Melbourne’s eclectic RISING Festival has returned for its second year, recently announcing its latest – and most impressive – lineup to date.

RISING Festival officially launched only last year, emerging out of the shadows of the Melbourne International Arts festival and White Night. Following a few years of COVID-related cancellations, the festival’s inaugural outing was cause for celebration, with its varied lineup winning the hearts and minds of arts-lovers from all walks of life.

Now, history is set to repeat somewhat, with details of the festival’s second year arriving last week. In true fashion, it was a lineup that provides something for everyone, with multiple venues across Melbourne set to turn into arts hubs from Friday, June 7th until Sunday, June 18th.

Needless to say, music fans are well catered for, with some of the most iconic and revered names in modern music appearing on the bill. While US bass virtuoso Thundercat tops the bill with his first visit since 2018, so too will acclaimed US singer Weyes Blood make a triumphant return, having finished her last visit to the country as COVID spread in 2020.

Elsewhere, ethereal vocalist Ethel Cain joins the lineup, as does prolific producer Flying Lotus, Danish punks Iceage, Japanese multi-instrumentalist Cornelius, English punk icons The Damned, and former Chromatics frontwoman Ruth Radelet, who makes her Australian debut as part of RISING Festival.

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On the Australian side of things, fans are also well-catered for, with the likes of Lost Animal, Uncle Kutcha Edwards, Bart Willoughby, Paul Kelly, RVG, Emily Wurramara, Mo’Ju, and Alice Skye all representing the home team – and that’s without even scratching the surface.

Of course, while RISING Festival promises “music, food, art and culture, under moonlight”, it’s not just music that makes up the entirety of its program, with the likes of Night Trade serving as something of a free central hub for the festival.

Described as a place where punters can “gather, get fed, plan your next move, or board a bus that’s been cooked in a reality-breaking marinade”, Night Trade takes over the St Paul’s Cathedral grounds, with Puerto Rican collective Poncili Creación ensuring the aesthetic and tactile creation of the area is as groundbreaking as it is riveting.

Attendees will find themselves witnessing performances from a number of special guests, while DJs, karaoke, food, drink, and much more will also help to complement the experience.

Fittingly, the Night Trade hub is also located within short walking distance to handful of other nearby venues in Melbourne’s CBD, such as The Forum, who will be hosting events from the likes of the aforementioned Weyes Blood, Flying Lotus, and The Damned, alongside Ichiko Aoba, Birdz and Fred Leone, RVG, and more.

Likewise, nearby will see Max Watt’s transformed into another musical hub for RISING Festival, featuring performances from Desire Marea, Esa’s Afro-Synth Band, Loraine James and Arushi Jain, Real Lies, Yazmin Lacey, and Black Mass, a celebration of the POC-led revolution in electronic music, which will feature performances from Dameeeela, SOVBLKPSSY, and Crybaby.

Across the 12 nights that RISING Festival is slated to exist within, over 180 events mean that more than 400 artists will exhibit their work in some capacity, with some of the more eclectic and unexpected happenings set to stick in the minds of attendees. 

One such event will see Melbourne-based composer Ciaran Frame distributing 10,000 biodegradable kazoos throughout Federation Square which are intended to create an immersive, drone-like quality. “It’s going to be a big, unifying, howling moment in the heart of Melbourne, in Federation Square, and anyone can take part,” says the festival’s website.

In all, RISING Festival prides itself on being a provider of the eclectic, for showcasing world-class music events, stunning art, delectable food, and ensuring it’s a safe and welcoming space for people of all genders and abilities. Given its stellar start in 2022, one can only imagine just how positive the reception to RISING Festival 2023 is going to be.

You can view the full RISING musical lineup below, with tickets and  a detailed breakdown of events available via the official website.

RISING Festival 2023

Friday, June 7th – Sunday, June 18th
Various Locations, Melbourne, VIC
Tickets: RISING

Weyes Blood
Lost Animal
Uncle Kutcha Edwards
Bart Willoughby
Joe Geia
Shellie Morris
Emily Wurramara
Eleanor Dixon
Alice Skye
The Damned
Shintaro Sakamoto
Honey 2 Honey
Ethel Cain
Fred Leone
Ruth Radelet
Ichiko Aoba
Peter Knight
Daniel Yipininy Wilfred
Sunny Kim
Paul Kelly
Big Yawn
Desire Marea
Real Lies
Loraine James
Arushi Jain
Liquid Architecture
Esa’s Afro Synth Band
Mim Suleiman

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