Sleepless Festival returns this May, turning Footscray’s hidden alleys, unused buildings and coolest venues into a music and art playground

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Sleepless Festival returns this May, turning Footscray’s hidden alleys, unused buildings and coolest venues into a music and art playground

Words by Staff Writer

Independent music and arts festival Sleepless Festival is set to take over Melbourne’s inner west this May with a vibrant showcase of music, performance and art and installation.

Sleepless’ 2024 festival will build on its success in 2023 by celebrating the depth of culture and talent existing in Melbourne’s west, and highlighting the suburb’s potential as a thriving arts community with a vibrant nightlife.

Troy Rainbow, Artistic Director, Sleepless Festival, says: “Sleepless is our beacon of hope for the world-class talent coming out of Melbourne’s West. It’s a tough time for the live entertainment industry, but we know that Aussies want to be part of a culture that supports the arts.

Sleepless Festival 2024

  • Fri 3rd May 2024, 6:00 pm – Sun 19th May
  • Sleepless Community Arts Hub, Footscray
  • Find out more here

Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

“By making Sleepless as accessible as possible, we’re giving music and arts lovers the opportunity to support the incredible talent right here in our own backyard for the third year running.”

Kicking off on 4 May, the two-week festival supported by Maribyrnong City Council and Moondog Brewery will feature a diverse lineup of immersive experiences, theatre, comedy, film screenings and captivating art installations held in unlikely places.

The Sleepless Festival 2024 program at a glance:

  • Melbourne Nocturnal Film Festival (MNFF) is Melbourne’s offbeat short film festival. Taking place over three days, MNFF celebrates weird and wonderful shorts created by Australian filmmakers
  • Perhaps it’ll be the Death of Me, a thought-provoking 24-hour shopfront performance piece from Lady Mohawk
  • An exclusive collaboration between local musicians SXSEA X Big Bao
  • Improv ensemble Melbourne Trap Orchestra play its high-energy greatest hits at the Kindred Bandroom
  • In a cross-cultural conversation between Indian classical music and jazz, Raga Saga will explore the depth of improv
  • A multi-channel video visualisation, Null Sum by emerging artist Blake Dearman will present a debate about the legitimacy and ethics of AI
  • Astra Choir will immerse audiences in a mobile concert that will journey from the chambers of commerce to the halls of higher powers
  • Local scent artist Erin Adams will display origami seed pods in her work Scent Pod, releasing the joyous fragrances of lemon-scented eucalyptus distilled from Footscray trees
  • Footscray Records will play host to cowpunk band GOATLAW and angular post-punk disco Carpal Tunnel for one night only
  • The immersive installation Machine Dreams by Nick Clark will challenge participants to reconsider their creative and emotional connections with machines
  • Natalie Blom’s Everyday Alchemy presents experimental analogue photography, created using household items along with Phở broth and water from the Maribyrnong River

Some events are free and some are ticketed, and bookings are essential. “Footscray has it all,” commented Rainbow. “From its diverse community to vibrant nightlife and cultural events, Footscray is Melbourne’s best-kept secret, hidden in plain sight.”

“We have big plans for Sleepless and can’t wait to see what the future holds as we continue to collaborate with the most talented creatives Melbourne has to offer, both in the years to come, and this May when the festival comes to life. So grab your friends, get your tickets and we’ll see you in the West!”

Sleepless Festival Footscray runs from 4 to 19 May 2024 at locations across the suburb. For more information and to book, visit