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The 8 most exciting things coming to Melbourne by the end of 2019
Written by
Rebecca Russo

We made it. It’s halfway through 2019. Lots of things have happened, and there’s still so much to come. Big new breweries, an inland surf park and an ambitious upgrade to White Night are just a few reasons to get stoked for the next six months in Melbourne. 

Late-night art festival White Night makes its debut in winter

White Night has been a highlight on the Melbourne arts calendar since 2013, but this year the annual all-night art party is getting a major shakeup (somewhat controversially, we might add). In August 2019, Melbourne will host White Night Reimagined, a pared-down, stretched-out version of the arts, music and light festival. The festival will take place over three finger-numbingly cold winter nights from Thursday, August 22 to Saturday, August 24. Events will start from 7pm every evening and finish at midnight on Thursday and Friday, and at 2am on Saturday. Despite the lack-of-all-night thing, there’s still some imaginative work to see after dark. Here are the nine works you need to see at White Night 2019.

Melbourne Festival (as we know it) is ending

It’s the end of the festival as we know it. Starting next year, Melbourne Festival is joining with White Night to create an as-yet-unnamed mega winter festival, which will run from August 2020. But Melbourne Festival director Jonathan Holloway is ensuring this iteration of Melbourne Festival goes out with a bang, with a spectacular and eclectic program. For theatre lovers, there's a new international work starring Maxine Peake as the enigmatic Nico and Anthem, and a new collaboration between some of Australia's leading creatives. Music fans will lap up gigs from the Flaming Lips and Joan As Police Woman, while Japan's legendary TeamLab will be showing three new video works in a free exhibition. See our highlights from the 2019 line-up.

Australia’s first inland surf park opens in Melbourne

Melbourne is set to get its own inland wave pool by the end of 2019. The Urbnsurf park will be Australia’s first surf park and the world’s first full-sized surfing lagoon to use Wavegarden cove technology (which creates long, man-made waved in a closed environment). They say it will be able to pump out up to 1,000 perfect, two-metre-high ocean-like surfing waves every hour. The team at Urbnsurf have been teasing this for a while now, and fingers crossed it’s happening this summer. 

The site is located near Melbourne Airport in Tullamarine, and will also house a food and bar precinct. It was recently announced that Sydney café Three Blue Ducks will be opening a new outpost at the site, which is hella exciting. Read about it here.

Moon Dog brewery is expanding to Preston – and there’s going to be a waterfall

Abbotsford’s Moon Dog Brewery has been working on some big things while you’ve been sleeping. Well, not big… huge. Eight thousand square metres huge, to be exact. Moon Dog has outgrown its Abbotsford brewery and has plans to expand. They found a site in Preston that seemed way too big for their needs, but co-owners Josh Uljans, Jake Uljans and Karl van Buuren thought, “why not”, placed the right applications, and got council approval for a venue with a 725-person capacity. Told you it was huge. They’re also going to be putting a waterfall right in the middle of the venue. Karl van Buuren says: "It will flow into a river and a lagoon, and there will be a bridge you have to walk over to get around.” Read more.

The NGV’s summer blockbuster is toasting New York City in the 1980s

After the success of a joint exhibition of work by Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei in 2016, the NGV is bringing together another pair of art legends for its 2019/20 summer blockbuster: Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Both Haring and Basquiat’s careers burned bright and fast in the 1980s, rocking the New York art establishment. Both are known for the huge impression they made with their street art, and both died young. The exhibition will feature more than 300 of their works presented side by side, ranging from paintings to sculptures and, of course, public works. Read more about what to expect from the exhibition here.

A direct Melbourne to Geelong ferry service is launching later this year

Port Phillip Ferries is launching ferry services between central Geelong and Docklands this year. The 400-seater Geelong Flyer ferry has been purpose-built for this service, which is set to run twice a day between the two ports. The ferry is for pedestrians only (not cars), but you can bring your bike onboard. The route is expected to begin sailing in December 2019. Read more.

A bright new rooftop farm and eatery is headed to Melbourne’s east

A 2,000-square-metre rooftop farm and eatery is coming to the new Burwood Bricks development in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. The urban farm concept will be run by Acre Eatery, a farm-to-table restaurant that first opened in Sydney’s inner west in 2016. The Burwood Brickworks development will also include a huge flagship Woolworths supermarket, Dan Murphy’s, a six-screen cinema and around 4,000 square metres of retail, food and beverage space. It’s set to open in late 2019. Read more.

Andrew McConnell is opening a brand-new venue on Russell Street

There's very little info on this one, but we're pretty excited that Andrew McConnell (the man behind mega Melbourne restaurants Cutler and Co, Supernormal, Cumulus Inc, Marion and the Builders Arms Hotel) is opening something new in 2019. The location has been set at the 1920s-era Cavendish House at 33 Russell Street. McConnell had this to say about the opening: "33 Russell Street is a truly impressive and historic site and one of Melbourne's most beautiful rooms. Opportunities like this are a rare find and when they come along it is really exciting. The room deserves to be celebrated." We'll keep you updated on anything new, so hang tight. The new venue is expected to open by the end of the year. 

And some things to look forward to in 2020:

The Royal Exhibition Building will open its rooftop to the public.
ACMI’s huge $40 million redevelopment will be completed.
White Night and Melbourne Festival will combine to create a mega new winter festival
St Kilda Pier is getting rebuilt with a new penguin viewing area.
A public rooftop sky farm is being built on a Melbourne skyscraper.
Uber Air will start demonstrator flights ahead of a full Melbourne launch.

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