'Night River' by Kalaji (Mark Coles Smith)

Starting this Thursday, the Yirramboi Festival, will begin as Australia’s premier First Peoples arts and cultural event, and will showcase a great selection of free and low-cost events in music, dance, theatre, film, exhibitions, markets, fashion parades, and more, across more than 25 different venues.

The City of Melbourne’s Lord Mayor, Sally Capp says the Festival is a celebration of Australia’s First Nations’ creatives and the world’s longest living cultures. “YIRRAMBOI is grounded in both the past and the future and is an opportunity for everyone to experience the diverse living cultures of more than 2,000 generations."

“This program is an incredible feat for the YIRRAMBOI team and Creative Director Caroline Martin. They have produced a festival program rich in history, yet innovative and contemporary and I can’t wait to experience some of the amazing performances on offer.“

YIRRAMBOI means ‘tomorrow’ in the shared local languages of the Boonwurrung and Woiwurrung peoples and this festival has this idea at its core, presenting a future-focused celebration of the sophistication, diversity and continuous evolution of the longest living cultures of First Peoples. Almost 100 events will celebrate and show the innovative, modern practices of First Nations creatives, showcasing unique talents and perspectives.

Curated by Creative Director, Boonwurrung woman Caroline Martin, the 2019 program puts the spotlight on local Victorians including Benny Walker, Alice Skye, Archie Roach, operatic icon Deborah Cheetham, Jaeden Williams, Kate ten Buuren and SojuGang.

'Kate ten Buuren’s dis rupt'

The 2019 program is packed with live music including a Bad Apples Music House Party, Yothu Yindi and The Treaty Project and concerts at Melbourne Town Hall with Dan Sultan and Alice Skye.

Other acclaimed international acts invited to participate in YIRRAMBOI, include artists from Taiwan’s Pulima Arts Festival, Portland’s premier drag clown performer Anthony Hudson and Canada's Talk is Free Theatre’s touring sensation Tales of an Urban Indian staged on a moving bus.

Highlights from the Yirramboi Festival include:

  • Yirramboi Weelam - which means ‘YIRRAMBOI’s home’, will be housed in North Melbourne’s Meat Market. With a full program of events across the festival, a communal fire in the courtyard, food stalls and bars, audiences are invited to cosy up pre and post-show at the venue.

  • The opening ceremony at YIRRAMBOI Weelam kicks off the festivities with performances across a breadth of modern artforms including Deborah Cheetham, Homelands and Soju Gang.

  • Blak Market X Sunday Jam Session will showcase 20 First Nations businesses across fashion, jewellery, crafts and bush food, along with chilled acoustic vibes from local music performers

  • Barring Yanabul, on the 4 May, will see Melbourne’s iconic public spaces, laneways and green spaces host an epic free program of more than 40 pop-up events in a citywide Blak-out known as Barring Yanabul.

Yirramboi’s key venue partners include the Arts Centre Melbourne, Arts House, La Mama and the Melbourne Recital Centre. See the full list of YIRRAMBOI Festival 2019 on their website here!


Dates: 2 - 12 May 2019

Location: Multiple events. See the website for full details.

Times: Multiple times. See website for full details.

Yirramboi Website