Dive into our top picks for Melbourne’s weirdest festival.
In the year of the impossible, Melbourne Fringe Festival have delivered an ambitious and ground-breaking program full of weird, wonderful, thought-provoking and boundary-pushing art to tickle your fancy and alter your reality.
Undoubtedly the city’s weirdest arts and culture festival, this year will see more than 250 shows taking place either outdoors, digitally, in the home, via audio, behind glass or over the phone over 18 days this November. Spanning theatre, comedy, visual art, music, film, experimental, dance, cabaret and social events, the ingenuity and creativity of artists are in full swing as the festival presents a program that is as impressively innovative and vibrant as ever, while still adhering to health restrictions.
We know it’s no easy feat for music lovers wading through all these productions to find one that piques your interest. If you don’t know where to start, here are some of our favourites from the music category, plus a couple of extra goodies!
Big Day In
For something incredibly unique that’s sure to make you smile, Big Day In sees Fringe music legend Ian Pidd create work inspired by the true story of his parent’s COVID-19 diagnosis while they were in an aged-care home. Recovering in isolation, Ian brought the music to them, playing outside their window. For Big Day In, Pidd have prepared a live band to perform outside aged-care homes across Melbourne, to residents who still remain isolated as the rest of the city emerges from a fever dream. You’ll be able to watch the band beaming the good vibes through the windows via a livestream on the Melbourne Fringe Facebook page.
Find out more information here and check it out from November 24-29.
Trigger Happy Visualised
A cutting-edge fusion of technology, music, and visual arts, Aussie drummer, composer, sound designer and instrument designer Alon Ilsar delivers an audio-visual feast with Trigger Happy: Visualised. The 60-minute show sees Alon working together with visual artist and programmer Matt Hughes, who digitally visualises Alon’s music from Comatone & Foley’s Trigger Happy live. Utilising his custom design audio-visual instrument, the AirSticks, visuals are projected onto a transparent screen separating Alon from the audience and the result is simply mesmerising.
A special night of audio-visual madness where Alon seemingly pulls shapes, colours, and textures out of thin air with hypnotic, pulsing beats, using his body as an invisible drum kit, we guarantee you haven’t seen anything like this before.
This is another ‘choose your price’ event and runs November 13-22. Find out more here.
If you’re looking for a mesmerising, family-friendly, musical roving experience, ‘Wave Form’ is the ultimate combination of stilt-walking and opera singing. With a queer-friendly, genre-traversing take on classical music, Perth vocalist Aria Scarlett captures audiences with her superb voice and visually daring and engaging performances on stilts. Topped off with music by Perth composer Gaëtan Schurrer, the 20-minute performance is a choose-your-price digital event that you can watch from the comfort of your own home. Opera and stiltwalking, this is peak Fringe content.
You can view the event online from November 14-28. More information here.
RECKONING Te Waiata Paihere Wairua – The Sounds of Woven Souls
Fringe continues its commitment to celebrating leading and emerging First Nations artists this year, with a range of boundary-pushing work taking place across platforms and cultures. RECKONING Te Waiata Paihere Wairua -The Sounds of Woven Souls is just one of those works and is a must-see at this year’s festival.
The powerful presentation is a cross-cultural, multi-artform performance work fusing indigenous cultures from Aotearoa, New Zealand and Te Whēnua Moemoeā (Land of the Dreamtime) Australia. Six diverse artists – Samuel Gaskin, Candace Lorrae, Kristel Kickett (The Merindas), Piri Neho, Paula Barbee and Mahana Maihi-Taniora – combine personal stories of their ancestors with original songwriting which explores the power of connecting to their indigenous bloodlines.
In what began as an exploration into what may happen if we merged indigenous language and culture from Aus and NZ with sound healing and a pop music producer, this piece quickly turned into something much more powerful.
Recorded live at Hamer Hall, the performance is available online 24-29 November. Find out more info here.
Club Fringe at Home: Fringe-o-Vision
Fringe’s own take on the world-famous event, ‘Fringe-o-Vision’ sees performers representing their postcodes instead of countries in this Eurovision-esque performance spectacular. Hosted by Otto & Astrid from the ‘best band in the world’ Die Roten Punkte and featuring all original material, celebrity judges; Leea Nanos, Victoria Falconer and Joel Bray, PLUS special guest performances by sparkly Fringe friends, this night-of-nights will pit suburb against suburb in a broadcast battle royale for the ages.
The livestream goes down tomorrow, Saturday November 14, from 9:30pm giving you the perfect excuse to get cosy, open a bottle of wine and get ready to vote for your favourite. Check out the details here.
We also recommend checking out:
Losing Touch: This is one of the first in-person events taking place post-Melbourne lockdown. Going down at the Abbotsford Convent on November 25, Losing Touch is a performance artwork investigating touch, distance and technology created via a long-distance collaboration between composer Antonia Barnett-McIntosh and performance artist Sara Cowdell.
Tell Me Something I don’t Know: Self-improvement for the iso-fatigued, this event brings together some of Melbourne’s adventurous creatives to help us upskill. For five minutes each day of the Festival, a different Fringe artist (including Ivan Aristeguieta, Clementine Ford, Jude Perl, Geraldine Quinn, Malia Wash and more) will teach something new, from dance and makeup lessons to how to reverse park. Tune into the Melbourne Fringe Facebook page daily at 1pm for these virtual tutorials and grow yourself without the pains.
The People of Cabaret: Going down across three dates on November 10, 17 and 24, the events will showcase cabaret artists from home, interstate and across the globe. The People of Cabaret collective aims to uplift, celebrate and empower brilliant performers of colour from the worlds of cabaret, burlesque and circus.
Trash Talk: If you’re well and truly over 2020 then check out Trash Talk by the multi-award-winning cabaret dynamo Tash York. After a year where the bin has literally been out more than she has, Trash Talk is ready to take the stage after a socially distant year of stewing in her own thoughts. 12-15 November.
That’s all barely scraping the surface of what’s to come with this year’s festival program.
Discover the unexpected at Melbourne Fringe 2020 from 12-29 November. To view the full list of events on sale now, head to melbournefringe.com.au.