Twelve of the Best RISING 2024 Events That Will Help You Get Out of the House This Winter

RISING 2024's most-exciting events include an absurdist dinner party, a massive festival within the festival and a heap of different one-off parties.
Andrew Zuccala and Sarah Ward
Published on June 04, 2024

Twelve of the Best RISING 2024 Events That Will Help You Get Out of the House This Winter

RISING 2024's most-exciting events include an absurdist dinner party, a massive festival within the festival and a heap of different one-off parties.

Melbourne's annual winter festival RISING is back, taking over public spaces, theatres and galleries all around the city from Saturday, June 1–Sunday, June 16. All up, 116 events are running throughout the two weeks, featuring 651-plus artists. It's massive. And while it is great to have so much going on, deciding what to see can easily be overwhelming. Where do you begin?

That's where we come in. We've rounded up a bunch of Melbourne's best RISING events you can still book a spot at — or that you can simply rock up to enjoy at your leisure. Most of these are very reasonably priced and plenty are totally free to enjoy. There's no excuse for missing out on RISING 2024.


Recommended reads: 
The Best Things to Do in Melbourne This Week
The Best Things to Do in Melbourne This Weekend
The Best Things to Do in Melbourne This Month
The Best Restaurants in the Melbourne CBD

  • 12

    RISING sprawls over a lot of the CBD, but its official hub is Night Trade. And this year, the free-to-enter art, food and music labyrinth is taking over the Capitol Arcade and surrounding alleyways from Saturday, June 1–Saturday, June 15. It’s where you go to get fed, plan your next move, have a psychic reading, and gawk at incredible art installations, light shows and live performances.

    Night Trade is always a must-visit at RISING — not only for its formally announced offerings, but because of all the surprise events and pop-up performances that will inevitably grace the space without any notice.

    Add to Playlist
    Want to start building your ultimate playlist?

    Start creating a personalised itinerary — or add to an existing list. Save it, share it and take it with you on your next local adventure.

    Driven by
    Read more
  • 11
    FOOD performance at RISING 2024

    Performances with audience participation can make us cringe and avert eye contact with the host at all costs. But FOOD, as part of RISING 2024, is so fun and fast that you’ll easily slip into playing along. Geoff Sobelle, a master illusionist from New York, is running this absurdist dinner party from Friday, May 31–to Saturday, June 8 at the Southbank Theatre.

    Here, guests gather around an enormous communal dining table and are served an eye-opening medley of food and drinks. These aren’t meant to be consumed — FOOD is an art performance, not an actual dinner — but you will be playing a part in the night’s festivities. Throughout the evening, you and your fellow diners will be questioning why and how we eat what you eat while having a good laugh.

    Image: Maria Baranova.

    Add to Playlist Buy Tickets Read more
  • 10

    Why give Melbourne one massive winter festival when you can stack another within the main event? If that’s the question that the team behind RISING asked for 2024, then Day Tripper is the answer. This fest-within-the-fest is a huge block party that’s using Melbourne Town Hall as a hub, and spanning to the Capitol Theatre and Max Watt’s as well. If it sounds big, that’s because it is.

    Taking place on Saturday, June 8 from 12–8pm, Day Tripper boasts Yasiin Bey leading the lineup in the first of his two RISING gigs. Also on the Day Tripper bill: Bar Italia, Asha Puthli, HTRK, Richard Youngs, Surprise Chef, MEMORIALS, JLIN, Alastair Galbraith, ACID BRASS, The Tubs, Sarah Mary Chadwick, and that’s just at Melbourne Town Hall. It’s going to be one huge day out. Tickets have already soldout, but you can still get resale tickets via Tixel (recommended by RISING).

    Image: Frankie Casillo.

    Add to Playlist Buy Tickets Read more
  • 9
    Burnout Paradise - RISING 2024

    Capitalism sucks. Most of us are overworked and underpaid. And burnout is coming for us all. This is what four performers seek to explore in Burnout Paradise, running as part of RISING 2024 from Thursday, June 13–Saturday, June 15. During the one-hour show, each of the artists is given a series of tasks to complete — some pleasurable, some painfully difficult, some requested by the directors of RISING themselves — all while running on treadmills.

    For many, this is comedy. For those who find the metaphor too real, it might just incite more anxiety. But no matter where you sit on the spectrum, we could all benefit from watching a long-form mockery of our attempts to establish boundaries in life and work — for better or for worse.

    Add to Playlist Buy Tickets Read more
  • 8
    Artworks at The Blak Infinite - RISING 2024

    For RISING’s 2024 run, Fed Square is becoming a huge hub where First Nations talents are sharing their stories through a series of art installations. For the entirety of the winter festival, from Saturday, June 1–Sunday, June 16, punters can head down to not only enjoy beautiful works of art, but to also participate in important political discourse concerning First Nations people.

    Head down to Richard Bell’s EMBASSY — inspired by the original Aboriginal Tent Embassy that was pitched on the grounds of Canberra’s Parliament House in 1972 — to catch film screenings, and talks with activists, writers and artists. Throughout the rest of Fed Square, you’ll also find a stack of other art installations, including night-time light projections that illuminate the space with colourful constellations.

    Image: Richard Bell’s Aboriginal Embassy at the Tate Modern 2023, courtesy of the artist and RISING.

