Melbourne's favourite free festival is back
Moomba is turning the big six-zero, and to celebrate, they’re ramping up their festive offerings to the max. If you've never been quite sure of what Moomba actually is, take a look at our rather excellent history of Moomba. Now that you're all clued up on the festival whose name translates to 'let's get together and have fun', here's the proof that this year is staying truer to its title than ever.
Live music, DJs, comedy, workshops: the Main Arena beats life into the whole of Moomba. This year’s big musical offering is the supergroup Time of My Life – a quartet of seminal Aussie perfomers Daryl Braithwaite, Joe Camilleri, James Reyne and Ross Wilson. Not only will they treat us with their own chart toppers at dusk each night, but rumour has it that they’re gearing up for a big group finale. And if you’re itching to dance, Colombian acts Frente Cumbiero and La Chiva Gantiv will bring an infectious blend of traditional Colombian style and ska, funk and dub.
Daily (Saturday – Monday)
West African Drumming & Dance Workshops 12pm Columbia Sounds Like This 3-4pm
Afro-Brazilian Drumming & Dance Workshops 5pm Silent Disco 8pm
Time of My Life 8-9.30pm
Saturday 8 March
Sweet Jean 12.30pm
The Moonee Valley Drifters 1.45pm
Orquestra Son De La Calle 5pm
Strange Tenants 6.30pm
Time of My Life 8pm
Sunday 9 March
Scott Darlow 12.30pm
Afro Mandiko 1.45pm
Sunday Chairs 5pm
The Afrobiotics 6.30pm
Time of my Life 8pm
Monday 10 March
Bearded Gypsy Band 12.30pm
The Tiger and Me 5pm
The Go Set 6.30pm
Time of My Life 8pm
The Moomba Monarchy
Moomba has a long and bizarre history of selecting their royal figureheads. Its first queen was decided in 1955 by beauty contest. In following years, the crowning of non-local guests – including Mickey Mouse – sparked outrage. From the '80s onwards, the focus narrowed to local personalities including singer Marina Prior and Olympic legend Cathy Freeman. The crown has even been bestowed to local taxi driver David Hanison in 1990. Last year, Moomba reached out to the unsung heroes of our community: representatives from the Country Fire Authority, Victoria Police, and other emergency services.
So who has Moomba chosen for its 60th birthday? Entertainment royalty, no less: bow down to the great TV sovereign Bert Newton and the luminous leading lady Lucy Durack.
Over two thousand participants, seven floats, one giant jester, and a 60th celebration cake: could this be Moomba’s most spectacular parade ever? We recommend grabbing a spot near the parade’s starting point at the Shrine of Remembrance, and looking out for the colourful, wacky float designed by five-year-old dreamer Leticia. Best of all, you'll get to see King Bert Newton and Queen Lucy Durack regally make their way down the procession. Mon Mar 10, 11am
In a feat of fundraising fury, Birdmen will fly, fall and frolic to raise money for their charity of choice. Clad in home-made flying contraptions, the entrants must choose whether they’re Hawks – serious flying technicians – or Penguins: entertainers who’ll be judged on the creativity of their costumes. Don’t miss this seriously different, utterly hilarious centrepiece of Moomba’s program. Sun Mar 9, 12pm.
The nightly 60th celebration pyrotechnics spectacular has been specially curated for Moomba 2014, to the backdrop of a grandiose musical score. Look up at 9.30pm.
The Moomba Experience
Adrenaline junkies, Moomba’s got you covered: there’s no missing the Mega Drop, Sling Shot and Power Surge towering over the lower terrace of Birrarung Marr. If you prefer your feet firmly attached to the ground, try your hand at the carnival games scattered across the festival, including Bottle Toss, Bazooka Bash and Angry Birds.
Ashton Circus 11.30am & 5.30pm, Daily
Making Food Fun 11-6pm, Daily
Beasties Petting Zoo 11am & 6pm, Daily
‘Snap, Crackle, Pop’ Puppetry Workshop 11am-6pm, Daily Triangulate at ArtPlay 11am-6pm, Daily
The Chipolatas 1pm & 4.30pm, Daily
Circus Skills Workshop 1.30pm – 3.30pm, Daily
The People’s Float 11-6pm, Saturday & Sunday Design Your Own Float 11-6pm, Monday
The Crown Project 11-6pm, Daily
Moomba’s putting on a suitably diverse and delicious selection of food stalls, including Mexican, Greek and Napalese. That said, if you’re hankering for the carnival classics, treat yourself to tasty hot chips, fairy floss and burgers.
It’s not Moomba unless you witness a water-skier soar over the Yarra at speed pushing 110kph. The Moomba Masters Championship is back, attracting daredevil skiers and wake boarders from all around the world. Check out the young guns at the junior competition from Wednesday, then get ready to gasp aloud at Monday’s jump, slalom and trick finals. This year, the Masters will extend past sunset for an exhilaratingly difficult night jump session.
In the lush Alexandra Gardens, little faces will light up at the sight of the Cup and Saucer ride and the Worm Family Roller Coaster. There’s no end to the circus-themed activities on offer, including dance, music, craft and puppetry. Ashton Circus will perform their gravity-defying show twice daily, and the silly sausages of Chipolatas will bring the chuckles with their much-loved clowning show Gentlemen of the Road.
Now’s the chance to throw down your best tail whip at Riverslide Skate Park. Don’t be intimated by the fearless airborne competitors: after you check out the masters, join a free skate, BMX or scooter workshop put on by Learn2Ride, who will even provide free equipment along with their expert advice.
Scoot - Saturday 8 March
Scooter Clinics, 11am - 3pm
MGP Moomba Pro Scooter Competition
BMX - Sunday 9 March
BMX Clinics, 11am - 3pm
Moomba BMX Competition 3pm – 9pm
Skate - Monday 10 March
Skateboard Clinics, 11am – 3pm
VANS Drop Your Hammers Skateboard Competition 3pm – 9pm
The Push Stage
A new addition to the line-up, The Push Stage takes some acts from the recently cancelled Push Over festival (don't worry – it's back next year!) and turns it into all-ages free entertainment at Moomba.
Catch The Smith Street Band, Chance Waters, Remi, and FReeZA Push Start finalists Alkali Fly (Croydon), Baking Blind (Dingley), Residual (Geelong), Darcy Fox (Moe), Listerdale (Wodonga), The Rims (Alphington), Bel Air (Ballarat), Worship The Fallen (Mildura) and Great John Himself (Airport West).
Speakers Corner; Birrarung Marr, Melbourne 3000. 1pm – 9.30pm, Mon Mar 10.