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Melbourne's Top 24 Festivals in 2017

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by Barry J (subscribe)
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Published January 5th 2017
The Best Things in Life are Festive
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(by White Night)


Why is Melbourne the most liveable city in the world? It could be the culture, coffee, sport, art, food or fun that makes Melbourne great. Find out with these festivals celebrating the best of Melbourne, listed in date order.

White Night Melbourne - 7pm Saturday 18 February to 7am Sunday 19 February 2017 Free Entry
On a warm summer weekend, our historic landmarks are painted with a kaleidoscope of light while musicians and dancers perform throughout the city. The Winter Night light installations beam creative animations, using our public buildings as a backdrop. Highlights include Precipitation and Enlightenment at the State Library, Dancing in the Streets at Flinders St Station, Innocence Returned at Fed Square and Flames and Fantasy at Melbourne Museum.

Lonsdale Street Festival - Saturday 25 February to Sunday 26 February 2017 Free Entry
Melbourne's massive Greek celebration returns for its 30th year, bringing the best of Greek food, music, art, craft and activities to Londsale St. While musicians perform on 3 stages, children can enjoy the playground attractions.

Moomba - Friday 10 March to Monday 13 March Free Entry
Australia's biggest community festival fills the shoreline of the Yarra River with music in the main arena, skate and BMX competitions, water sports, food, art and novelties at pop-up stalls, a buoyant parade of colourful floats and the lunatics defying gravity in the Birdman Rally.

Food and Wine Festival 31 March 9 April 2017 Free and Ticketed Events
Over 250,000 visitors bring their appetites to 200 food-focused events hosted by our favourite culinary creators. In previous years, Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and Heston Blumenthal have thrown shrimps on the barbie. Events are held in restaurants and cafes throughout Melbourne, including many of the hidden haunts tucked in our laneways. Read the menu here.

Melbourne Fashion Festival 1 19 March 2017 Free and Ticketed Events
Fashionistas frock up! Runway shows feature the latest dynamic fashions by local and international designers, alongside beauty workshops, seminars, networking events and parties.

Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show - 29 March - 2 April 2017 Ticketed Entry
Green thumbs get ready! This show brings the latest gardening lifestyle trends into Melbourne, providing tips to bring the magic to your own backyard (or at least enjoy the natural spectacle at the show). There are spectacular, fragrant floral creations, workshops with landscapers and horticulturists, stalls offering flowers, tools and books, and twilight, sculpture and boutique exhibitions.

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(by Moomba)


Melbourne International Comedy Festival 23 March 23 April 2017 Free and Ticketed Events
One of the world's biggest laughfests fills Melbourne with chuckles, guffaws, giggles and the odd snort of amusement as the best Aussie and international comedians tickle our funny bones with their latest comedy gold. Performers will include Arj Barker, Bob Franklin, Cal Wilson, Jimeoin, Ruby Wax, Soothplayers Improv Shakespeare and Wil Anderson.

Next Wave May 2017 Free and Ticketed Events
Art with risk Next Wave offers new artists a platform to realise their creative dreams, challenging our cultural preconceptions and inviting reflective discussion. In 2016, this important festival hosted events where 75% were led by female artists and 30% by Indigenous artists There was also a dedicated program for writers with a disability.

Buddha's Day and Multicultural Festival 14 15 May 2017 Free Entry
In Federation Square, the Buddha's Birthday is celebrated in a spiritual festival promoting the best aspects of multiculturalism. During this weekend in May, a variety of cultures and faiths are invited to host art, music and prayer events. There are workshops in calligraphy and cooking and stalls serving delicious vegetarian dishes, gently promoting the compassionate First Buddhist Precept (no killing).

Melbourne International Jazz Festival - 2017 Free and Ticketed Events
In Jazz clubs, recital halls and arts centres across Melbourne, the free-styling energy of saxophones, guitars and trumpets fills the air with joyous jazz. Highlights include the celebration of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong with Patti Austin and James Morrison, and Armenian pianist, Tigran Hamasyan, performing tracks from his album An Ancient Observer.

Good Food and Wine 2 4 June 2017 Free and Ticketed Events
Still hungry after the foodie festival in March? See more culinary talents behind the hotplate, sample ciders, wines and beers, and taste-test sweet and savoury samples in the Convention and Exhibition Centre just follow the mouth-watering aromas.

Your Perfect Day 25 26 June 2017 Ticketed Event
If Married at First Sight has inspired you to elope with a complete stranger, prepare for the special day with ultimate wedding plan at this winter festival. Choose the perfect gown, flowers, cake and car to make your fairytale wedding day a reality.

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(by Melbourne Intl. Flower and Garden Show)


Mind Body Spirit Festival 9 12 June 2017 Free and Ticketed Events
Recharge your health and wellbeing with natural therapies, cooking demonstrations, dance performances, seminars and workshops for mental and physical health, meditation sessions and delicious superfoods. For believers in the esoteric, there are also psychic readings.

