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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Melbourne's Best New Events of 2018

The six most innovative and inclusive events to have landed in Melbourne this year.
By Concrete Playground
November 21, 2018
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Melbourne's Best New Events of 2018

The six most innovative and inclusive events to have landed in Melbourne this year.
By Concrete Playground
November 21, 2018
  shares

MELBOURNE'S BEST NEW EVENTS OF 2018

The six most innovative and inclusive events to have landed in Melbourne this year.

While it felt like this year's cultural calendar was dominated by bottomless brunches and themed high teas (and there were a lot of them) a lot of other game-changing events were also taking place. From an inclusive music festival — that was fully wheelchair accessible and translated into AUSLAN — to the first national survey of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander design and an immersive installation that took over the Royal Botanic Garden with 6500 burning pots, Melbourne has seen a influx of events celebrating the city's cultural ecosystem and bringing people together.

At Concrete Playground we encourage exploration and showcase innovation in our city every day, so we thought it fitting to reward those most talented whippersnappers pushing Melbourne to be a better, braver city. And so, these six new events were nominated for Best New Event in Concrete Playground's Best of 2018 Awards.

  • 6

    Trying new kicks on in-store is one thing, but how about really putting them through their paces in a multi-sensory obstacle course? Nike celebrated its new Epic React running shoes by bringing its House of Go pop-up to Melbourne. Taking over the Collingwood Arts Precinct on March 3 and 4, it was a chance for punters to score a first-hand taste of Nike’s latest and greatest running technology…or simply to have some good old-fashioned kidult fun. Sign yourself up for one of the free 30-minute sessions and you’ll get to don a pair of Nike’s whizz-bang new kicks, to best experience all the House of Go activities on offer. Get some air-time jumping through a giant treadmill, squelch through a room of foam, slip down slides and feast your eyes on dazzling light installations along the way. Out the other end, you’ll be greeted by striking works by acclaimed Indigenous artist Reko Rennie as you recover with ice cream and groove to beats by Nike’s resident DJ.

    Words: Libby Curran.

    Vote for House of Go

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  • 5
    NGV Triennial

    Descending on the gallery in December 2017 (until April 2018) and then every three years after that, the NGV Triennial series presents a smorgasbord of art and design, plucked from all corners of the globe and representing established artists, emerging talent, and plenty else in between. Kicking off with a bang, this year’s inaugural event was nothing short of grand, with the free exhibition taking over all four levels of the gallery and hosting exciting works by over 60 artists and designers. Legendary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, best known for her obsessive patterning and vibrant representations of the infinite, invited glimpses into the artist’s mind with a work titled Flower obsession. Kusuma joined other international names like Germany’s Timo Nasseri and Canada’s Sascha Braunig, alongside an Aussie billing that included the likes of Ben Quilty, Louisa Bufardeci, and Tom Crago. There was an installation from Chinese haute couture fashion guru Guo Pei, designer of Rihanna’s canary-yellow Met Ball gown, and an epic display of 100 oversized human skulls created by Australian artist Ron Mueck.

    Words: Libby Curran. Image: NGV/Sean Fennessey.

    Vote for the NGV Triennial

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  • 4

    Australia scored what looks set to be its most inclusive music festival yet, with sports and radio legend Dylan Alcott debuting his event Ability Fest. Helping to launch the Paralympian’s charity, the Dylan Alcott Foundation, the festival was co-helmed by Untitled (the entertainment group behind Beyond The Valley and Pitch Music & Arts) and catered to everyone, regardless of gender, disability, age or race. With Ability Fest, Alcott’s set out to both normalise disability and help boost inclusivity across all areas of the music industry. With 20 percent of Aussies living with a physical or intellectual disability, it’s high time an event like this was added to the festival calendar. Melbourne’s Coburg Velodrome was also transformed into a fully accessible live music venue for the event, complete with a bunch of viewing platforms for those in wheelchairs and AUSLAN translators for all acts on the main stage. Ability Fest is hoping to raise $300,000 through ticket sales and donations, with all of it headed directly to the Dylan Alcott Foundation. This will then be used to offer mentoring, scholarships and grants to marginalised young Australians with disabilities.

    Words: Libby Curran. Image: LR Photography. 

    Vote for Ability Fest

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  • 3
    Blak Design Matters

    This July, a groundbreaking exhibition kicked off at the Koorie Heritage Trust in Federation Square, with the main aim of smashing preconceptions of Indigenous design. Titled Blak Design Matters and curated by award-winning architect Jefa Greenaway, it was the first national survey of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander design, showcasing talent from across the country. Exploring everything from architecture and town planning, to interior and product design, the exhibition’s out to celebrate Indigenous design within a contemporary context, instead of reinforcing the usual link to long-held traditions and eras past. It’ll look at how Aboriginal-led design remains innovative, creative and contemporary, while still balancing a respect for history. On show will be a diverse spread of work, including jewellery from Maree Clarke, Haus of Dizzy and Grace Lillian Lee, graphic design from Balarinji Designs, Marcus Lee Designs and Galimbaa Designs, and fashion pieces by the likes of Lyn-Al Young and Teagan Cowlishaw’s AARLI.

    Words: Libby Curran.

    Vote for Blak Design Matters

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  • 2

    In January, Melbourne’s Federation Square played host to a fun new addition in Arboria — a huge, blow-up sculpture featuring a walk-through labyrinth of winding tunnels and lofty domes. The inflatable structure took its inspiration from the forest, incorporating tree-like spaces, stylised leaf patterns and a soundscape from Ecuador’s Mindo cloud forest, to create an immersive, multi-sensory experience for visitors young and old. A maze of pods and domes leads to a stunning central space, where massive columns and soaring Gothic-style windows mirror those of Chapter House at the UK’s York Minster cathedral. It was the work of world-renowned group Architects of Air, who’ve created and exhibited a whole series of these ‘luminaria’ structures across the globe.

    Words: Libby Curran.

    Vote for Arboria

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  • 1

    Earlier this year, Melbourne will be set aflame. Sort of. For years, acclaimed French art collective Compagnie Carabosse has lit up iconic public spaces from Stonehenge to The Kremlin, bringing light and warmth to the cold dark night with flaming urns and fiery sculptures. Then the artists are headed our way as part of Melbourne Festival to take over the Royal Botanic Gardens for four spectacular nights. Accompanied by an otherworldly soundtrack, visitors traversed the vivid landscape made up of more than 6500 fire pots, along with a 120-metre-long burning river. The festival recommended that you leave an hour to explore the garden, and there were food and drink stalls set up for you at the end. Just don’t knock anything over.

    Words: Tom Clift. Images: Vincent Muteau.

    Vote for Fire Gardens

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Top image: Arboria.

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