Two-week music and arts extravaganza Sleepless Footscray Festival to kick off this weekend

Get the latest from Beat


Two-week music and arts extravaganza Sleepless Footscray Festival to kick off this weekend

Sleepless Footscray Festival
Words by Staff Writer

Independent music and arts festival Sleepless Footscray Festival is set to take over Melbourne’s inner west from 17 June.

Concepted and run by Stargazed Productions, it’s a community arts festival that puts on display the artistic talents and expressive identity of the Footscray community.

The two week festival features a diverse lineup of immersive experiences, unique performances and art installations, and will see hidden alleys transform into inviting nightscapes, familiar venues host adventurous events, and unused buildings be reimagined as creative hubs of art and performance.

Explore Melbourne’s latest arts and stage news, features, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

To kick off the festivities, a free Live Music Safari will take place on 17 June at ten live music venues and transformed spaces across the suburb. Mamma Chen’s will host a celebration of Asian musicians featuring Joelistics, Minhy, Y.C. Liu and Y. Lynn, Tiana Khasi will treat audiences to a blend of soul, jazz and pop infused with her Samoan and Indian heritage at Baby Snakes, and Yusupha Ngum and The Affia Band will blend traditional African songs with contemporary sounds and powerful rhythmic phrases at Jambo.

Renowned Victorian sound artist Thembi Soddell will present Unknowing Madness, a multisensory experience where an acousmatic composition will be experienced by one audience member at a time – on a bed, in complete darkness. The composition grew from an online workshop series that invited four participants with complex trauma, but without their own experimental arts practice, into Soddell’s process of composing.

The festival’s music offering also features an evening of electro-acoustic and ambient electronic acts at Organica, with Puscha, Genevieve Fry, Yaika, Zoltan Fesco, Crumbhorn Knotting, Pat Telfer, Sofia Carbonara and Helen Svoboda taking audiences through a rich tapestry of pipe organ, dreamscape, cosmic drone, cinematic euphoria and microcosmic texture, with projections from analog video artist Don Gray.

Audiences can immerse themselves in an audio-visual performance at Footscray Baptist Church by From Now Om. The twist on traditional Hindustani melodies will be played on bansuri, sarangi and saxophone, building melodies around the Om chant.

Headlining the festival’s feature films is the documentary on iconic local businessman Franco Cozzo, Palazzo Di Cozzo, playing at the Sleepless Festival Hub.

The festival’s theatre offering includes Full Hour, a show which combines the best of live music, stand-up comedy, talent shows and live podcasts to give audiences a degustation of Melbourne’s arts and culture scene. Interactive performance Cafe Play will introduce audiences to their new best friend, before they add their personal touches and make decisions to determine how the story unfolds.

Multimedia artists featured throughout Footscray for the duration of the festival include Thembi Soddell Et Al. and Vijay Thillaimuthu’s Xenosine.

“Sleepless Footscray Festival has been created with an emphasis on showcasing the area’s rich history, melting-pot of cultures, and potential for growth and revitalisation post-pandemic,” said Sleepless Festival co-founder, JJ Wilson.

“Our first festival was a hit among artists and punters alike, so we’re thrilled to be back bigger and better this year,” he added.

The festival, supported by Maribyrnong City Council, will feature over 56 artists, events and activations over the two weeks.

Sleepless Footscray runs from 17 June to 1 July at locations across the suburb. Some events are free and some are ticketed. For more information and to book, visit