Melbourne gets a bad reputation in winter – with wind, rain and fog, sometimes the weather makes it hard to be outdoors even with a steaming latte in your hands. But with the announcement of an extravagant new winter arts festival coming to the city in 2020, soon you will have a new reason to venture out into Melbourne’s chilly winter nights.

The as-yet-unnamed festival will actually be the next incarnation of two of Melbourne’s most iconic events, the long-running Melbourne International Arts Festival and White Night. This new festival will be brought to life by not one, but two artistic directors, Hannah Fox and Gideon Obarzanek. It’s the first time two artistic directors have joined forces on these events, but both Fox and Obarzanek have plenty of experience. Fox has a background in large-scale, innovative live art and has worked on events including Dark Mofo and collaborations with Banksy. Obarzanek is the founder of the acclaimed Chunky Move dance company, an award-winning choreographer and chair of the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

Fire Gardens by Compagnie Carabosse at MIAF 2018

“We’re aiming to create something that doesn’t exist yet… We’ve been given the opportunity to really rethink it from the ground up. We’re not approaching it as a fusing of the Melbourne International Arts Festival and White Night, but really trying to think about it as an entirely new festival” says Fox.

Get ready for some engaging and immersive experiences to come out of the new festival. Fox and Obarsanek have said they are envisioning large, ceremonial-style events with elements of ancient rituals and contemporary expressions of counterculture. With the inaugural festival over a year away, they will have plenty of time to curate a festival full of exciting and challenging art, cementing Melbourne’s status as the cultural capital of Australia – even in the depths of winter!

If you can’t wait until 2020 to soak up some of Melbourne’s best artistic endeavours, you don’t need to worry. The final White Night will be held from August 22-24 2019, while the last Melbourne International Arts Festival will run from October 2-20 2019.


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