FUSE festival unveils arts and live music program for Spring celebrating diverse and local artists

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FUSE festival unveils arts and live music program for Spring celebrating diverse and local artists

Pirritu, who will be part of the Ganbu Gulin event. Photo by Giulia Giannini McGauran.

FUSE Spring will take place from September 4 until September 19.

Introduced back in 2020, FUSE is the elaborate multi-arts festival embracing and celebrating Melbourne’s diversity and multiculturalism held in Autumn and Spring each year. Wide-ranging and heterogeneous, the festival accommodates a range of different access points for audiences and practitioners and puts the City of Darebin front and centre.

Having enjoyed a successful debut season in spring 2020 and the second instalment in autumn this year, FUSE returns for Spring 2021, offering several events across live music, dance, arts and more.

What you need to know

  • FUSE Spring is the third instalment of the Darebin-centric multi-arts festival
  • The festival will take place from Saturday, September 4 through to Sunday, September 19
  • The festival is designed to support local artists, engage audiences, celebrate First Nations peoples and bring diversity to the forefront through ground-breaking live performances, activities and art.

Keep up with the latest festival news here

From Saturday, September 4 through to Sunday, September 19, FUSE Spring will ignite audiences with a program of music and dance, visual arts, conversations, workshops, and art-focused walks, providing a fantastic new creative escapade for Melburnians after an incredibly gruelling 18 months.

Kicking off 4 September with the opening event, Ganbu Gulin, audiences will be greeted with a Welcome to Country and First Nations celebration held on the sacred lands of the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung. Ganbu Gulin: One Mob is a culturally inclusive event that celebrates and recognises First Nations peoples, and invites all residents, old and new, to be officially welcomed, and contribute to the #changethedate conversations.

The dynamic First Nations program, co-designed by the Darebin Aboriginal Advisory Committee and Traditional Owners, will be hosted by local comedian Shiralee Hood and feature a cultural program featuring dance, music, circus, film and visual arts.

The opening event will be followed by the FUSE FUND events, which feature a range of events produced by FUSE, where emerging and raw local talents have been commissioned to create new work and performances for the festival, taking place from 7 September.

Some of the standouts on the FUSE FUND bill include The Market Record, a walking, talking, and tasty tour of the Preston Market that’s all about showcasing what makes this place so special. Festival-goers will meet locals on both sides of the counter and stimulate the senses along the way, highlighting the value of community in a time of rapid development.

We Are Song, We Are Dreaming, We Are Country is another must-see event. Taking place on September 12, The Northcote Social Club and Still Here will present a free live music showcase featuring local and emerging First Nations artists. Celebrating the talent and ingenuity of First Peoples art, culture and music, the event features the most fiercely talented First Nations artists in Northcote’s historic venue. Creative Director Neil Morris (DRMNGNOW) has put together a compelling blend of music performance, story and conversation, evoking further reflection about the position First Peoples, Song, and Story have in the present. Expect a breathtaking line-up of artists and wordsmiths including BUMPY, Lady Lash, song-keepers Djirri Djirri, rising star Lillie Walker, Yorta Yorta hip-hop artist Brickie B, Butchalla Songman, Fred Leone and more.

Closing out the event on September 19, FUSE and Multicultural Arts Victoria (MAV) will present Out of the Park Picnic at Edwardes Lake Park, a celebration of Darebin’s diversity and biggest wrap party yet. Officiated by Darebin’s Mayor Cr. Lina Messina and commemorating 100 years of Edwardes Lake Park, Out of The Park Picnic is an afternoon of splendid performance in Reservoir’s most famous park and the best way to close FUSE Darebin’s Spring 2021 season.

The event will be headlined by Australia’s soul queen Kylie Auldist and feature live performances by the likes of Punjabi-pop artist Parvyn, Afro Beat and Dancehall by Reservoir’s own Kwame Tosuma and Tina De Melo, drumming displays by way of Ghana, Lebanon and Brazil and so much more,  showcasing talent from the many cultures that make Darebin home.

There will also be traditional children’s storytelling through movement, a DJ, space for picnics, Auslan interpretation and a warm welcome back to country with the Wurundjeri Traditional Owners. The picnic is a safe and inclusive place for families and friends.

A final highlight of the Spring program is the return of the Darebin Songwriters Award, an annual songwriting competition that seeks to recognise, showcase and promote the talents of local songwriters. The grand final event will feature guest performances including a performance by 2020 award winner, Paige Black, 2021 Winners awarded and a night of fantastic music by some of Darebin’s best emerging and established talent.

The winner of the award will receive an incredible prize package including $2,000 cash courtesy of City of Darebin, eight hours recording time with an engineer at HeadGap, EP Mastering by Crystal Mastering, a $500 Implant Media voucher for CD duplication services, and a $500 Echo Tone Guitars voucher.

The call-out is now open to songwriters who live, work or studies in Darebin. Entries close Thursday 19 August, you can enter here.

FUSE Spring hits the City of Darebin from Saturday, September 4 to Sunday, September 19. For the full program, visit the website.