RISING festival is here, and it’s lighting up Melbourne over 12 fascinating nights. Celebrate Melbourne’s art, culture, food and music scene underneath the winter moon. Expect a massive program of 185 events, featuring over 800 artists including 35 commissions and 12 world premieres. RISING will run from Wednesday June 7 to Sunday June 18.
RISING is taking over the city, with a range of both free and low cost experiences. Go ice skating along the banks of Birrarung Marr, see large-scale installations, explore the abandoned level inside Flinders Street Station, join a kazoo orchestra and much, much more.
“It’s been amazing watching the festival being built across the city over the last couple of weeks – inside our train station, cathedral, theatres, river banks and hidden spaces – artists from all over the world have been busy making and rehearsing their work in anticipation of opening the doors this week,” said RISING Co-Artistic Directors Hannah Fox and Gideon Obarzanek. “RISING is a major event that is equal parts mass celebration and deep, thoughtful work – it’s an event that is not only of Melbourne – it has something to say about the place.”
1. Shadow Spirit
See the largest commissioned exhibition of contemporary First Peoples art in Victoria’s history in one of the country’s most unique art spaces. Known as Shadow Spirit, this landmark exhibition will take over the abandoned upper level of Flinders Street Station.
Curated by leading Yorta Yorta writer and curator Kimberley Moulton and presented with Metro Trains Melbourne, Shadow Spirit will showcase projects by 31 First Peoples artists and collectives. The space will cover theatre, dance, visual art, music, food, music and more. Immerse yourself in networks of knowledge that link place, people and Country, journey across time and Ancestral spirit worlds, and reflect on Australia’s history.
Shadow Spirit will open on the first day of RISING, and stay in Melbourne until July 30.
Loved the ice skating event last year? Rejoice, because this late-night activity is back, this time, along the banks of Birrarung Marr. Journey along the river trail and follow the scent of popcorn, hot chocolate and mulled wine underneath some fairy-lit elm trees. Head towards the big top, then lace up and glide underneath twinkling lights. The Rink at RISING will run for an extended five week season, starting on June 1 and running until July 8. Find tickets for the extended dates here.
Euphoria is a RISING festival exclusive by Berlin-based artist and filmmaker Julian Rosefeld. It’s transforming Melbourne Town Hall into a spiralling vortex of screens. Feel dazzled by 360-degree visuals, an original score by Canadian composer Samy Moussa and British saxophonist Cassie Kinoshi, and Cate Blanchett.
4. Night Trade
Night Trade is RISING’s hub, filled with pop-up performances and festival feasts on the grounds of St Paul’s Cathedral. Expect DJ sets, pop-up performances, BBQ delights, a giant negroni tank and more. Twin brothers Pablo and Efrain Del Hierro, aka Poncili Creción, will showcase their reality-breaking puppet bus.
5. Ghetto Biennale
The neo-gothic grandeur of Alpha60 Chapter House will transform into an evolving exhibition and gathering space by Atis Rezistans (Resistance Artists). Celebrate Haitian street culture with ritual, music and movement, set among a living museum of objects, like portraits and sculptures.
Inside St Paul’s Cathedral, you’ll find Anthem. This sound and video collaboration between Wu-Tsang and Beverly Glenn-Copeland comes to Melbourne straight from the Guggenheim. In this towering experience, you’ll hear Glenn’s otherworldly voice reverberate throughout the Cathedral’s architecture, while visuals play across a 25-metre-high screen. The installation is free to experience.
Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde has designed a flock of thousands of heavenly lights. Made from biodegradable materials, these lights will float like fireflies and shift through the air, caught in the evening breeze. Spark will be released over Fed Square for the first four nights of RISING festival.
8. 10,000 Kazoos
Join the biggest musical project Melbourne has ever seen at Fed Square. Artist and composer Ciaran Frame will give 10,000 biodegradable kazoos to 10,000 participants. Join the chaos on Saturday June 10.
9. Consort of the Moon
Journey into Fitzroy Gardens and listen to a haunting, ancient melody. This sound work, created by leading Australian musicians Genevieve Lacey and Erkki Veltheim, is inspired by the oldest known piece of noted song, an ode to Nikkal, Goddess of Orchards and Consort of the Moon. The music will blur the lines between the worlds of humans and animals, echoing the calls of owls, bats and cicadas. Listen and participate in the experience from June 10 to 14.
10. Hide The Dog
See a swashbuckling First Nations comedy at Arts Centre Melbourne Playhouse. This show for all ages will take you on the high seas to hide a Thylacine, and strengthen the bond between trans-Tasman spirit stories. Written by Tasmanian playwright Nathan Maynard (Trawlwoolway pakana) and Aotearoa writer Jamie McCaskill (Māori), this adventure features puppets, projections and more.
11. Cornelius and Shintaro Sakamoto
See a rare double bill show at the Forum on Friday June 16. Cornelius, a composer and guitar innovator from Japan, is bringing lush arrangements and melodies in his first Australian performance since 2014. Shintaro Sakamoto is also doing a rare live performance, showcasing an easy-going and richly arranged body of work. Joining them are Honey 2 Honey, a duo from Western Sydney that will present their blend of jazz, dub, krautrock, disco and R&B.
See the work of Australian choreographer and provocateur Florentina Holzinger at Arts Centre Melbourne. This performance has had walk-outs and fainting after its premiere in Vienna. Part comedy, horror show, ghost story and superhuman dance work, this two-act show is all about the body as a spectacle, and the discipline that it takes. TANZ is on from June 8 to 10.
That’s just scratching the surface of all the wonderful things to discover at RISING Festival. Browse through their website for more events.