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Picking a great Melbourne festival is like shooting fish in a barrel; the options are sundry enough to keep even the staunchest festival devotee satisfied. It really just comes down to what it is that makes you feel festive.
For lovers of comedy, it’s tough to top the Melbourne International Comedy Festival as the nation’s premier marathon of mirth. For cinephiles, there’s MIFF as well as the “World’s largest short film festival” Tropfest.
For music fans, indie-centric annual shindig St Jerome’s Laneway festival – which originated in Melbourne’s Caledonian lane – is widely regarded one of Australia’s hottest tickets, and boutique indie offering Sugar Mountain Festival is an emerging force to be reckoned with.
BUT if forced to choose the best Melbourne festival, we’d go for one event that ticks all the boxes (and has the most no-nonsense name): Melbourne Festival.
Combining a world-leading mix of theatre, dance, live music, film, art and a host of free events rolling through the entire city during October, Melbourne Festival is a celebration of the dynamic cultural climate that puts Melbourne up there with global cities like San Francisco, Madrid and London.
Each year the programming team ups the stakes, with the 2015 highlights including acclaimed electronica darlings Flight Facilities live with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Toni Morrison’s landmark reimagining of Shakespeare’s Othello, Desdemona, acclaimed Israeli dance troupe Batsheva and a performance of Patti Smith’s seminal album Horses featuring local rock ‘n’ roll champions Courtney Barnett, The Drones’ Gareth Liddiard and more.