Seven Summer Festivals in Melbourne That Are Perfect For Big-Group Hangs
Fire up the group chat, it's festival season.
SEVEN SUMMER FESTIVALS IN MELBOURNE THAT ARE PERFECT FOR BIG-GROUP HANGS
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Fire up the group chat, it's festival season.
Tis the season to hit up some top-notch festivals with your mates. The sun is shining, the drinks are on ice, and you've managed to get the whole crew together to seize the day — the local beer garden just won't cut it.
There's plenty to do this summer, so with the help of Sunglass Hut, we've picked seven Melbourne festivals where you and all your mates can make the most of long, hot days and balmy nights. Sip gin on a boat, sample festival-exclusive beers at Abbotsford Convent, get down to local and international musos and say goodbye to the season at an arty warehouse party.
This one was pretty much made for group hangs — FOMO is known for having only one stage. This means no clashes, no running back and forth between stages trying to catch each act, and no need to split up from the gang when you want to see different artists. If you’re one of the tens of thousands of people that missed out on tickets to Lizzo at the Forum, this is your chance to party ‘Like A Girl’.
Modern-day boyband Brockhampton headline the bill, bringing their troupe of rappers, directors, photographers, engineers, producers, graphic designers and DJs to Melbourne once again with their catchy pop-led tracks ‘Sugar’, ‘No Halo’ and ‘Bleach’.
Joining Brockhampton and Lizzo is Canadian producer Kaytranada, who’s set to drop a new album any day now. Other big names on the lineup include French singer Madeon, UK rapper Octavian and, from the local contingent, hip-hop artist Chillinit and Sydney producer Ninajirachi.
Image: Jordan Munns.
Face summer head on with: Ray-Ban ($275).
There’s nothing like some free festivities to get even the most difficult-to-round-up mates down to the party. Melbourne’s yearly queer arts and culture festival kicks off with the annual Midsumma Carnival — a free all-day and all-night party expected to attract around 110,000 revellers. There’ll be sneak-peek performances of what’s to come throughout the festival, and live musicians and DJs to keep you dancing as the sun goes down. There’s also a dog show, fashion design competition and a lip sync battle, plus all the usual food trucks, bars and market stalls.
The festival continues with a heap of talks, performances, installations, exhibitions and parties, all aimed at celebrating the diverse stories of the queer arts scene. Attend a Lunar New Year Disco with Drag Race Thailand stars after hours at Melbourne Museum; hear from Pacific womxn of colour and Indigenous femmes in BLOW and FAMILI; and be entranced by The Sky After Rain, a video installation exploring three queer Iranian diasporas.
Images: Midsumma Carnival, Jackson Grant/Suzanne Balding.
Face summer head on with: Versace ($379.95).
The idyllic Abbotsford Convent is the perfect backdrop for a boutique craft beer festival, with plenty of space to roll out a picnic rug on the grass and set up camp for a chill day with your mates. Brewers Feast has a huge lineup of local Aussie breweries and producers to tickle your taste buds, including Urban Alley Brewery, Hop Nation Brewing Co., Bodriggy and Red Duck Beer. In addition, there’ll be 16 beers brewed exclusively for the festival, made using rare ingredients and brewed in collaboration with malt, hops and yeast supplier, Bintani.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a feast without all the trimmings, so get ready to enjoy food from a heap of Melbourne’s food trucks, live music from Jessie Maz, Vote Party, Kilns and more, boutique wine, cider and gin producers, masterclasses, and festival exclusive brews.
Face summer head on with: Oakley ($214.95).
One of Melbourne’s favourite festivals has something for everyone, so drop that ticket link in the group chat and arrange to meet at the main stage for a boogie. This year’s epic lineup features some big names in the local and international scene, including the delightfully weird King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, brash childhood mates Hockey Dad, neo-soul force of nature KAIIT, voice of the moment Tones and I, the enigmatic and subversive Earl Sweatshirt, trailblazing songwriter Charli XCX and unstoppable headliners The 1975.
Plus, Canadian electro artist and TikTok sensation BBNO$, New Zealand’s Benee, London crooner Col3trane and Irish post-punk band Fontaines DC. And DMA’s, Hatchie, Stella Donnelly and 2019’s Triple J Hottest 100 winners, Ocean Alley.
There’ll also be the usual lineup of killer food and drink vendors, all taking over Footscray Park for the second year.
Face summer head on with: Ray-Ban ($225).
There are few drinks more refreshing than a crisp gin with the fizzy mixer of your choice. Enjoy a tipple or two with mates while basking in the sun of the Boatbuilders Yard at Juniperlooza. All your favourite gin producers will be on deck, plus smaller distilleries that are more than worth a taste. Be quick to snap up tickets for Sunday, February 16, as the Saturday is already sold out. For $40 per person, you’ll get entry to the big event, a gin and tonic to get you started, a reusable metal straw, access to plenty of gin tastings and live entertainment from Agent 86, J’nett and local DJs.
The gin-soaked revelry will be in full swing, with 23 boutique producers from both overseas and Australia gathering to show off their wares. Archie Rose, Four Pillars, Never Never Distilling Co, The Botanist and Flinders Distillery are some of the labels that have already been announced, as well as the UK’s Chase Distillery. And the folks at Strangelove will be heading up the party’s tonic situation once again.
Need new sunnies? Face summer head on with: Ray-Ban Meteor Classic ($225).
A new urban art festival is going to be all over your Instagram feed this February, so you better gather some mates to explore it with. Inside Kensington’s famed underground warehouse space The Facility you’ll find Can’t Do Tomorrow — a dynamic festival of creativity, music, art and culture, where more than 100 artists and crews will adorn the space with installations, street art, galleries and multi-disciplinary works.
One of the highlights of the event will be a giant hand-painted boat floating in a shipping container by Archibald Prize finalist and Melbourne artist Michael Peck. Elsewhere on the program, new media artist Nick Azidis will take over the exterior walls and tunnel of The Facility with mind-bending projections.
And there’ll be live music performances, talks, workshops and plenty of food and drink offerings. The closing night of the festival will be a huge warehouse party, so if you’re going to go for one night only, that’s probably your best bet.
Images: The Facility by Alex Jovanovic.
Face summer head on with: Persol ($390).
Babylon in the Park is ideal for those not up for the 230-kilometre journey from Melbourne to Carapooee West for Babylon Festival — let’s face it, rounding up the crew is hard enough when the destination is in the city, let alone when there are whole weekends to book off, camping gear and transport involved. The spirit of Babylon will be alive and well at Sidney Myer Music Bowl on February 23, with some of the 2020 festival lineup’s best artists booking it back to the city to bring the party to you.
The openair event in the heart of the city include three stages, pumping out techno, house and psychedelic music. The lineup includes Babylon regular and curator Carl Cox, DJ Ann Clue who’ll take things to a deep, dark melodic techno realm, and synth king and electro veteran Reinier Zonneveld. Plus, UK DJ Alan Fitzpatrick and the crew from Bushtechno will be presenting the Hanging Garden Stage — inspired by the Australian bush festival culture.
Face summer head on with: Prada ($370).
Face your summer head on with new shades from Sunglass Hut.