Melbourne is a great time all year round.
It’s going to be an exciting month. RISING kicks off its inaugural edition on the same night that this year’s second supermoon—and first total lunar eclipse of the year—takes to our skies. There’s a whole host of other plans, activities and things you can do in Melbourne this May with a number of experiences coming to a close as well. So, here are a few of our top recommendations on where to go, what to see, and what to look forward to this weekend in Melbourne. (Featured image: @filip_co)
Kicking off on the night of the total lunar eclipse and taking over Melbourne from 26 May to 6 June, Rising takes the place of White Night as well as the Melbourne International Arts Festival as the city’s new festival of the night.
After having enormous success around the world—in cities like Paris and New York—the experience has made its way to Melbourne! Buy tickets for Melbourne Candlelight concerts here.
3. Stargazed Festival
Founded by Footscray-based not-for-profit art collective and record label of the same name, Stargazed is Melbourne’s newest festival of immersive experiences, audio-visual delights and live performances—some in unusual places.
Sure to be a fun night is the Synthetic Dreams Dark Roller Disco with tunes being supplied by this sweet line-up of Premium Fantasy, DJ Manchild, Dr Chicken Gristle, and Fareevader. Costumes are encouraged and the theme for the night is Footscrazy, to be interpreted however you like.
4. Australian Cocktail Month
From 1 May to 31 May, participating bars in each city have put together an exclusive menu for Australian Cocktail Month ticket holders. The tickets, which are valid in all four cities and for the entire month of May, are just $20.
In Melbourne, there are seventeen bars (out of the total 72) that will take part in the festival’s first edition. These include 1806, Baby Jane, Bar Margaux, Beneath Driver Lane, Black Pearl, Bomba and Heartbreaker as well as The Everleigh and Union Electric. To see the full list of bars participating as well as the cocktails that they have concocted for the month of May, click here.
5. Moama Lights
Moama’s latest festival is an embodiment and celebration of all things art, light and colour. From 8 to 22 May, Horseshoe Lagoon will be transformed into a vivid display of light and installations. The festival aims to portray the lively spirit and story of the Murray border community — Echuca Moama through the events
6. Winter Village
The family-friendly winter village is free to enter and will be open seven days a week from May 13 to August 29.
7. DISNEY: The Magic of Animation at ACMI
From Thursday 13 May to 17 October, ACMI will display original sketches and rare artworks from as far back as 1928. That’s Mickey Mouse’s first talkie as well as drawings from the classics Fantasia, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid and The Lion King among the collection. Releases from this century like Moana and Frozen will also be on the walls to showcase just how far the Mouse House has come since Steamboat Willie.
8. Yirramboi Festival
As part of the Yirramboi Festival, the Blak Makers Market returns to Melbourne this weekend. At the Malthouse Outdoor Stage on Sunday, May 9, head on down for fashion, jewellery, crafts and bush food, all from proud Blak makers. Entry is free and no registration is required.
The month is also packed full of music, dance, visual arts and experiences which are definitely worth checking out. See the full program here.
9. Good Beer Week and GABS
Running from Friday, May 14 and culminating on Sunday, May 23 with the Great Australasian Beer Spectacular (GABS), among a whole host of other events, Good Beer Week makes a triumphant return. And though we don’t need a festival to drink beer—or bars or pubs as evidenced by last year—Good Beer Week holds a special place in our festival calendar.
10. Rocky Road Festival
From May 1, Yarra Valley Chocolaterie, Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie and the Mornington Peninsula Chocolaterie are dedicating the month to an old favourite: Rocky Road. The traditional mix of chocolate, nuts and marshmallow will be getting a 31-flavour upgrade. You can go for the pick and mix option and choose for yourself what you’d like to try, or go all out and get all 31 flavours for $110.
11. This wonderland of light, colour and sound ends its run this month
Titled Imaginaria, this immersive pop-up play space is the work of Loose Collective who have teamed up with electronic music artist Alex Albrecht to create a wonderland for the senses.
The 1000-square-metre venue has five specially designed spaces that are meant to be part game, part gallery, and part journey where visitors not only walk through but also interact with what’s going on inside.
