Arts & Culture

Melbourne to welcome new festival with art and music focus

Melbourne is set to welcome a new city-wide festival during the winter months in Australia, with 17 days of art, technology and music. 

Now or Never will take over the Royal Exhibition Building and will feature performances from local artists and international headliners.

The Royal Exhibition Building has been unveiled as one of the festival’s major venues, marking the first time a large-scale live music performance will be held in the historic building for more than two decades.

Artists such as American singer, songwriter and producer Kelela will perform with support from R&B musician, serpentwithfeet. There will also be a club night co-hosted by Untitled Group, headlined by German house and techno producer Âme with additional performances from Axel Bowman, Melbourne native CC:Disco!, Ayebatonye and Brisbane and Yuggera woman, dameeeela.

There will also be a sensory experience by English electronic duo Autechre, which will be accompanied by a psychedelic 3D audio-visual experience by British artist Max Cooper. Giant Swan from Bristol in the UK and UK-based artist Actress will host an electronic show, while Orchestra Victoria will take on US composer Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians, accompanied by a 16-metre-high commissioned video work by multimedia artist Jesse Woolston.

The Royal Exhibition Building will also play host to Never Permanent, presented by the internationally acclaimed design festival, Semi Permanent. A line-up of keynote speakers and panel sessions will be revealed in due course. Now or Never will also feature immersive art installations at venues and locations across Melbourne between August 17 and September 2.

Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said: “For the first time in more than two decades, Now or Never will bring large-scale live music back to the spectacular Royal Exhibition Building – with an unmissable line-up that celebrates our incredible homegrown talent, alongside ground-breaking work from international artists.

“Now or Never will be an unmissable addition to our bustling events calendar this winter – cementing Melbourne’s reputation as Australia’s cultural capital, providing a boost to the local economy and supporting jobs.”

City Activation portfolio lead, Councillor Roshena Campbell, added: “Now or Never will explore the intersection of art, ideas, sound and technology – and we’re so excited to announce the Royal Exhibition Building as one of our major event hosts.

“Set to attract more than 200,000 visitors to the city, this inaugural festival will add to our vibrant creative scene and invite even more visitors to explore the best of what our wonderful city has to offer.”

The full line-up will be revealed later this month.