Melbourne’s newest festival, The Eighty-Six, unveils sensational program

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Melbourne’s newest festival, The Eighty-Six, unveils sensational program

The Eighty-Six
Credit: Machiko Abe
words by staff writer

The bustling High Street from Westgarth to Preston is set to be transformed into a music lover's paradise at The Eighty Six with almost 24 hours of free events.

From the previously announced legendary Theo Parrish to Los Bitchos, Otoboke Beaver, Unknown T and more, Melbourne’s newest festival, The Eighty-Six, is set to be an unparalleled celebration of the city’s vibrant music culture. With the just announced Super Saturday, Independent Music Exchange and 1800 Street Party – from October 23 to 31 a staggering concentration of live music venues are all taking part in this huge festival stretching along the 86 on High Street from Westgarth to Preston.

Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

“I’ve always felt Melbourne needed a festival that stays within and elevates our grassroots environment.” says The Eighty-Six Co-Founder & Artistic Director, Woody McDonald. “The Eighty-Six’s goal is to do this, and there’s currently no better area than High Street to be our festival precinct.”

The centrepiece of The Eighty-Six is undoubtedly Super Saturday, which will take place on October 28. In an astute nod to the raging cost of living that’s been battering young and old alike, the whole day (and night) will be free. That’s over 200 performances, an indie record label expo and, yes, even a dog bonanza. All free.

With over 40 curators, this event promises a musical journey like no other. From bars and nightclubs to record stores and bocce courts, the entire area will be alive with the sounds of more than 200 of Victoria’s finest live acts and DJs, going strong from early A.M. until sunrise.

“Melbourne is one of the world’s great music cities,” Woody McDonald continues. “A hub of discovery and subculture, where art and entrepreneurial spirit are valued. It also produces a wild amount of music and is internationally considered a hotbed of musical greatness.”

The Eighty-Six

Beyond Super Saturday, The Eighty-Six has an array of satellite events to keep the festivities going. Independent Music Exchange, brought to you by Efficient Space and Butter Sessions, celebrates the crucial role of independent record labels in promoting and exporting homegrown favourites.

For foodies and pasta enthusiasts, don’t miss the 1800 Street Party, curated by the cult pasta crew 1800 Lasagne. This unique event promises a blend of delicious food, music, beverages, and even a dog bonanza.

Don’t miss the biggest party a tram line has ever thrown – The Eighty-Six awaits you!

Super Saturday

  • When: 7 am until 5 am, October 28
  • All events free

Get ready for the ultimate musical extravaganza, Melbourne! Super Saturday, a part of The Eighty Six festival, is set to take the city by storm with almost 24 hours of non-stop free gigs and more. On October 28, over 200 of Victoria’s finest musical acts will grace iconic spots along the 86 tram line, spreading their magic across 40+ venues, including theatres, record stores, bars, and even bocce and bowls clubs.

They’re boasting an impressive lineup of local selectors, artists, and international guests curating the parties, including the likes of 3RRR, Milo Eastwood, Jet Black Cat Presents, Love Police, Mike Gurrieri, Soju Gang and more.

From folk bands at cozy cafes to post-punk tunes at your favourite pub and techno sets in bustling clubs, Super Saturday caters to all ages and tastes.

The Super Saturday venue map is on its way, and party details, including line-ups and schedules, will be revealed over the coming months. So, mark your calendars for a day like no other: one street, one day, 40 curators, 40 venues, 200 acts, all for free.

Independent Music Exchange

  • When: Saturday, October 28 and Sunday October 29

Featuring more than 50 labels including Domino, KGLW [King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard], Poison City, Chapter Music, Butter Sessions, Efficient Space, the vinyl record resurgence is real, and Melbourne is at the forefront with heaps of independent record labels thriving in the streaming age. The Independent Music Exchange, a free two-day event at The Eighty Six on October 28 and 29, offers a haven for music enthusiasts to connect with Australia’s diverse independent labels.

Presented by Efficient Space and Butter Sessions, the event showcases an impressive lineup of stallholders presenting vinyl, cassettes, merch, zines, test pressings, posters, and other rare finds. Fans can also meet their favourite musicians and label runners during artist signings, all the while scoping out limited edition band tees.

1800 Street Party

  • When: October 28

Get ready for a party that’ll tantalise your taste buds: the 1800 Street Party, hosted by local legends 1800 Lasagne, is set to be a gastronomic delight combined with awesome live music. Picture this: savouring a slice of cheesy bolognese lasagne, sipping on unique local pet nat wines, and enjoying a cuppa batch brew, all while grooving to live jazz performances – talk about a feast for the senses!

Dog lovers out there, listen up! The Eighty-Six x 1800 HowlOween Dog Parade and Costume Contest is calling all four-legged friends to strut their stuff. This neighbourhood doggie extravaganza is raising funds and awareness for Pets of the Homeless with Pup-cakes, pup-uccinos, and exclusive dog merchandise await.

“High Street is the beating heart of the inner north and live music pumps through its veins,” says Member for Northcote Kat Theophanous.

“The Eighty-Six will embody the authenticity, revelry and artistry that make Northcote, Thornbury and Preston a precinct that undeniably captivates locals and visitors.”

Keep up to date with all things The Eighty Six by heading here.