What's On

RISING 2023: Everything You Need To See, Do And Experience

By Rick Stephens and Simon Cassar

Federation square lit up in blue for Rising Festival Melbourne.

Just shy of a year ago, Melbourne's RISING took the city by a cross-cultural storm with around two weeks of electric events, gigs, performances and experiences, and the good news is that they're officially returning for 2023. Dates have been confirmed—for Wednesday 7 June through to Sunday 18 June with 185 events that will feature more than 400 artists. 

What To See & Do At RISING Festival


A favourite of RISING's debut was the eclectic assembly of musical acts, this year is poised to be even bigger with a plethora of local and international acts taking to the stage over the two-week festival. 

Global festival headliner and groover Thundercat will be taking over the Forum, as will celestial producer, Flying Lotus, coming in from Japan is the beloved Shintaro Sakamoto who'll play alongside Keigo Oyamada AKA Cornelius. For a punk and grunge-filled rager, The Damned will engulf the Forum in their heady fuzzed up tones alongside Witch (featuring J Mascis). And to book end the stellar 2023 program? Hip hop and rap icon Madlib will be playing the closing party at The Forum on Saturday 17 June—tickets on sale now.

Meanwhile, kicking off is the festival exclusive, 'Euphoria', It comes from Berlin-based artist and filmmaker Julian Rosefeldt. The immersive cinematic experience will take over Melbourne Town Hall, where 25 towering screens envelop the interior, screening a multi-channel piece that portrays 3000 years of greed.

To make the piece whole, Rosefeldt has enlisted the likes of the Brooklyn Youth Choir and five duelling jazz drummers as part of the score. Meanwhile,  Cate Blanchett, Snoop Dogg and Ayn Rand will all feature in the experimental film experience.

Transforming the disused and deserted upper levels of Flinders Street Station, 'Shadow Spirit' will be a complete re-imagination of the space; filled with an extensive collection of artwork from over 30 First Nations artists. Led by curator and Yorta Yorta woman, Kimberley Moulton, this RISING is set to be a pillar of the entire event with a showcase of stories from First Peoples through performance, visual art and media, music and food. 

'10,000 Kazoos' was bound to raise some eyebrows when RISING put out the call looking for punters earlier this year, but now we finally know why. This takeover event of Federation square will be a mega collection of novice musicians each contributing to a free-flowing artistic soundscape, a kazoo symphony if you will.

St Pauls Cathedral in the city will play host to 'Night Trade' the unofficial headquarters of RISING. The precinct will be a homage to the diverse cultural mix of Melbourne with culinary-forward feasts and hawker-style dining courtesy of Free to Feed, purpose-built sculpture and artwork from Pablo and Efrain Del Hierro (Poncili Creacion) will transform the building and outside surroundings and live performances will include the likes of ESA and Debby Friday

A highlight of the inaugural festival, the RISING Ice Rink is returning, this time around you'll skate in the midst of the Birrarung Marr, it's poised to be just as visually spectacular with a blanket of glowing spheres, fairy lights and more. 

The Fitzroy Gardens are set to trascend into an immersive soundscape with 'Consort Of The Moon', a joint twilight venture from Genevieve Lacey and Erkki Velthei, the ethereal audio will echo throughout the gardens. 

Artist and Archibald finalist Matthew Clarke will debut his 23-metre high wallabies sculptures, the mammoth structures will be placed throughout the banks of the Birraung/Yarra river. 

On the local front, highlights include Paul Kelly dosing out the ballads for two shows at the Melbourne recital centre, and the MSO is teaming up with Senior Yolŋu man Don Wininba Ganambarr for Buŋgul. The collaboration performance is a contemporary rendition of Dr G. Yunupiŋu’s album Djarimirri (Child of the Rainbow), which will be performed alongside dancers at Hamer Hall. 

What To Eat & Drink At RISING

Along with the theatrics of RISING's extensive event lineup and large-scale installations, the culinary arm of the festival is undoubtedly as weird and wonderful. Taking place at St Paul's Cathedral, Night Trade is the designated food and drink destination for the 12-day celebration. 

On the cards throughout is the very necessary Negroni tank from Archie Rose which is loaded with 11,000 cocktails, a stack of ice-cold tins from Bodriggy Brewing and hawker-style stalls the fiery Filipino BBQ of Hoy Pinoy alongside social enterprise Free To Feed who'll be dishing up a multicultural array of cuisine from Ukraine, Sri Lanka to Egypt. Also returning is the famed RISING Rink, this time popping up at Birrarung Marr, punters will be able to circumvent the ice and then pit stop with boozy hot chocolates, wood-fired pizzas and Pie Thief pies. 

There's plenty more to explore at this year's RISING, head over here for the full program

Check out all the food news happening in Melbourne here

Image credit: RISING (supplied)

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