    Add to Playlist Read more
  • 7

    ACMI’s world-premiere exhibition Beings, which focuses on UK-based art and design collective Universal Everything, is filling ACMI’s walls and halls with interactive installations until Sunday, September 29 — and it’s also the reason for this soiree from 7–11pm on Thursday, June 13.

    You’ll roam around and play with 13 pieces, including works that respond differently to every visitor. Four are brand new, enjoying their global debut just for the showcase. For your $35 ticket ($30 for ACMI members), you’ll also dance, eat, drink and watch a heap of performances across the evening.

    Add to Playlist Buy Tickets Read more
  • 6

    There’s no need to solve a puzzle box to gain entry to one of the highlights of RISING 2024 for movie lovers. All that you need is a ticket to the latest performance by Hear My Eyes, the screening series that pops up regularly — including in Melbourne — with beloved flicks treated to a brand-new score played live while viewers lock their eyes on the big screen.

    The latest film getting the Hear My Eyes treatment: the OG Hellraiser. To make stirring music to go with the movie, Hieroglyphic Being aka Jamal Moss is heading to Melbourne Town Hall for four sessions: at 6pm and 9pm on Sunday, June 9, then again at 3pm and 6pm on Monday, June 10. Pinheads, that’s how you spend a public holiday.

    Add to Playlist Buy Tickets Read more
  • 5
    Crip Rave Theory - RISING 2024

    Crip Rave Theory is a Melbourne club night that draws on knowledge from members of the disabled community to create a wildly fun and safe space for everyone to party — focusing on intersectional access, self-expression, pleasure and community solidarity. While open to all, Crip Rave Theory centres around and celebrates all those who’ve traditionally been marginalised and de-prioritised in commercial nightlife spaces.

    For its RISING rendition on Saturday, June 15, the team is taking over Newport’s The Substation with live performances and DJ sets late into the night. Those keen to speak to the team running the club night while learning the basics of DJing can also attend Crip Rave Theory’s RISING workshop on Friday, June 14.

    Add to Playlist Buy Tickets Read more
  • 4

    When a festival announces its program, numbers go flying, detailing how many shows, artists, sessions, days, premieres and the like are on offer. RISING’s 2024 lineup is no different — but one specific part of this year’s bill has its own figures to note, including the fact that 19 cast members from six countries will play 50 characters, and that the stage production charts four generations over five decades.

    First staged in 2019 in Sydney, Counting and Cracking by S Shakthidharan has proven a hit overseas and won a heap of accolades. And now, it is finally coming to Melbourne, running long beyond RISING’s two-week program — from Saturday, June 1–Wednesday, July 24. “It’s a story in which migrants are not asked to discard parts of themselves to fit in, but instead are asked to present their full selves, to expand our idea of what this country can be,” explains Shakthidhidharan.

    Image: Brett Boardman.

    Add to Playlist Buy Tickets Read more
  • 3

    The next dancefloor filler from ‘Love Tonight’ favourites SHOUSE is on its way, but it needs your help in the best possible fashion: by taking part in a huge music party that’ll fill Melbourne’s St Paul’s Cathedral for RISING 2024. For this one, Ed Service and Jack Madin are overseeing Communitas — where hundreds of people will make tunes, then a single will be released.

    Free to attend, Communitas wants its participants to form a choir; however, not only using their voices but dancing and making sound vibrations is on the agenda. Think of it as a huge gathering that’s also a jam and a ritual, composing collectively and spontaneously as everyone parties and communes. The date to pop in your diary: Saturday, June 15, for what’s sure to be one of the best RISING 2024 events.

    Add to Playlist Book Now Read more
  • 2

    In Finland in 2015, British Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller unveiled a rock show. No, he didn’t pick up an instrument. Rather, he staged a 24-hour movie marathon filled with music documentaries playing all day and all night. In 2024, it’s Melbourne’s turn to dance through this cinema endurance test (or remain seated, if you can resist the urge to do more than just tap your toes).

    The iconic Stop Making Sense, 2023’s ONEFOUR: Against All Odds and Glastonbury the Movie are just some of the flicks getting a whirl at this movie marathon. The Judas Priest- and Dokken-focused Heavy Metal Parking Lot, No Fixed Address on Tour in the UK, Johnny Cash live at San Quentin and Grace Jones: Private Life are also on the bill.

    Image: Jordan Cronenweth, A24.

    Add to Playlist Book Now Read more
  • 1

    Since 2015, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra has enjoyed playing games with classical music lovers, putting on live gigs in secret locations all over the city. In the weeks leading up to the performance, it posts sneaky clues on its social pages, hinting at what will be played and where the orchestra will be playing — and its next Secret Symphony will be a part of RISING 2024.

    We don’t know the location. We don’t know the setlist. But we do know it will take place sometime on Thursday, June 6. You’ll need to follow the MSO’s Instagram page to get all the hints and book tickets ahead of time through RISING. As you are pre-purchasing tickets, we’re pretty sure the team will actually let you know the specifics a couple of days before the show — but you best get sleuthing nonetheless.

    Top image: Laura Pemberton.

    Add to Playlist Buy Tickets Read more

Top image: Night Trade by Ian Laidlaw.

Tap and select Add to Home Screen to access Concrete Playground easily next time. x