RISING opens this weekend, transforming the city with huge art installations, thrilling shows and free parties

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RISING opens this weekend, transforming the city with huge art installations, thrilling shows and free parties

Photo: Shannyn Higgins
words by staff writer

As winter descends, Melbourne is set to be transformed by RISING, the city's premier festival of new music, art, and performance.

Starting tomorrow and running until June 16, RISING boasts an extraordinary 2024 lineup with over 120 events featuring more than 650 artists, including 23 new commissions, 6 world premieres, and 8 Australian premieres.

Spanning sixteen nights and three epic weekends, the festival will animate the CBD and beyond with large-scale installations, free public events, and world-class contemporary performances.

RISING Opening Weekend

  • June 1 to 16
  •  Fed Square – The Blak Infinite
  • Arcades under the Capitol Theatre –Night Trade
  • Union Theatre at University of Melbourne –  Counting & Cracking
  • Melbourne Town Hall – Big Name No Blankets and Eclipse
  • Immigration Museum – You, Beauty

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


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Co-artistic directors Hannah Fox and Gideon Obarzanek are excited about the festival’s third year, expecting hundreds of thousands of attendees. “RISING is a major event that truly belongs to this city, and this year’s program transforms the city as a stage, offering celebration, catharsis, and joy—something that anyone can take part in,” they stated.

The opening weekend of Rising promises to bring Melbourne to life with a vibrant array of events. At Fed Square, the festival kicks off with The Blak Infinite, a free exhibition curated by Kimberley Moulton (Yorta Yorta) and Kate ten Buuren (Taungurung).

This expansive exhibit features Richard Bell’s iconic installation, Embassy, along with large-scale works, nighttime projections and Sky Country stories from notable First Peoples artists including Tony Albert, Kait James, Tarryn Love, and Ellen Van Neerven.

As dusk falls each night, the city will resonate with The Rivers Sing, a monumental sound work by First Nations soprano and composer Deborah Cheetham Fraillon AO, with audio artists Byron Scullin and Thomas Supple. Ethereal voices will fill the air from the tops of buildings and along the Birrarung, creating a hauntingly beautiful experience.

The festival’s free social hub, Night Trade, located in the historic arcades under the Capitol Theatre, awakens at sunset. Night Trade offers nightly DJ sets, psychic readings, karaoke, art and dance classes, and a vibrant late-night club program, Night Trade Stage Door. Newly announced DJ additions include Cut Copy, Harvey Sutherland, Endle55, and Soju Gang, performing in the Up Hi-Fi: Financially Soundsystem.

Noteworthy performances include the Melbourne premiere of Counting & Cracking, a multi-award-winning Sri Lankan-Australian saga at the new Union Theatre at the University of Melbourne and Ilbijerri Theatre Company’s Big Name No Blankets at Melbourne Town Hall, celebrating Warumpi Band’s legacy.

At the Immigration Museum, Chunky Move’s You, Beauty features dancers interacting with a giant inflatable, while Melbourne Town Hall hosts Eclipse, a fierce drag show by Cerulean and Stone Motherless Cold.

Find out more info here.