Large crowds fire up Docklands ahead of new Now or Never festival

Sean Car

Photography by Hanna Komissarova

More than 100,000 people flocked to Docklands last month for what was yet another successful Firelight Festival, as the precinct now prepares to play a central role in the City of Melbourne’s new Now or Never festival starting on August 17.

The annual winter Firelight Festival staged by the council saw huge crowds attend across three nights from June 30 to July 2, with the council confirming attendance was consistent with last year’s record-breaking event.

According to the council, Saturday night saw the biggest crowds with more than 35,000 in attendance.

The free festival featured more than 125 different artists and performers and more than 30 food vendors, representing an estimated $8.3 million boost to the local economy.



With the the City of Melbourne investing $1.6 million for this year’s festival “to deliver the biggest and brightest event yet” and support more than 400 jobs, Lord Mayor Sally Capp said Firelight continued to prove “an overwhelming success”.

“Winter is a magical and marvellous time in Melbourne, and our free events calendar is one the many ways we’re encouraging Melburnians and visitors to join in on the fun,” Cr Capp said.  


Firelight Festival continues to be an overwhelming success – lighting up our harbourside precinct with a dazzling line-up of free entertainment and warming winter eats.


“This year’s event attracted tens of thousands of Melburnians and visitors to the Docklands precinct, supporting 400 jobs and boosting business for local traders.” 

The Lord Mayor said the council was now looking forward to seeing more crowds descend on Docklands as part of its new festival, Now or Never.

“Later this month, we debut our newest festival, Now or Never, a 17-day program of cutting-edge art, design and workshops that will highlight some of Melbourne’s iconic landmarks in never-before-seen ways, with 200,000-plus attendees expected,” Cr Capp said.

Among the major events to take place along Victoria Harbour Promenade as part of the festival include Holon: Jon McCormack – an installation made from more than 100 “electric organisms” connecting “technology with humanity” from August 17 to September 2.

Also running for the length of the festival in Docklands will be Infinity: Universal Everything – a never-ending video artwork depicting an endless procession of unique personalities born from code. •

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