Open House Thornbury is the neighbourhood arts festival taking over the inner-north suburb

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Open House Thornbury is the neighbourhood arts festival taking over the inner-north suburb

Orange Laurence
Words by Amber De Luca-Tao

This year Open House Thornbury is celebrating creativity, community and the magic of wish making.

The one-day neighbourhood arts festival will decorate Thornbury with live music, art installations and a walking wish trail.

This year marks the event’s fourth iteration, with a dream curation of creatives bringing together eight much-loved Thornbury venues and 25 homespun artists and musos.

Staying true to form, Open House Thornbury’s bill of performers is top-notch. The Collaborators, led by one of TISM’s founding members Jack Holt, will be performing their latest offering at Thornbury Local.

Melbourne-based indie rock band on the rise, The Brads, will be transporting punters to the beachside with their laidback, groovy tracks.

And you can prepare to be enraptured by experimental techno musician, Super Magic Hats who will be performing their colourful, intricate melodies. It’s not unlikely you’d recognise one of their songs from a television commercial or from a Melbourne Fashion Week runway.

The music doesn’t stop there, with more performances expected from Nicholas Costello, Orange Laurence, Ain’t Misbehavin, Zoltan Fesco, Tim Woodz & The Dirty Shoes, Frank Bell, T.K. Bollinger & The Cold Hard Ground and The Deadly Applejohns.

As Open House Thornbury is a multi-sensory experience, you can also anticipate a diverse range of art installations and immersive experiences from the likes of Maja Amanita, Merilyn & Sean Simmans, Miss Darq, Musical Minds, Kim Kim, Tim Goschnick, Tristan Davies, Erik Pobucky, and many more.

And while this year’s music and arts program has gone above and beyond in every way, there’s more.

“I think imagination is really important and I think that creating an opportunity for adults to have an imagination shouldn’t stop at childhood,” event organiser Tamara Shardlow says. “Creating an opportunity for people to wish as adults is really important, because adults tend to push it to the side and say that that’s just silly.

“So we decided that we wanted to do something a little bit different, which is the wish idea. We thought it would be fun to bring in an idea that was a little bit esoteric, to throw in a little bit of magic.”

This year you’ll have the chance to embark on a walking wish trail which connects each of the eight venues. So not only are the locations pockets of arts and music heaven, they’re also wishing stepping-stones.

All you have to do is purchase your own wish passport with a donation and get it stamped along the way at each venue.

The idea is that as you walk, ponder and enjoy, your wish will grow stronger. It’s a beautiful sentiment to kick off 2020.

“It’s been a tough 2019, so we just want to celebrate not only all the great musos and performers, but give back to the audience to give them something to believe in, a little hope sprinkled onto the journey,” Shardlow says.

If you’re wondering about the best way to tackle the event, there’s no right or wrong way. You can join in right at the start when the event kicks off or you can get on board later in the day. Whether you come along for the wish ride or just to see all of the artists and performances, or both, is up to you. There’s no pressure.

“Something about speaking your wishes makes them more powerful,” Shardlow concludes. “So I think that this event is a celebration of imagination and a commitment to hope that there is good shit in the world. We just have to keep on telling each other that.”

Open House Thornbury takes over the suburb on Saturday February 22. To check out the program, download the performance map and submit a wish head to