12. See Australia’s largest ever LEGO experience, Jurassic World
Featuring more than six million LEGO bricks and more than 50 large-scale LEGO creations, visitors to Brickman’s Jurassic World will first be greeted by the iconic Jurassic World gates that stand at an impressive four-metres tall. Visitors, though, will not just walk through this adventure as they will also get to get hands-on with more than 2.5 million LEGO bricks to show off their own building skills.
Jurassic World by Brickman will be on display at MCEC on 1 April through to 31 May 2021.
13. Films Films Films
Lido Cinemas is the Home of the Oscars so if you want to catch the films that won on the big screen, this is the place to be. However, that’s not all that’s being shown at Lido Cinemas. They’re also hosting the Fantastic Film Festival and there’s a bunch of movies still to be screened this weekend. Check them out here.
But that’s not all. The Spanish Film Festival is also on with screenings at the Astor, the Kino, Pentridge Cinema and Palace Cinemas Brighton Bay, Como and Balwyn. And, the St Kilda Film Festival kicks off on Thursday 20 May with screenings at the Astor and Alex theatres as well as online. Full program here.
14. If theatre is more your kind of thing…
Melbourne’s stages are seeing heaps of action this month.
There’s The Wedding Singer – The Musical Comedy on at the Athenaeum Theatre; Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on at the Princess Theatre; Because The Night has taken over the entire Malthouse Theatre; Matador at Her Majesty’s Theatre; Moist at Mission to Seafarers Victoria; Berlin by Australia’s Joanna Murray-Smith; Drummer Queens at the Comedy Theatre; and The Cane in St Kilda.
15. Last Friday of the Footscray Night Market
Friday 7 May is the closing night of the Footscray Night Markets where the Footscray Station forecourt is transformed from 5-10pm into a bustling night market. There will be hawker-style food, stalls, entertainment and music to boot.
16. See a total-lunar eclipse
The second supermoon of 2021 will actually be overshadowed by an even bigger astronomical event—a total lunar eclipse. This second supermoon will appear blood-red in the sky as it’s obscured by the Earth’s shadow.
This astronomical event will begin at around 6:45pm and will reach its peak between 9:15 and 9:20pm on 26 May.
17. Go in search of beautiful autumn colours
Melbourne is glorious under blue summer skies, but as the leaves turn red, orange and gold in autumn, we can admire the city in a new light and take in all its crisp and crunchy glory.
18. Level up your cocktail game
In the two decades since Clinton Weir won his first cocktail competition, he has travelled the world and worked in almost 20 countries, developed over 75 cocktail menus, created signature recipes for brands, canned his own signature creation and mixed drinks for celebrities as well as flaired his skills at the 2011 royal wedding at Buckingham Palace.
He’s also won plenty more awards, but Weir hasn’t forgotten the teachings of his early mentors and now he’s giving back and willing to pass on all that he knows. In other words, you can learn from one of the best in the business in this ultimate cocktail masterclass.
19. Do Pilates with pinot
On Sunday 16 May, Pinot Pilates returns to Port Melbourne Yacht Club for another special edition of their wine and pilates combo. This time around, the award-winning Yarra Valley winery, Tokar Estate, will be on hand to encourage participants through the series of exercises and make it through to the second half of the event.
20. The Gnocchi Festival
The Ascot Lot is filling the yard with gnocchi and we are at once excited and worried that we will end the weekend rolling away. Nonetheless, the potato dumplings will be served up to hungry diners from some of Melbourne’s best food trucks on Saturday 8 and 9 May and we cannot wait.
21. Fortress Film Festival
Fortress Melbourne’s newest weekly offering will take advantage of the amazing Alienware Arena and its 200-seat auditorium to showcase and celebrate the highs and lows of gaming’s greatest flicks as part of their Gaming Film Festival.
Films this month include Sonic, DOOM, Wreck-It Ralph and Silent Hill.
22. Dine in the Dark
This special event promises to “elevate your meal to a whole new level” with darkened surroundings – leaving just you, your taste buds and your sense of smell to enjoy a three-course meal served in a top-secret restaurant.
23. Go on a true-crime tour of Melbourne
Fit City Melbourne’s Slums and Guns Running Tour is more than just a jog. It is, in fact, a proper, fully-fledged tour of the city complete with a tour guide to keep you on track where you will discover Melbourne’s dark side.