On The Road Again: Why music festivals are popping up all over Melbourne

On The Road Again: Why music festivals are popping up all over Melbourne

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You've probably seen the constant stream of new music festivals popping up in your feeds over the past few months. That's largely due to the Victorian government's On The Road Again initiative.

On The Road Again is the name of a Victorian government initiative aimed at directly supporting the live music industry’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

While there’s been a variety of behind-the-scenes support available, the most public-facing result of this funding has been the plethora of new and rejuvenated music festivals popping up across the city.

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

They tend to follow the in-vogue ‘mini-festival’ format, which sees a string of diverse gigs and events spread across multiple days (and sometimes locations) within a single community, allowing the festival to inject the most amount of money into the local areas they represent. When you take a step back and gaze over the mini-festivals popping up across each Melbourne community, you start to get a sense of the vast scale of the On The Road Again program.

First, there’s the $4 million On The Road Again metropolitan leg, designed to support and deliver 100 live gigs across Melbourne’s suburbs. These take many forms, there’s standalone gigs, festival slots, venue events, record label showcases and more.

As it’s a Victorian government program, the state is partnering with local councils to deliver the gigs on a community level. Here’s a taste of what’s coming up…

  • City of Port Phillip’s brand new Southside Live festival on the St Kilda foreshore
  • Yarra City Council’s Leaps and Bounds, and BEYOND festivals
  • Hobsons Bay City Council’s Live from the Altona Theatre program
  • City of Stonnington’s Prahran block party and Chapel Fringe Sessions
  • City of Maribyrnong’s rolling live music program West Set Festival set for October
  • Moonee Valley City Council’s MoPo Winter and Spring Sessions, and Illuminate the River
  • Moreland City Council’s three-part (yet unnamed) live festival with up to 85 events
  • Community Broadcasting Association of Australia’s eight live music events with local radio stations

That’s just the inner-suburbs. On top of that, you have an additional $5 million On The Road Again regional and outer-suburban program.

This is a little widespread to go into substantial detail here, but it’s already helped regional festivals like Ocean Sounds in Phillip Island and Gaytimes Festival in Gembrook attract huge lineups and play leading roles in revitalising those communities, while there’s more announcements expected in this space in the coming months.

We’ve also seen the On The Road Again initiative take to the CBD streets, thanks to a series of pop-up performances and a massive busking program in Melbourne that presented more than 700 street performances.

Finally, as we mentioned in the intro, there’s been substantial state support behind the scenes. We recently covered the range of grants between $4,000 and $40,000 available for Victorian musicians through the Music Works program, which has dished out over $10 million since 2015.


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Ultimately, it all serves to create a very exciting atmosphere to be a local muso or punter in Victoria at the moment. We’ll be covering all of the festivals above in more detail shortly, so stay tuned for a comprehensive feature that will tell you all you need to know.

Until then, get to grips with the government’s program in more detail here, and ensure you’re across Leaps and Bounds and Southside Live festivals as they both kick off this weekend(!). 

This article was made in partnership with On The Road Again.