Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building to showcase Now or Never Festival’s spectacular lineup of art and music

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Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building to showcase Now or Never Festival’s spectacular lineup of art and music

Now or Never

Now or Never is set to transform Melbourne into a hub of creativity and innovation, captivating audiences with its genre-bending and medium-blurring lineup.

Melbourne’s renowned Royal Exhibition Building is set to become the epicentre of a groundbreaking cultural extravaganza as the City of Melbourne launches its highly anticipated major festival, Now or Never.

With an immersive program spanning 17 days in August and September, the inaugural event promises to captivate audiences with a fusion of art, ideas, music, and technology. This is the first announcement of many – with plenty more to be revealed about this new Melbourne festival in late June.

Stay up to date with what’s happening in and around Melbourne here.

Making a grand return to the music scene, the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton will host a series of unforgettable performances under its magnificent cathedral ceilings. After a hiatus of more than two decades, the historic venue will again resonate with live music’s pulsating energy.

Among the highlights of the Now or Never program are an exclusive Australian performance by the multifaceted American singer, songwriter, and producer Kelela, supported by the avant-garde R&B musician serpentwithfeet. Additionally, an extraordinary club night, co-hosted by Untitled Group, will feature German house and techno producer Âme, renowned international artists Axel Boman and CC:Disco!, rising star Ayebatonye, and Yuggera woman dameeeela.

The festival will offer unique sensory experiences, including an enthralling electronic performance by Bristol duo Giant Swan and a mesmerising live set by UK-based artist Actress. English electronic duo Autechre will also headline a night of live electronic music in complete darkness, accompanied by a mind-bending 3D audio-visual experience by British artist Max Cooper.

In a fusion of sound and visuals, Orchestra Victoria will present an interpretation of US composer Steve Reich’s iconic Music for 18 Musicians, complemented by a stunning 16-meter-high video installation by multimedia artist Jesse Woolston.

Beyond the Royal Exhibition Building, Now or Never will extend its immersive artistic offerings to venues and locations across Melbourne, including the city centre, Docklands, and Carlton. Expect thought-provoking keynote speeches and panel sessions featuring visionary creatives at the Never Permanent segment, presented by the internationally acclaimed design festival, Semi Permanent.

“For the first time in more than two decades, Now or Never will bring large-scale live music back to the spectacular Royal Exhibition Building – with an unmissable line-up that celebrates our incredible homegrown talent, alongside ground-breaking work from international artists,” says Lord Mayor Sally Capp. 

“We’re excited to welcome Semi Permanent back to Melbourne with the addition of Never Permanent to our stacked Royal Exhibition Building line-up – where more than a thousand visitors will enjoy thought-providing discourse from leading innovations and visionaries from around the world.” 

It’s set to take over Melbourne from August 17 until September 2. Keep up to date with all things Now or Never by heading to their website.