Need to do a bit of budget repair, but not keen on missing out? Here’s what’s on for free in June in Melbourne.
Winter Night Market
One of the city’s most beloved experiences, the Winter Night Market at Queen Victoria Market is back every Wednesday night from 6 June to 29 August. Head over after work for a fragrant choice of over 30 global street food stalls and a selection of warm bevvies or cold beers. Warm up with open fires, quirky entertainers and Melbourne’s finest live music acts, and browse over 50 specialty and locally-made retail stalls.
Taste of Portugal
It’s Portugal’s national day on Sunday 10 June and you can embrace the sights, sounds and smells of this rich culture at Queen Victoria Market. Taste of Portugal brings together music, dance, food and art from Portugal, Brazil and East Timor. Try some authentic Pasteis de Nata (custard tarts) and Brazilian barbeque picanha meat, or learn how to samba! There’s fun for children too, with a puppet theatre, face painting and drawing competitions.
Festival of Steve
On Saturday 2 June, the Kelvin Club will open it’s doors to Melbourne men for the Festival of Steve – an entire day dedicated to the modern gentleman. The city’s stylists, retailers and outfitters come together for a pop-up menswear market, with bespoke tailoring, leather goods, essential grooming products, designer jewellery and artisan makers. Entry is free, and includes tastings of some of Melbourne’s finest food and beverages. Exhibitors include bespoke tailor Carl Navè, Men’s Stylist Sally McKinnon (Styled by Sally), Men’s Biz Grooming and Skin Care, Mr Elk, Lord Coconut, Gray Reid Jewellers, Laneway Learning, Clementines fine food and giftwares, and the Kelvin Club’s resident master barber – Sammy’s Hair Grooming. You don’t even need to be named Steve to pop along.
Refugee Week Melbourne Launch
Refugee Week (17-23 June) is an opportunity to welcome refugees and people seeking asylum and to celebrate their achievements. From food to sport, discussion to music, Refugee Week 2018 includes a diverse selection of events and activities. The week begins with the Refugee Week Melbourne Launch at Federation Square which invites people to share ideas, challenge each other, and discuss ways of creating a refugee policy in our country that we can all be proud of.
Docklands’ Firelight Festival
The opening weekend of the Docklands’ Firelight Festival (Friday 29 June to Sunday 1 July) is returning bigger and better in 2018, the explosive opening weekend features pyrotechnics, flame jets, fire drums, food and fun. A giant wooden sculpture will be cast adrift in Victoria Harbour and set ablaze to create an amazing visual for festival goers. Fabulous food and family fun will help ease the chill of the winter solstice. Fire breathers and fire twirlers will provide roving entertainment, alongside live music from a punked-out New Orleans brass band, jazz performers, Gypsy beats and a one-man band! Read our Ultimate guide to the Firelight Festival to find out more.
Truffle Melbourne Festival
One of the exquisite winter delicacies, the black truffle, takes centre stage at the Truffle Melbourne Festival at Queen Victoria Market on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 June. It’s the largest truffle festival outside of Europe, and the program includes chefs dishing up their favourite recipes, truffle dogs showing off their hunting skills and a market truffle-trail to forage for take-home treats.
Gold Rush: A Story in 21 Objects
Melbourne is one of the world’s finest examples of a gold rush boom town. In fact, the magnificently appointed Old Treasury building was purpose-built in the 1850s to store all the fast-growing colony’s gold! It’s current exhibition Gold Rush: 20 Objects, 20 Stories tells the heady story of those gold fever days, bringing together a treasure trove of objects drawn from major local collections. From a replica of the largest nugget ever found in Victoria to fascinating archaeological relics being shown for the first time, discover new insights into Victoria’s history. Open from Monday 11 June.
Melbourne International Jazz Festival
If cool weather and hot jazz sound like a good time to you, there’s a raft of free events on this June during the annual Melbourne International Jazz Festival. Bring your own instrument to the State Library front lawn on Sunday 3 June for Jazz Massive, set to be an epic jam session like no other. Over at Federation Bells at Birrarung Marr, catch composer and pianist Barney McAll premiering the live improvised piece Trilogy of Cycles on Saturday 2 June.
Led by landscape architect and acoustic ecologist Anthony Magen, Sound Walks run from Saturday 2 to Saturday 9 June, offering aural adventures to attune your ear to the rhythm of the city. Free lunchtime jazz brightens up St James, near the corner of Bourke and Williams Streets. The Melbourne International Jazz Festival runs from Friday 1 to Sunday 10 June.
We Protest!, the newly opened exhibition at City Gallery, presents an overview of Melbourne’s long history of taking to the streets. Time travel to a crowd of hats and bonnets milling on the banks of the Yarra in 1917, their wearers opposing the introduction of military conscription. Or discover the history of Aboriginal protest, extending from the Coranderrk deputations of 1881 to the Survival Day rallies of recent years. Peaceniks, dairy farmers, taxi drivers, loggers, vegans and more all make an appearance here. Free entry, runs until 11 August.
Fire Garden Pop-Up on the Lawn at Common Man
Head down to South Wharf this winter, where Common Man’s fire garden on the lawn highlights all the things to love about this time of year. The bar’s riverside space will host live music and entertainment, beer sessions, specialty tastings and a bespoke menu highlighting smoked meat and rotisserie. Gather round the fire pit for toasted marshmallows, whiskey flights and mulled wines. It opens Friday 1 June and runs until Sunday 30 September.