Monday 18 October 2010

Melbourne's Golden Summer of Live Music and Grand Slams at Federation Square

Pull up one of the striped deckchairs and settle in for a summer of live music, salsa classes, wine tasting and nail-biting tennis matches at Federation Square.

The festivities kick off in December with Fed Square's off-beat Christmas celebration, Spirit of the Square. Away from the bustle of the department stores, this free program draws together much-loved traditions with contemporary, often cheeky surprises including stencil art and a giant penguin! The Christmas tree is still there, but given new life with the opportunity for visitors to change the lighting each night and see their Christmas wishes on the Big Screen.

Kids of all ages (and nostalgic mums and dads) will also be drawn to ACMI's extraordinary exhibition, Dreams Come True: The Art of Disney's Classic Fairy Tales. This Australian exclusive explores the artistry behind Disney's timeless animated films with original concept art, story sketches, drawings, maquettes and workshops.

During the long balmy nights that Melbourne is famous for, music will take centre stage with Fed Square Live Presented by The Push - a free series of outdoor concerts held every second Thursday until 21 April. The eclectic program has something to tantalise all musical tastes, with indie, blues and roots, world music, dance and rock performances by top independent acts and emerging Australian talent on the bill. Grab a spot in front of the stage and soak up the atmosphere or make the most of Fed Square's alfresco dining areas and enjoy the show with the addition of cocktails and tapas.

In the biggest concert of all, New Year's Eve will bring thousands of revellers into Fed Square to see in 2011 with spectacular fireworks and a free program of cool beats, reggae and funk from local acts, Tumbarumba and the Hit Parade. Not the dancing type? Learn to shimmy and shake it with the best of them with free salsa classes from The Salsa Foundation, held every Wednesday and Thursday night in The Amphitheatre from November to March.

Then there's the Australian Tennis Open, synonymous with summer holidays, barbeques and good times. During those two weeks in January Fed Square will again be transformed into a sea of deckchairs and painted faces as the city converges in front of the Big Screen for a free live broadcast of all the action.

Australia Day on 26 January provides a break from centre court, with Melbourne's free multicultural concert, Australia Day Voyages taking over the stage at Fed Square.

And should all of that activity leave you feeling parched, there's no better place to rehydrate then the monthly Fed Square Wine Showcase, where you can taste your way through Victoria's many wine regions and rub shoulders with the winemakers.

To find out what's happening at Federation Square next time you visit Melbourne, download our free iPhone App from Apple iTunes Store, featuring daily and monthly event listings, gallery opening times, maps, restaurants and more.

Fed Square Wine Showcase
3 - 4 November; 1 - 2 December; 2 - 3 February, 4.30pm - 8.30pm, $25

Fed Square Live Presented by The Push
Every second Thursday until 21 April, various times, FREE

Free Salsa Classes with The Salsa Foundation
November - March, 5.30pm - 8pm, FREE

Dreams Come True: The Art of Disney's Classic Fairy Tales
18 November - 26 April, 10am - 6pm, Adult $16 / Concession $12

Spirit of the Square
1 - 30 December, various times, FREE

New Year's Eve at Fed Square
31 December, 8pm - 1am, FREE

Australian Tennis Open Live Site
17 - 30 January, from 9am daily, FREE

Australia Day Voyages Concert
26 January, 4pm - 10pm, FREE

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