Melbourne’s newest festival, RISING, features a commissioned program of cultural events, degustations, theatre, live music, and one-of-a-kind experiences (bathing nude on the Yarra anyone?). The program is extensive, from fine dining to family friendly to free and we are absolutely thrilled and intrigued. Here’s what’s catching our eye. Setting foot in the long-hidden Flinders Street ballroom is at the top of everyone’s list. Patricia Piccinini’s art installation, A Miracle Constantly Repeated, promises an opportunity to view the mysterious venue above the train tracks. It will be decked out with uncanny-valley silicone sculptures, dioramas, marine mammals, and enormous foliage. It’s been extended to 31 August and we highly recommend booking now, considering the speed at which the first release of tickets sold out.
We have no idea what to expect from THIS, but it captured our attention with descriptions of “choose-your-own-adventure theatre” and “mud wrestling.” This theatrical endeavour is taking place over three floors of the Substation and is devised in response to the theme of infuriation.
No Melbourne festival would be complete without a foodie option and RISING has programed a number of events to tempt your tastebuds. We are particularly excited about Tjanabi. It’s a fine dining experience exploring ancient First Peoples’ culinary traditions. The night will feature four courses using techniques and flavours from the country’s south east, such as clay baking and pre-domesticated foods. On the more casual side, there’s also Late Night Yum Cha and the Stock Exchange soup stall options. The newly released Lighthouse experience looks excellent as well. The 3 course dining experience is curated by chef David Moyle, set inside a glass atrium, and surrounded by a bamboo forest.
If you’re on a budget, or have specific dietary requirements outside of ‘vegetarian’, you can opt out of dinner and just explore The Wilds bamboo forest for $15. The pop-up ‘forest’ will be set at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl and enhanced with mirrors, lights, a giant moon and video art. Wander the Wood is another budget friendly option. All you need is a charged phone for a self-guided pod-cast tour of Collingwood, detailing the area’s creative history and its residents’ stories.
Here at the Plus Ones, we’re not opposed to getting our kit off in a fun and safe environment. Club Purple’s a naturist disco sounds like an empowering pop-up embracing nudity on the dance floor. You can curate your own body-moving playlist on the jukebox or book in for a unique bonding experience with friends. (Either way, we’re very curious how it’s going to be advertised on Instagram). Wandering Stars is lighting up the night every evening of the festival with a giant glowing eel skeleton and hundreds of lanterns floating on the Birrarung (Yarra River). The installation aims to connect visitors with First Peoples knowledge of the land, sea, sky and river and illuminate eels’ ancient migratory journey from local waterways to the depths of the Coral Sea. Fire roasted snacks from RISING’s riverside kitchens on Birrarung Marr will also be on hand to help warm your bellies.
Last we checked RISING events were popping up around every corner, so keep your eyes peeled for an exciting line-up of late autumn experiences to help keep your heart toasty all winter long. And as always, follow the guidelines for masking up, checking in, and keeping our community safe.
Jenny Schmidt is an event adventurer. When she’s not attending live shows, you can find her sampling craft beers and dreaming about using her passport to travel internationally (and not just when she’s crossing the Yarra).
The RISING Festival runs 26 May – 6 June. Book tickets now.