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Four Melbourne Arts Festivals to See You Through Winter

Experience a rebirth by the beach in Apollo Bay, book in sessions at the Writers Festival and rug up for a nighttime art walk around Footscray.
By Concrete Playground
August 13, 2018
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Four Melbourne Arts Festivals to See You Through Winter

Experience a rebirth by the beach in Apollo Bay, book in sessions at the Writers Festival and rug up for a nighttime art walk around Footscray.
By Concrete Playground
August 13, 2018
  shares

FOUR MELBOURNE ARTS FESTIVALS TO SEE YOU THROUGH WINTER

Experience a rebirth by the beach in Apollo Bay, book in sessions at the Writers Festival and rug up for a nighttime art walk around Footscray.

It's cold. It's rainy. It's windy. It's Melbourne in winter and, as much as we complain about it, we've just got to rug up and deal with it until spring hits. But while you're waiting for that first whiff of September air and the slew of warm-weather music fests to roll in, we've got a few festivals that will get you out of the house and occupied until the winter chill dissipates.

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    WinterWild 2018

    Victoria’s answer to Dark Mofo, WinterWild is returning to Apollo Bay this August for its second year. While last year’s after-dark winter arts festival was structured around the elements — with four weekends each set to the theme of water, fire, air and earth — this year’s theme is death and birth. Creeping into the coastal shire on the eastern side of Cape Otway, the festival will take place across two weekends in August. Each evening will begin with a ceremonial bonfire on the beach, with fire-cooked fare and warming drinks, before branching out to the Mechanics Hall and beyond.

    While the first weekend of Death has already passed, the second weekend around Birth will run from August 24–26. It will feature a cinema and workshop, alongside Feastiality, a whole-beast feast cooked along the foreshore, a rock ‘n’ roll party at The Brewhouse, and a conversation about Indigenous Australian food and drink with wine writer Max Allen and conservationist Jack Pascoe.

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    Glow Winter Arts Festival 2018

    Throw on your winter coat and head out into the night as the Glow Winter Arts Festival returns to Melbourne’s southeast for its fifth year. Hosted by the City of Stonnington over four chilly nights, this after-dark arts fest celebrates the best that local creatives have to offer, with everything from comedy acts to dazzling light projections to tempt you out into the cold.

    This year, the program is shorter but still just as solid, with Malvern East’s Central Park oval set to be lit up with lasers, projections and neon flamingos — it’s the east’s answer to Fitzroy’s Gertrude Street Projection Festival and Footscray’s West Projections. If you rock up to the park between 6pm and 10pm, you’ll be able to wander through a maze of lights and glowing installations. Thousands of green lasers will cover you and your surrounds in The Laser Garden, while another area will be scattered with all things neon — flamingos, umbrellas and trees included. Between the Trees lets you ‘play’ the trees in the garden to create a sonic nature experience, while S1T2’s Revive the Reef work will make you feel as though you’re underwater. Best of all? It’s all free to attend.

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    This year’s West Projections Festival is lighting up with the literary theme of ‘non/Fiction’. Running every night from August 17–26, the annual after-dark festival will see an entire area bathed in breathtaking light as more than 36 unique spaces around Footscray play host to specially commissioned works of pop-up public art.

    Supported by Victoria University and Maribyrnong City Council, this year’s festival promises to be the most expansive yet. Sites include Harley & Rose, Mr West, SIMS Supermarket, Seddon Wine Store and Chambers Street. Forming the spine of the festival are seven hour-long art walks, each of which will take participants on a different route around the suburb and end at a participating bar. There’ll also be spoken word performances, roving projections, a VR dance party and a pop-up bar – and don’t be surprised to see a convoy of food trucks rolling around the neighbourhood, either.

    The festival will kick off with a launch party at Nicholson Street Mall on Friday, August 17, from 6–9pm, which will feature plenty of food, art and live music. This year, the festival spreads across the inner west, too — with a pop-up in Seddon’s Victoria and Charles Streets running across two nights, August 3 and 4; and West Footscray’s pop-up in Barkly Street running from August 10–11.

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    Melbourne Writers Festival 2018

    The program for this year’s Melbourne Writers Festival has a distinct musical edge, as it sets out to pay homage to that intersection between songwriting and literature. For its 2018 edition, with Marieke Hardy making her debut as artistic director, the festival celebrates the theme ‘A Matter of Life and Death’, pulling together a swag of iconic Aussie musicians to share their take on their art.

    In news to thrill music fiends and wordsmiths alike, Jimmy Barnes trips back in time for ‘Musical Memory’, getting nostalgic with a collection of seven-inch records, while rock legend Paul Kelly sets poetry to music in his event, ‘Other People’s Words’. You’ll catch Steve Kilbey, frontman of The Church, as he performs hits from across his impressive 43-year career, US singer-songwriter Neko Case in a discussion titled ‘The Book That Made Me a Feminist’, and a chat with our own Sally Seltmann about women who make art. Then, there’s Duets — a series of live performances and discussions curated by SLAM and Bakehouse founder Helen Marcou. Each session matches up an emerging artist with an established one, pairing the likes of Sarah Blasko with indie-folk act Ryan Downey, Jen Cloher with Brisbane rapper Miss Blanks, and Kate Ceberano with young soul artist Kaiit.

    Meanwhile, kicking off the fun as part of MWF18’s ‘You Are Here’ gala, you’ll find American artist Andrew W.K throwing down good vibes with a positivity coaching session, child soldier turned rap icon Fablice Manirakiza throwing down some live tunes, and legendary author Andy Griffiths turning his talents to a DJ set. A slew of authors, writers and activists who aren’t musical (well, publicly) will also be talking and holding workshops, including Marwa al-Sabouni a Syrian architect and author, The New Yorker’s television critic Emily Nussbaum, veteran investigative journalist David Neiwart and engineer and author Yassmin Abdel-Magied.

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