Run Melbourne 30 July 2017 Ticketed Event
Break the road rules as you run in the middle of our city streets, passing our landmarks on a 5km, 10km or 21.1km marathon. Thousands of casual runners will join the massive fun run, starting in Fed Square, spurred toward the finish line by live entertainment, their charity fundraising and the 'runner's high'.

Open House Melbourne - July 2017 Free and Ticketed Events
In Grand Designs, we've watched as the dream homes are painstakingly constructed, resolving the financial, regulatory and practical hurdles to eventually move in. Some of our finest homes, offices and historic buildings are opened to the public to discover the best of Melbourne's architecture and design. In 2016, buildings open to explore included St Paul's Cathedral, Bishopscourt, Rupertswood Mansion, Circus Oz HQ, Triple R Studios and the Dreamcatcher.

Melbourne International Film Festival 3 20 August 2017 Free and Ticketed Events
In a city where the first feature film was created, movies are a big deal. Since the 1950s, MIFF showcases new local films and international film premieres. In 2016, audiences selected South Korean The Handmaiden, Iranian The Salesman, Captain Fantastic with Viggo Mortensen and Aussie documentary Zach's Ceremony as some of their favourites.

Melbourne Writers' Festival 25 August to 3 September 2017 Free and Ticketed Events
Readers turn the pages as quickly as the authors can write them at our largest literature festival. There are discussions and workshops to engage us with the ideas probed by some of the most talented international and local writers. In 2016, Yann Martel, author of The High Mountains of Portugal and Life of Pi, Anna Funder, Sir Michael Marmot, Christos Tsiolkas and Liane Moriarty were guests of the festival.

Melbourne Spring Fashion Week August 2017 Free and Ticketed Events
Just as butterflies emerge in a brilliant flash of colour from dull cocoons, vibrant fashions are on show as the energising warmth of spring defrosts the city. Dozens of local and international designers bring their latest fashions to catwalks and curated exhibits as wardrobes are refreshed in the retail hub and the makeover workshops.

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(by Run Melbourne)


Melbourne Day August 2017 Free Entry
In 1835, the Enterprize sailed from Tasmania to settle on the banks of the Yarra River, establishing a colony which was named Melbourne 2 years later. To celebrate the birth of the City of Melbourne, enjoy the official flag raising, concert, public talks, music and regatta.

Royal Melbourne Show 23 September 3 October 2017 Free and Ticketed Events
This show brings the paddock to the city with farm animals, including cows, alpacas, pigs and chickens, fresh produce and comfort-food creations, woodchopping competitions, stunt performances. There are showbags and amusement ride for children and art and craft and cooking workshops for adults.

Melbourne Fringe September 2017 Free and Ticketed Events
Challenge your artistic comfort zone on the boundaries of the conventional with our most dynamic artists, musicians, comedians, circus performers, actors and dancers entertaining captive audiences. In 2016, from over 294 events, comedian Sammy J, musician Adam Page and circus act Sediment were award winners.

Melbourne Festival 0522 October 2017 Free and Ticketed Events
In one of our most creative festivals, theatre, dance, circus acts, music and visual art are featured to challenge the visitor to invoke positive change in themselves, their communities and our world.

Melbourne Music Week November 2017 Free and Ticketed Events
For 9 days in November, hundreds of musicians setup in over 40 venues, performing exciting sets of contemporary dance, jazz, rock and pop music.

Christmas Festival November, December 2017 Free and Ticketed Events
Merry Christmas! Tis the season to be jolly as Melbourne celebrates the most wonderful time of the year. Carollers, Christmas lights, window displays, massive trees topped with twinkling stars, dozens of Santas, plates of cool seafood, warm roasts and sweet desserts, peaceful times with family and generosity to those less fortunate are just some of the many joys to look forward to if you're in Melbourne for Christmas.


Which Melbourne festival are you most looking forward to in 2017? Please let us know with a comment.
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Why? Enjoy the best of Festive Melbourne in 2017
When: All year!
Where: Throughout Melbourne
Your Comment
So great to have a list of dates for the whole year. Makes my planning very easy.
by Jojo.a.gogo (score: 2|153) 226 days ago
What a great list, Barry! You've done well, compiling for the WHOLE year!
by Elaine (score: 3|3985) 229 days ago
We also love the Spring Fling Street Festival in North Melbourne every October!
by Emma McCashney (score: 0|4) 194 days ago
Great list, however just a wee correction the International Flower and Garden Show is a ticketed event, not free entry.
by b.wol (score: 0|6) 227 days ago
The Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show is not actually free, you might have to amend your posting, sorry
by veron (score: 0|8) 226 days ago
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