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Rising Festival Has Been Paused as Melbourne Enters a Seven-Day Lockdown

Organisers have cancelled all events for the next seven days, but a decision has yet to be made on the June 4–6 schedule.
By Libby Curran
June 02, 2021
By Libby Curran
June 02, 2021

UPDATE Wednesday, June 2: Rising organisers have announced today that the final three days of the festival — June 4, 5 and 6 — will also be cancelled. The news comes after the Victorian Government extended the state's snap lockdown by an extra week, pushing its end date until at least 11.59pm on Thursday, June 10. In a statement, the Rising team confirmed refunds will be issued for all events and reiterated that they would "continue to explore ways that audiences may be able to experience 2021 Rising activity into the future." A small selection of free, non-contact events will remain on show through Reconciliation Week, including Wandering Stars.


In the wake of Victoria's latest circuit-breaker lockdown, arts and culture festival Rising has hit pause, only a day after opening night. Rising's team announced the news via Instagram today, also confirming that refunds will be issued to attendees for any events that fall within Victoria's lockdown period.

The Victorian Government announced that the state would revert back to stage four restrictions from 11.59pm Thursday, May 27, in response to Melbourne's growing COVID-19 outbreak. The snap lockdown is expected to last seven days until 11.59pm on Thursday, June 3.

The timing is about as unfortunate as you can imagine for Rising organisers and artists. The multi-site festival kicked off last night, May 26, and was slated to deliver a jam-packed program of events across the next 12 days before wrapping up on Sunday, June 6. Instead, all festival events scheduled between 5pm on Thursday, May 27 and midnight on Thursday, June 3 will be cancelled.

As for Rising events scheduled for June 4, 5 and 6 — after the planned seven-day lockdown is expected to wrap up — further decisions will be made over the coming days.


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A post shared by RISING (

"We are working closely with all relevant stakeholders to ensure we achieve the optimal outcomes for all those involved with the festival — this includes exploring ways people may be able to experience Rising activity into the future," the Rising team said in a separate media statement.

The festival has been two years in the making and was set to feature over 750 Victorian artists across 133 different projects and events. Rising co-artistic directors Hannah Fox and Gideon Obarzanek called the situation 'devastating', but said they were buoyed by the resilience of those involved. "Together they created something that spoke to Melbourne; something beautiful and beguiling; something extraordinary, for extraordinary times," the pair said. "We could not be prouder."

All of Victoria will revert back to stage four restrictions from 11.59pm on Thursday, May 27 until the same time on Thursday, June 3. For more information about the rules, head to the Victorian Department of Health website. For the latest on Rising, see the festival's website.

Published on June 02, 2021 by Libby Curran


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