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The facade of Flinders Street Station lit in blue and emblazoned with the Rising logo
Photograph: Damien Raggatt

JUST IN: Rising has announced an impressive line-up featuring more than 100 events

Melbourne’s wild winter arts festival is back with a nocturnal vengeance for 2024

Ashleigh Hastings
Written by
Ashleigh Hastings

Rising returns to warm Melburnians’ spirits this winter from June 1-16, and this year’s sizzling line-up has just been announced. A chill tends to settle over our city in June, but thankfully Melbourne’s flagship arts and culture festival has cooked up 105 events to help heat things up. Get ready to revel in a plethora of wintry festivities across sixteen nights and three weekends, as Rising bathes our landmarks and labyrinthine laneways in a new light. 

More than 480 artists from Australia and the world will converge on the city to present 32 new commissions, eight Australian premieres and six world premieres. A mix of free and ticketed events spanning contemporary music, dance, theatre and art will stretch down the spine of Swanston Street and beyond, well into the night. Spend an evening (or two, or many) wandering between large-scale installations, micro-bars and pop-up events around Birrarung Marr and the CBD. 

This year, the festival’s action-packed Night Trade hub will sprawl through the laneways around the Capitol Theatre to Howey Place, featuring interactive art, dumplings, dance and more. Down the road, Fed Square will play host to The Blak Infinite, a vibrant free program of First People’s art and politics. Kimberley Moulton (the curator behind last year’s Shadow Spirit installation) has curated the expansive exhibition, anchored by EMBASSY, Richard Bell’s installation inspired by the original Aboriginal Tent Embassy pitched in Canberra in 1972. Immersive projections by Tarryn Love will light up the nights and a monumental sound work called The Rivers Sing returns by the Birrarung, echoing waterway singing traditions.

If it’s an aural feast you’re after, this year’s music line-up delivers. There’s a headline show from viral Sydney stars OneFour alongside appearances from influential hip hop artist Yasiin Bey and Aussie instrumentalists Dirty Three. Indie sleaze darling Sky Ferreira will also be flying in for her first local show since 2015. 

For those in the mood to really get their groove on, Rising’s new day party Day Tripper will take over Melbourne Town Hall, the Capitol Theatre and Max Watt’s. Mass music making is the name of the game at St Paul’s Cathedral, where Melbourne dancefloor mavericks Shouse (known for their sleeper hit ‘Love Tonight’ will lead more than a thousand participants to form a chorus of humanity. 

Keep wandering down Swanston Street and you’ll see the facade of the state library emblazoned with a digital sign displaying rapidly accumulating numbers. This work, called Pay the Rent, represents the debt owed to First Nations people by the Australian Government since 1901. 

Another highlight is the much–anticipated Australian debut of S. Shakthidharan’s Counting and Cracking, a three-act Sri Lankan-Australian epic playing at the new Union Theatre.

According to Rising co-artistic directors Hannah Fox and Gideon Obarzanek, the most important part of Rising is “coming together to be thrilled, bemused, shaken or delighted”. If that sounds like something you want to read more about, you can view the full festival program at the festival website. Tickets for the general public go on sale on Thursday, March 14 at 12pm at the website. If you’re extra keen, you can also gain presale access by signing up here


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