As we gather to commemorate Australia Day, it signals the end of January and the advent of a whole new month of community-wide festivals. You and family can enjoy additional summer treats that pay homage to barbeque and slow cooking, and bring gourmet food and performing arts to the outdoors of Southbank. February is also the month of cultural events including the welcome of the Lunar New Year by the Chinese community across Melbourne and celebrations by the Greeks in Lonsdale Street. To add to the festivities, the city will be wide awake for one night. So whatever event or activity suits your fancy, you'll find something for FREE in the world's most liveable city this month.
There are always FREE and fantastic events happening at the Queen Victoria Market. In addition to the Wednesday Night Market, this popular local and tourist venue will play host to a whole day of the Melbourne Barbecue Festival.
Supported by the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS), the world's largest organisation of barbecue enthusiasts with over 19,000 members globally, this FREE admission event will be a celebration of local produce, cooking and summer in Melbourne.
From 10am to 10pm, you and your family can enjoy live entertainment, demonstrations, market stalls and the southern hemisphere's first barbecue cook-off sanctioned by the KCBS at Queen Victoria Market. Visit the website for more information about the festival.
When: 10am - 10pm Where: Queen Victoria Market, 65-159 Victoria Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
After welcoming the Gregorian New Year, its time to herald the Lunar New Year in February. This cultural festival puts the spotlight on decorations, food, lion dances and fireworks in the city and surrounds like Richmond, Glen Waverly, Box Hill and many more. It is also a time for family gatherings, exchange of well wishes and prayers for a prosperous Year of the Goat. Don't miss the biggest event on the Chinese calendar in Melbourne. Check out this article for the range of cultural activities in the city and suburbs.
If you haven't discovered the creative free spirits that helped shape the character of Melbourne, then head over to the Bohemian Melbourne exhibition at the State Library of Victoria before it closes at the end of the month. This FREE exhibition in the Keith Murdoch Gallery highlights the city's bohemian legacy from 1860 till the present day with photographs and stories of visionaries, poets, artists, rebels and rock stars.
In addition to the exhibition, the Library will host FREE screenings of documentaries, shorts and features that will bring Bohemian Melbourne to life on 6 and 7 February. Bookings are required for both days. The screening on Friday will run from 6pm to 11.15pm and 12pm to 11.30pm on Saturday. Drink and light meals are available from the Bohemian Bar. Phone 03 8664 7099 or visit the website for more information and film bookings.
When: Daily 10am - 5pm
Where: State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
An outdoor arts festival has arrived at Southbank to add to the summer fun and festivities for everyone. The SummerSalt Outdoor Arts Festival running will transform the Melbourne Arts Precinct into a giant cultural playground over the weekends. You and your family can enjoy a varied day-to-night program of dance, theatre, circus, music, art and workshops in venues around Southbank, Southgate and the promenade.
Some of the arts organisations involved include Arts Centre Melbourne, The Australian Ballet, National Gallery of Victoria, Australian Centre for Contemporary Arts and many others. Best of all, most of the Festival's events and activities are FREE. Visit the website for the detailed program.
Where: Various venues in the Southbank Arts Precinct
Sydney may have its EcoXpo but the largest ecological and social sustainability festival in Australia is in Melbourne. This February, over 150,000 visitors and hundreds of organisations will come together for the Sustainable Living Festival. The festival raises awareness of sustainable living and offers the tools and solutions. You and your family can enjoy 3 weeks of FREE interactive workshops, talks, demonstrations, artworks, exhibits, markets, films and live performances. Highlights include the Transitions Film Festival, 1000 cities, Grow Show, Summer Discovery Tour and many more. The events will be held in the City Square and various venues around the city. Phone 03 9249 1888 or visit the website for the detailed program.
Its time to turn your attention to Lonsdale Street as the Greek Precinct is transformed into a FREE giant street party in February. A highlight of Greek community's calendar in Melbourne, the Antipodes Lonsdale Street Festival brings lots of food stalls, cooking demonstrations, Greek karaoke, children carnival rides and local and international performers. Phone 03 9662 2722 or visit the website for more details.
When: 12pm - late on both days
Where: 168 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Its that time of year again when Melbourne city doesn't sleep. For one night only, White Night Melbourne will transform the city's streets and venues into a celebration of music, art, film, light and food from dusk till dawn. You and your family can enjoy access to installations and performances by artists from Australia and around the world in major cultural institutions, landmark buildings, public spaces and laneways. Be prepared for a bigger event covering 9 precincts this year including areas around Yarra River, Alexandra Gardens, Royal Exhibition Building and from Victoria Street in the north to Southbank. Majority of the event is FREE. Visit the website for the full event schedule.
When: 7pm (21 Feb) to 7am (22 Feb)
Where: Various venues around Melbourne City
Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Open Kitchen - 27 & 28 Feb
While many of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival events are ticketed, you and your family can enjoy FREE admission to the Open Kitchen from Birrarung Marr to South Wharf.
The riverfront will be dotted with pop-up kitchens and outdoor bars. Highlights include the Southgate Food and Wine Fiesta, a Food Truck Jam, cooking demonstrations and a pop-up artisan bakery in Queensbridge Square and Crown's Alfresco Kitchen along the Crown Riverwalk. Visit the website for more details.
Where: Various locations from Birrarung Marr to South Wharf.