Schools out, rock out. Shimmerlands festival to take over Melbourne Uni campus

The University of Melbourne has decided to use up vacant space over summer in a way that will have the students running back to school when they would usually run away.

Shimmerlands is a new two-month long festival run by event producing group Shadow Electric, aiming to enliven the University of Melbourne in Parkville over the summer break.

Kicking off January 1 and running until February 26, the festival will include film, music, art and hospitality both during the day and during the balmy summer nights.

The indoor concert hall and outdoor music amphitheatre will host a plethora of local and international acts, and Shadow Electric’s Creative Director Jay Rayner says there will be no limitations on genre.

There will be six major outdoor music shows across the two months, one being Brooklyn-based Parquet Courts with further big announcements to follow.

“The advantage of Shimmerlands running over two months is that we can be more curatorial about our selection of artists and lineup, and can even be confirming acts during January and February,” Jay said.

Courtney Barnett performing at a previous Shadow Electric event.
Courtney Barnett performing at a previous Shadow Electric event. Photo: Shadow Electric

Shimmerlands hopes to showcase all of Melbourne’s thriving music scene, with local promoters and tastemakers crafting the music program.

The event will also host an outdoor cinema to rival the Outdoor Cinema at Abbotsford Convent: the project that originally brought Shadow Electric into the public eye.

The film program will host over 45 major new releases including the new Ghostbusters and La La Land, alongside contemporary independent films, music documentaries and favourite cult classics.

Shadow Electric Outdoor Cinema event
Shadow Electric Outdoor Cinema event. Photo: Shadow Electric

The Cinema will be one of four main precincts at Shimmerlands hosting a range of both ticketed and public proceedings, together with The Pavilion, Live Music arena and The Food Quarter.

The Pavilion will be the heart of the event, with the structure having been designed by Ha Architects and University of Melbourne graduates. And housing a bar and areas for relaxing, the multiple drinking and dining options in the Food Quarter will get the attention of local foodies.

Melbourne foodie Jess Ho has fetched over 20 of Melbourne’s best restaurants to present outdoor kitchen installations for the event. This includes St Ali, Pho Nom, Pidapip Gelateria, Chadong Mumma, Trattoria Emilia and many more.

“The idea behind Shimmerlands was to create something new, internationally appealing and culturally relevant to Melbourne, and all within the urban gem of the University of Melbourne,” Rayner said.

outdoor-drinks-in-the-courtyard
Afternoons at Shimmerlands. Photo: Shadow Electric

Shadow Electric was founded in 2011 and the founders Jay Rayner and David Chetwig were quick to grow a name for themselves after multiple successful music and cinematic events.

Now taking on their most elusive event yet, the boys are excited to see it all come together.

Be sure to check out their website for updates in the lead up to January 1. Shimmerlands will be adding performances, acts and screenings daily as well as massive announcements.

Written by Caitlyn Leggett

Caitlyn Leggett

Caitlyn is a travel and writing enthusiast who dreams of her travel blog taking off so she can do both for a living. She is kind of doing that now as a full-time travel agent and part-time writer. In the little time she has left she enjoys bar-hopping in Fitzroy and brunching in Richmond.

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