Docklands central to new festival

Docklands central to new festival
Sean Car

The City of Melbourne has revealed a new major 17-day festival running from August 17 to September 2, 2023, with Docklands expected to play a central role.

Now or Never – a festival exploring the intersection of arts, ideas, sound, and technology taking over the city’s streets and venues – is expected to attract crowds of more than 200,000 people when it kicks off in August this year.

The council said the “uniquely Melbourne” festival would combine the success and resources of Melbourne Music Week and Melbourne Knowledge Week to create an “unmissable cutting-edge” experience to “discover, learn and play”.

The program will see a range of free and ticketed daytime and night-time events featuring immersive “digital experiences, adventurous performances, stirring discourse and more”, through a mix of local and international musicians, artists, and innovators.  

And, while further program details are expected to be announced later this month, with the full program to be released in late June, Docklands News understands the precinct surrounding Victoria Harbour will play a key role in hosting a major event as part of the festival.


The news represents another boost for local businesses, with Now or Never adding to Docklands’ growing events calendar, which already includes Firelight Festival, the Melbourne Boat Show, and a string of other new activations soon to be announced.


Lord Mayor Sally Capp said, “from ground-breaking music performances to immersive art installations, provocative talks and spectacular technology”, the new event would be “jam-packed with unmissable events and experiences for all ages”.

“The inaugural Now or Never festival will celebrate the evolution of Melbourne’s creative scene and provide an opportunity for Australians to experience experimental work from overseas,” Cr Capp said.

“We’re looking forward to attracting new visitors to our city, showcasing our home-grown talent and supporting hundreds of local jobs and businesses in the process. We can’t wait to reveal the full program in the coming months.”  

Docklands Chamber of Commerce president Daniel Hibberd said the Chamber looked forward to the event showcasing “our beautiful harbour precinct” and attracting new visitors to Docklands.

“This event and more are set to attract increasing numbers of visitors to Docklands, providing positive economic impact to the precinct, which is likely to continue to grow, and highlights the importance of upcoming events to hit our backyard,” he said. •

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