Victoria scores new cultural festival


An inaugural Victorian cultural festival will rise next year to replace two major events and tap into the fountain of local talent.

The new event RISING will combine art, music and ceremony in the heart of the Melbourne from May 26 to June 6, 2021.

It will replace White Night and Melbourne International Arts Festival on the city’s major event calendar next year.

Co-artistic directors Gideon Obarzanek and Hannah Fox want the festival to create artistic and social experiences for people.

“RISING has been conceived to showcase Melbourne’s unique spirit and its diverse culture of artists, musicians, choreographers, writers, theatre makers, designers and hospitality coming together under one roof,” Ms Fox told AAP.

Given COVID-19 times, Ms Fox said there’s now “fertile ground to be working with artists to build something new for Melbourne”.

“This moment has forced us to think deeply about the future of festivals and about how we can build greater sustainability,” she said.

“It challenges us to champion local artists without being parochial and to find new ways to stay connected internationally.”

The event was planned for 2020 but has been pushed back to next year.

Instead, $2 million from the budget for this year’s planned festival will be spent on Victorian artists to work on events for the 2021 program.

“RISING is set to play an important role as we emerge from this crisis, reigniting the exciting creative offering Victoria is known for and rebooting our visitor economy,” Creative Industries Minister Martin Foley said in a statement.

“While this festival will be global in its ambition and scope, Victorian artists and creativity will be at its heart.”

The event has been established with support from Creative Victoria and Visit Victoria.

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