Moomba is no longer the daggy festival that your parents dragged you along to as a child. Sure, there are still fireworks, a stupid amount of floats in some kind of Ferris Buller-esque street parade down Swanston Street, and a lot of small children riding the sugar high, but there’s also a butt-load of very good music.
The annual Moomba family festival kicks off with a burlesque performance by Melbourne favourites Finucane & Smith. Expect circus heroics, hula hooping, disco and cabaret all under the Moomba big top. This is a free family friendly concert. Fri Mar 8
2. The Birdman Rally
As our rather excellent history of Moomba will tell you, this is a Melbourne tradition that's old as the hills. Or as old as 1976, anyway, which is old around here. Competitors with flying contraptions launch themselves off a platform and into the murky Yarra River. Health fears briefly put the competition into hibernation, but it returned in 2004 and continues. That’s despite Victoria’s Baillieu Government abandoning a previous election promise to make the Yarra swim-able – instead, competitors are offered mouthwash to combat E. coli contamination. Good luck to you all, we say.
From Saturday to Monday there'll be an intense programme of world-class water sports: slalom, tricks, wakeboarding and more. Secure a spot on the banks of the Yarra for some up-close oohing and ahhing. And here's our interview with Nick Adams, who'll be competing in the Men's Slalom.
Sat 9: All the Colours; Yung Warriors; Battleships; Strange Talk; Ball Park Music and more.
Sun 10: Gossling, Mark Seymour, Dubmarine and more.
Mon 11: Bob Evans, Kasey Chamers, Ruby Boots, Jordie Lane, Electric Empire and more.
We reckon the real gems are in the 'cultural quarter' though. Here you can unearth swing groups, orchestras, Ethio-jazz, gospel, American roots rock and Latin beats. A festival's a great time to immerse yourself in music you wouldn't ordinarily think of experiencing.
5. The Moomba Parade
'Melbourne is creative' is the theme of this year's procession down St Kilda Road – and by golly, Time Out is wishing we'd had the foresight to make a float. Never mind if you didn't either – you can help craft the 'People's Float' by turning up to Alexander Gardens between 11am and 6pm on the Saturday and Sunday. All materials are provided. The parade itself begins near the Shrine of Remembrance at 11am on Monday 11. And our tip is to watch from around there – there are plenty of grassy slopes to sit on.