Keep the party going with these Melbourne summer festivals

A group enjoying So Frenchy So Chic. Photo: supplied

A group enjoying So Frenchy So Chic. Photo: supplied

In Melbourne, summer is outdoor festival season, as culture fiends and music fans make the most of a brief respite from the city’s love affair with rain. Here’s a list that will make you want to grab your sunscreen and get ready to party.

If you’re wanting to start the new year as you mean to go on, Let Them Eat Cake (January 1, $160) offers a delicious slice of hedonism and electronic music, tucked away in the leafy surrounds of Werribee Mansion.

The palatial grounds are also home to summer staple So Frenchy So Chic (January 14, from $45), a family friendly celebration of all things Gallic, this year featuring a return appearance from festival favourite Fefe and the usual choice selection of wine and artisanal cuisine.

 

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If Werribee isn’t far enough, start a little earlier and see out 2017 with Beyond the Valley (December 28-January 1, from $169), a four day boutique music festival in Lardner Park.

As music festivals go, it’s a civilised affair, with art installations, gourmet food trucks, glamping and morning yoga classes. This year’s line up is as eclectic as it is incredible, featuring the likes of Amy Shark, Stormzy and Little Dragon. Even further out, Babylon (February 23-25, $229.95) has more of an electronic music focus (the bill includes legendary DJ Carl Cox) and a strong sustainability ethos allowing you to glamp without guilt surrounded by the lush Kara Kara National Park.

Closer to home, Sugar Mountain (January 20, $119) packs almost as much action into a single day in Melbourne’s Arts Precinct. While the program boasts music acts including Cut Copy and New York DJ Honey Dijon, there’s just as much focus on visual art installations and new media pieces. Still, as citybound music fests go, it’s hard to go past St Jerome’s Laneway Festival (February 3, $174.50). Picking highlights would fill most of this page, but we’ll give a special nod to rising New Zealand folk star Aldous Harding, American slacker rocker Mac De Marco and recently reunited 90s shoegazers Slowdive.

 

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Our city itself is the star of White Night (February 17, Free). Details for the sixth incarnation of this nocturnal festival are still under wraps but we can expect the usual mix of music, art and projections that transforms the CBD into something strange and magical. Staying closer to the beach and keeping more sensible hours, St Kilda Festival (February 11, Free) transforms the foreshore into a hub of performance, market stalls, workshops and carnival rides.

And, of course, it wouldn’t be summer without Midsumma (January 14-February 4), Melbourne’s three week LGBTQIA+ culture fest. Alongside the traditional Pride March and Carnival, the program boasts the best in queer-slanted cabaret, music, art and film. Highlights include comedy Shakespeare mangling in #romeoandjuliet, a Kate Bush tribute, a season of cult film musicals, the 10th anniversary of stage smash Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and a special appearance from international stage and screen star John Barrowman.

 

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