Council proudly supports a dynamic range of festivals, events, activations and other place-based activities each year. It acknowledges that a lively mix of attractions will:
• Contribute to the liveability of the City by activating public spaces in new and creative ways which promote distinct precinct identities and creates local pride
• Enhance street life offerings and walkability to make the City feel safer and more connected
• Create better first impressions of our City to attract new visitors and extend stays
• Build community harmony and restore community connection
• Develop understanding, appreciation and greater engagement with our diverse cultures
• Drive continued economic growth and investment in the City’s commercial activity centres
Maribyrnong City Council has many different roles and responsibilities in the planning and delivery of the City’s activation initiatives, including funding, mentoring, producing, permitting, regulating, marketing and providing access to space and resources.
Council recognises that in most instances local communities are best placed to produce the ideas and to plan, organise and deliver activities for their community. As such a core part of Council’s support model is through providing funding and in kind support through Council's Grants Program. Since establishing the inaugural Festival City Grants Program in 2010, Council has provided over $4 million in funding to community for festivals and events.
Regular features (amongst many others) on the current annual calendar include:
- East Meets West Lunar New Year Celebration (January)
- Quang Minh Tet (January/February)
- Yarraville Festival (February / March)
- West Footscray Festival of Colours (March)
- Stony Creek Music Festival (March/April)
- Setting Sun Film Festival (May)
- Ethiopian New Year Festival (September)
- Festival of Lights Diwali (October)
- Carols in Yarraville Gardens (December)
In addition to these community-led activities, Council also partners with a range of major Melbourne events and some of our surrounding Western Region Councils to present:
- Midsumma Westside as part of the Midsumma Festival (January)
- Eat Drink Westside as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (March)
- HRAFF Westside as part of the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival (May)
- Comedy Westside as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (April)
- Fringe Westside as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival (October)
- Jazz Westside as part of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival (October)
Council's music festival West Set and the large-scale New Years' Eve Fireworks event in Footscray Park are other key features on a packed annual calendar in the City of Maribyrnong.
Festival City Policy > Festivals and Activation Framework 2022 - 2026
In 2010 Council launched a major initiative known as ‘Festival City’ to increase the City’s vibrancy and prosperity. At this time Council also formally adopted the Maribyrnong Festivals Policy and Strategy Plan 2010-2013 (updated and later known as the Festival City Policy), identifying Council’s vision to be recognised as an iconic festival city and to underpin and guide the new initiative. As a result the City has seen a significant increase in the size, value, number, profile and diversity of festivals in the City of Maribyrnong over the last 10+ years.
More recently, prompted by the City’s current period of rapid growth and change, transformative social impacts of COVID-19, and after considerable consultation with community and industry stakeholders, new thinking around City attraction initiatives has emerged, with a strong desire for Council to support a broader, authentic and local contemporary experiences for our community to enjoy. This perspective has been underscored by the City’s popular outdoor dining and activation program, Council’s ‘Love Your Local’ trader campaign and public realm improvements such as ‘pop-up’ parks. Subsequently, in October 2022 Council endorsed the Festivals and Activation Framework 2022 – 2026, which replaces the Festival City Policy.
At the heart of the new Framework is a commitment to a ‘place-based approach’ given the wide-ranging benefits it can bring to communities, the local economy and City identity. Council recognises when people love a place it adds enormous social and economic value to a community, an outcome core to the role of local government. The strength of our City’s night time economy, and how we best capitalise on the trend of visitors dispersing to inner-city areas (other than Melbourne’s CBD), also informs much of the rationale of the Framework.
Planning a Festival, Event or Activation in the City of Maribyrnong?
If you are planning on holding an event in the City of Maribyrnong, please visit the 'Hold an event' page on Council's main website, and also visit the 'Grants' page to see whether you may be eligible for a Grant.
If you are planning on staging a large-scale commercial event in the City of Maribyrnong, please contact the Coordinator Festivals and Visitation on 9688 0200.