What are Melbourne's best cultural events?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Kate Newman

Melbourne boasts some of the world’s finest cultural events in fashion, art, literature and film. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ picks for the best cultural events in town:
1. Melbourne Fashion Festival. Held at the end of February each year, this stylish affair showcases the work of Australia’s top designers, including Lisa Gorman, Alex Perry and Alice McCall as well as rising stars like Dion Lee and Magdalena Velevska. Look for runway shows, beauty workshops, cultural exhibits and industry forums.
2. Next Wave Festival. Perhaps the city’s most innovative festival, this multidisciplinary event presents the work of artists ages 16 to 30 in literature, new media, performance, dance, theater and visual arts. Each festival is shaped around a conceptual theme like “no risk too great” or “the space between us wants to sing.” Buy a day pass and use it as an excuse to explore the city while traveling to events all over town. It comes every two years during May.
3. St. Kilda Film Festival. Head to St. Kilda in May for Australia’s longest-running short film festival, where you can check out movies by emerging Aussie directors as well as work from around the world.  
4. Melbourne Writers Festival. Held each year at the end of August, this impressive literary festival has drawn big names like Dave Eggers, J.M. Coetzee, Annie Proulx, Isabel Allende, Roddy Doyle, Zadie Smith, Bill Bryson and Margaret Atwood. Join in for readings, workshops and panels across the city.
5. Melbourne Fringe Festival. This independent arts festival at the end of September is known for its quirky productions of theater, comedy, performance art, digital art, cabaret and circus. Venues range from formals spots like the Melbourne Museum to tiny bars, theaters and even subway stations.
6. Melbourne Stencil Festival. Melbourne is often cited as the world’s best city for stencil and street art, so it’s only fitting that there should be a festival to honor this edgy, often political art form. Check out work from around the world at gallery venues and take a graffiti tour of the laneways in Fitzroy. 

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