Melburnians are like house plants: we don’t need the sun to survive. In fact, our city’s love of food, art and culture makes winter one of the hottest times of the year (figuratively speaking). Embrace the chill at the Firelight Festival – a bright shining star of Melbourne’s colder months. From mitten-clad tots to grandpas in tartan caps, the festival has something for everyone – head down to Firelight Festival at Docklands to take part in these events.
Firelight Festival Opening Weekend
The 2018 Firelight Festival bursts to life on Friday June 29 with a dazzling opening weekend. The winter solstice-inspired festivities include pyrotechnic displays, roving performers, live music and plenty of comfort food (hello mulled wine!). You won't feel the chill between the flame jets and fire drums. Plus the mix of music – everything from jazz to punky brass bands – will keep you entertained. Into art? Gaze up at Melbourne-based artist Christian Patton’s giant wooden sculptures, one of which will be set alight each night. Hot chocolate will be in abundance, so make sure you grab a mug (or two). Docklands. Jun 29-Jul 1. Free.
Campfires are the age-old stage for storytelling, and in that spirit the Firelight Festival is hosting a fireside storytelling session with special guest Jo Stanley. Apart from her work as a television and radio personality, Stanley has created a children’s book series called Play Like a Girl in collaboration with the AFLW. Join her for a cosy storytelling session around the campfire while you treat yourself to a dining hamper created by mod-Italian wizards Saluministi and chocolatier Kep Whitley. BYO picnic rug and snuggly blankets. Buluk Park. Thu Jul 5. $15-$35.
Maybe it’s the whisky, but speakeasy venues seem most appealing in winter. This winter the Firelight Festival is embracing those underground libation vibes starting on Tuesday July 10 when the Speakeasy Series will transform four Docklands venues into speakeasy-style bars with chic cocktails, tapas and live musicians. You’ve got four nights and four venues to try: Hightail on July 10; Oscars Table on July 11; Tap831 on July 17 and Watermark Docklands on July 26. You must book in advance. Various locations. Jul 10, 11, 17 & 26. $30.
Dining at Docklands
The Firelight Festival is hosting three different but equally rib-sticking foodie experiences this winter. The hearty offerings begin on July 12 with a progressive dinner of pizza and mulled wine thanks to Bar Nacional, the Hof Downtown and 90 Secondi. Or make the most of Docklands’ waterfront location by hopping on a foodie cruise on July 18. And for the turophiles out there, Saluministi is holding a hands-on cheese-smoking workshop on July 24. Various locations. Jul 12, 18 & 24. $42-$50.
The Long Dinners
Forget long lunches – this winter it’s all about long dinners. Warm up with a delectable three-course Italian feast courtesy of Chiara, the Collins Street restaurant where your exclusive long dinner will transport you to bella Italia. Still a bit chilly? There will be live fire performances as well. There are two chances to indulge in a long dinner at Chiara, at the opening and closing of the Firelight Festival. Chiara. Jul 3 & 31. $45.