Back in the 1980’s St Kilda was widely recognised as a seedy suburb of Melbourne that attracted society’s undesirable people and activities. Melbourne Artist Late Albert Tucker considered St Kilda as “a dynamic place where good and evil worked alongside”. In the 60’s and 70’s Melbourne media ran headlines such as “streets of hell” and “devil’s playground” and documentaries were made showing people buying drugs at Fitzroy Street.
St Kilda festival was introduced in 1980 to change the public perception of the area and to showcase that there are some beautiful and very positive aspect to community life in St Kilda. In the 80’s the intention was only to celebrate the local area but today music is the central programmatic driver of the festival. Over the years, the suburb of St Kilda transformed itself into a highly desirable place to visit, live and work and epitomises Australian’s deep connection to beach culture.
The festival is focused on the iconic foreshore of Port Phillip Bay. The first St Kilda festival on March 1980, coincided with St Kilda’s 125th anniversary as a city and was designed to celebrate St Kilda’s local artists, writers, musicians and entertainers and the history of the city. In its fourth decade, today St Kilda Festival is Australia’s largest music festival. There is diversity in music to ensure that there is something for everyone. This 9 days Festival is held in the summer month of February every year.
The festival opens with a touch and tribute to the aboriginal history of the land, ‘Yalukit Wilum Ngargee: People Place Gathering’, provides a platform for contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Straits artists to showcase their talents. This event attracts around 10,000 people and is held at St Kilda’s O’Donnell Gardens.
Opening ceremony is followed by a range of activities like films, music and comedy act by emerging local talents in select venues in the coming days.
The main event of the festival is the Festival Sunday’’ held on the second Sunday of every February. With an attendance of mere 5000 in 1980, today around 40,000 people flock to the foreshore to witness Australian musicians entertaining the crowds all day long. The festival starts at 10am in the morning and last till 10pm at night all along Acland Street, The Esplanade and the Foreshore. The music programs are designed to be diverse to attract people of all tastes.
Along the beach, many other activities and programs are arranged for visitor entertainment like fishing competitions, dance demonstrations, parades, craftwork shops and food outlets.
Venue: St Kilda Foreshore