Melbourne's Top 24 Festivals in 2018

Melbourne's Top 24 Festivals in 2018

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Posted 2018-01-08 by Barry Jfollow


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.

  • Lonsdale Street Festival - Saturday 10 February to Sunday 11 February 2018 – Free Entry
  • Melbourne's massive Greek celebration returns for its 30th year, bringing the best of Greek street food, music, art, craft and activities to Lonsdale St. While musicians perform on 3 stages, adults can dance the Zorba as children enjoy the playground attractions. View the program at the Lonsdale Street Festival website.

  • White Night Melbourne - 7pm Saturday 17 February to 7am Sunday 18 February 2018 – 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 will feature at the State Library, Flinders St Station, Fed Square and Melbourne Museum. We'll experience 4 white nights in 2018, with Ballarat in March, Bendigo in September and Geelong in October. View the program at the White Night Melbourne website.

  • Melbourne Fashion Festival – 1 to 18 March 2018 – Free and Ticketed Events
  • Fashionistas frock up! In Australia's largest fashion event, runway shows feature the latest dynamic fashions by local and international designers, alongside beauty workshops, seminars, networking events and parties. View the program at the Melbourne Fashion Festival website.

  • Moomba - Friday 9 March to Monday 12 March – Free Entry
  • Australia's biggest community festival fills the shoreline of the Yarra River with music in a 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. View the program at the Moomba website.

  • Food and Wine Festival – 16 March to 25 March 2018 – 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, Guy Grossi, 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. Alternatively, escape the city for the world's longest lunch . Read the menu here .



  • Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show - 21 March to 25 March 2018 – Ticketed Event
  • 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. View the program at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show website.

  • Melbourne International Comedy Festival – 28 March to 22 April 2018 – 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 , Dave Hughes , Jimeoin , Ross Noble , Aunty Donna and Wil Anderson . View the program at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival website.

  • Next Wave – May 2018 – 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. View the program at the Next Wave website.

  • Buddha's Day and Multicultural Festival – 19 to 20 May 2018 – 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). View the program at the Buddha's Day and Multicultural Festival website.

  • Melbourne International Jazz Festival - 1 to 10 June 2018 – 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 in 2017 included the celebration of Ella Fitzgerland and Louis Armstrong with Patti Austin and James Morrison, and Armenian pianist, Tigran Hamasyan, performing tracks from his album An Ancient Observer. View the program at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival website.



  • Good Food and Wine – 1 to 3 June 2018 – 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. Plan your experience at the Good Food and Wine website.

  • Mind Body Spirit Festival – 8 to 11 June 2018 – Free and Ticketed Events
  • Recharge your health and wellbeing with natural therapies, cooking demonstrations, dance performances, seminars and workshops for mental and physical health, mindful meditation sessions and delicious superfoods. For believers in the esoteric, there are also psychic readings. Plan your experience at the Mind Body Spirit Festival website.

  • Open House Melbourne - 28, 29 July 2018 – 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. Over 200 of our finest homes, offices and historic buildings are opened to the public to discover the best of Melbourne's architecture and design. In 2017, buildings open to explore included the Sun Theatre, Government House, St Patrick's Cathedral, the Good Shepherd Chapel, the Rupertswood Mansion, Temperance Hall. View the program at the Open House Melbourne website.

  • Run Melbourne – 29 July 2018 – 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 '. View the program at the Run Melbourne website.

  • Melbourne International Film Festival – 2 to 19 August 2018 – 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 2017, audiences watched over 350 films, with eclectic subjects ranging from high-octane music and virtual reality to true crime and animal docos. View the program at the Melbourne International Film Festival website.



  • Melbourne Writers' Festival – 24 August to 2 September 2018 – 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 previous years, Yann Martel (The High Mountains of Portugal and Life of Pi), Anna Funder (Stasiland), Joyce Carol Oates (A Book of American Martyrs), Christos Tsiolkas (The Slap, Barracuda) and Liane Moriarty (Big Little Lies) were guests of the festival. View the program at the Melbourne Writers' Festival website.

  • Melbourne Fashion Week – August 2018 – 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. View the program at the Melbourne Fashion Week website.

  • Melbourne Day – 30 August 2018 – 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. View the program at the Melbourne Day website.

  • Melbourne Fringe – 13 to 30 September 2018 – 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 2017, from hundreds of events, comedian The Travelling Sisters: NOO SHO , children's act ONLY A YEAR and circus act The Man In The Mail were award winners. View the program at the Melbourne Fringe website.

  • Royal Melbourne Show – 22 September to 2 October 2018 – 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. View the program at the Royal Melbourne Show website.



  • Melbourne Festival – 03 to 21 October 2018 – 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. View the program at the Melbourne Festival website.

  • Melbourne Cup Carnival – 3 to 10 November 2018 – Free and Ticketed Events
  • While the other states pretend to work on Melbourne Cup Day, we can revel in the public holiday festivities during the race that stops the nation. Arrive early at Flemington to claim your spot beside Hollywood A-listers in the VIP pavilions, in a sea of fascinators and bespoke suits, sipping champagne and collecting your winnings from penniless bookmakers. Plan your week, which also includes Derby Day, Oaks Day and Stakes Day, at the Flemington Racecourse website.

  • Melbourne Music Week – November 2018 – Free and Ticketed Events
  • For 9 days in November, hundreds of musicians strum, perform in over 40 venues, performing exciting sets of contemporary dance, jazz, rock and pop music. View the program at the Melbourne Music Week website.

  • Christmas Festival – November, December 2018 – 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. Whether you've been naughty or nice, join the fun at the Christmas Festival website.
    Which Melbourne festival are you most looking forward to in 2018? Please let us know with a comment.

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