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Melbourne Will Host a Huge New Annual Winter Arts Festival from Next Year

It will combine Melbourne International Arts Festival and White Night and move them to a new winter timeslot.
By Lauren Vadnjal
May 16, 2019
By Lauren Vadnjal
May 16, 2019

Melbourne's arts calendar never fails to keep us busy, however, it's always had a bit of a lull in winter before Melbourne International Arts Festival and Melbourne Music Week take over the city in spring. But, from next year, that's all set change. The Victorian Government has this morning announced that it will launch a huge new citywide arts festival in the winter of 2020.

It's a big shake-up to the Melbourne arts calendar as the new festival will merge the aforementioned Melbourne Festival and arts all-nighter White Night and move them into a winter timeslot. Since its inception, White Night has been held on a hot February night — however, in September last year, it was announced that it would move to August for 2019. Melbourne Fest, which was established in 1986, is usually held in October.

White Night Melbourne

Exact timings and details are yet to be revealed, but the new "global" festival — as it's being billed by the Andrews Government — will take over the city for several weeks, much like Melbourne Festival usually does in October. While it will no doubt combine the best bits of the two existing festivals, a new creative team will come on to develop a new program and vision. We're told the the 2020 program will feature a "diverse program of visual and performing arts" coupled with with "large-scale takeovers of precincts" after-dark. Hopefully that means more immersive installations like last year's Fire Garden at Melbourne Festival.

The inaugural festival — which is yet to be named — will kick off with a 'transitional' year in the winter of 2020. It's set to support Melbourne's tourism and hospitality industries in the quieter months and, no doubt, provide a Melbourne equivalent to Sydney's popular Vivid festival, which kicks off this month. Both White Night and the Melbourne International Arts Festival will go ahead as planned this year, on the weekend of August 22–24 and October 2–20, respectively.

The new winter festival will hit Melbourne in winter 2020. We'll keep you updated when new details or dates are announced. 

Image: Fire Garden from Melbourne International Arts Festival 2018, by Vincent Muteau.

Published on May 16, 2019 by Lauren Vadnjal
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