Rising Turns Up The Heat This Winter

Rinky Dink ice skating at Rising Festival

After a devastating false start last year due to a snap lockdown, Rising is back with a huge lineup of art, music, food and performance across Melbourne. Three years in the making, the full program is packed full of exciting and unusual music, art and performance that will reawaken and reconnect Melburnians with their city in the depths of winter. With so many great shows happening it can be hard to know where to begin, so here’s what we recommend to get you started.


The Wilds at Rising Festival

As festival of the night, it makes sense that Rising should transform one of Melbourne’s most iconic night time venues, the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. Described as a night garden of sensory stimulation, The Wilds brings together the best of what makes Melbourne hum: great food, cool art and delicious drinks.

People looking at artwork

Voluminous inflatable sculptures, towering projections, eerie soundscapes and live performances (keep an eye out for The Huxleys) transform the iconic space. On top of all that, some of the city’s most revered restaurants fuel for the night’s adventures with pop-up kitchens (be sure to check out 1800 Lasagne and Smith & Daughters). In a throwback to a decades-old tradition, the much loved ice-skating rink has been reinstated on the stage, allowing skaters of all skill levels to glide around the ice, while a choir belts out classic ‘80s and ‘90s hits and illuminated floating space critters glide overhead.

Food at Rising Festival

Overlooking it all is The Lighthouse, a glass domed, fine dining pop-up helmed by celebrated chefs David Moyle, Jo Barrett and Matt Stone where you can have a delicious meal matched with carefully curated wines from Blackheart & Sparrow.

Glowing lighthouse bar at rising

If you’re only after a cheeky drink and some much-needed heat, the drop-in front “UP bar” at The Lighthouse has a great selection of cocktails and local beers & wines.


A giant laser beam lights up the Yarra River for Rising Festival

A giant laser beam, almost one kilometre long, blazes light down the Birrarung (Yarra) river, coursing above the water to a nexus at Princess Bridge in MONOCHORD audio-visual artist Robin Fox’s luminescent public artwork. Shows begin once the sun sets, and go for around 5 minutes. Be sure to get your mobile phone out and tune into the audio on the Rising website for the full experience, no matter where you are standing.


Outside the NGV & Art Centre Melbourne is Kaleidoscope, a mesmerising symphony of light, sound and joy. The breathtaking mirror maze allows audiences to step inside a constantly shifting illusion in the brand new solo project by Keith Courtney, one of the masterminds behind the excellent House of Mirrors and 1000 Doors.  Walking through the open roof structure of mirrors, you’ll be transformed into an ever-changing room of corridors and light as you slowly try to find your way out. This is one mirror maze you won’t want to leave.


Glowing tent at rising festival

Smack bang in the centre of the longest continuous Chinatown in Australia stands Golden Square, RISING’s swirling art car park. Featuring three levels of art, performance, parades and rooftop bars, the twisting maze of contemporary art features works from Paul Yore, Su Hui Yu, Scotty So, Tabita Rezaire, Jason Phu and Atong Atem amongst others.

Following dark passageways though rough concrete pillars you will discover glowing pyramids, projection mapped oceans and a capitalist mega-church which will be every Instagrammers dream. The rooftop bar provides the perfect viewing point for celebrated New York icon Jenny Holzer’s new commission, I Conjure that is beamed across the facade of the Queen Victoria Woman’s Centre (and visible at street level for curious pedestrians).RISING is a stellar example of what makes Melbourne so interesting, and there is bound to be something to suit every taste. Take a few nights off, wear a big warm jacket and get lost in the magic.

– The Plus Ones

Rising Melbourne is on from 1-12 June at various hubs across Melbourne. Check out the full program of events and buy tickets on their website.

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Common State.
Photos: Remi Chauvin, Eugene Hyland.