the whole game, Melbourne Spring Fashion Week is certainly a spectacle that needs to be seen to be believed,” reports CBD News.
Melbourne International Film Festival - MIFF is an iconic Melbourne event … “a feast of cinematic delicacies from over 50 countries for seventeen days each winter, heavily garnished with a range of parties and special events that cast a celebratory mood over the city,” says Screen Australia.
Melbourne Queer Film Festival - "It doesn't have to be about education, or feeling good about yourself by seeing people of your own sexuality reflected on the screen,” observes The Sydney Morning Herald. “Sometimes it can just be about seeing great films.”
Melbourne Food and Wine Festival - Once a year, food and wine lovers in their thousands “indulge in more than 200 events that fill Melbourne's labyrinthine network of restaurants, laneways, lights-turned-down basements and dizzying rooftops as well as spilling into spectacular regional Victoria,” reports Visit Victoria.
White Night - On one hot night of the year – all night – White Night presents all manner of art forms, from dance to sculpture, to circus, reports The Sydney Morning Herald. And the biggest and most popular drawcards are those that transform everyday spaces with light. “Are the nearly half million who flock to the city for each year's event just moths to a flame? Is it something primal, harking back across the million or more years we've been using fire, and the strange combination of security and danger it still offers today?”
Music festivals: A comprehensive list of all festivals (Music Victoria), Guide to the top seven music festivals in and around Melbourne (We Are Explorers), Melbourne jazz festival (official site), A brief history of the Meredith Music Festival (video).