Travel around the globe with these five free festivals

Weekends in Melbourne are all about events, and there’s an abundance of cultural festivals happening in the city right now. So while it can be hard to be confined to the office throughout these warmer months, you can set off on cultural and culinary trips each weekend without leaving town. And best of all, these festivals are free!

Viva Brazil

Experience Brazilian Carnival right here at Viva Brazil at Queen Victoria Market on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 February. Join in the dancing and parade, drink in the fabulous sounds of bossa nova to sertanejo, feast on delicious Brazilian street foods or sip on a refreshing Caipirinha from the bar.

Samba dancers in a parade

Viva Brazil

Lankan Fest

Make a day of it on Sunday 25 February and wander along the river to the Lankan Fest, a celebration of the rich culture and heritage of Sri Lanka. More than 40 stalls will offer a variety of Sri Lankan food, arts, crafts, spices and tea, all while you’re entertained with live music and dance.

Dance performers at Lankan Fest

Lankan Fest

Lunar New Year Festival

Lunar New Year is the best time for gathering good fortune, and Melbourne’s Chinese community celebrates in a big way. Queen Victoria Market is honouring the Year of the Dog with Tai Chi, Chinese performing arts and delicious food. You can also visit Crown Riverwalk to see the Lunar New Year Fire Dragons, where local artists have transformed the iconic fire towers into incredible fire-breathing creatures. Read our guide to the Chinese New Year Festival to find more new year events and hotspots.

Lunar New Year celebrations at the Queen Vic

Lunar New Year at the Queen Vic

Japanese Summer Festival

Also embracing authentic food, traditional crafts and live entertainment, the Japanese Summer Festival will grace the River Terrace alongside Federation Square on Sunday 25 February. There will also be prizes for the best dressed, so get your kimono or favourite cosplay 222ready. You might just win business class tickets to Japan.

Japanese Summer Festival

Turkish Pazar Festival

Queen Victoria Market has your Labour Day long weekend sorted with the return of the Turkish Pazar Festival. Indulge in a weekend of gözleme, baklava, traditional Turkish delight and more. And don’t miss the lively entertainment, provided by overseas stars as well as local talent – including the frst Ottoman-style marching band outside Turkey!

Crowd of people dancing in traditional Turkish clothes

Turkish Pazar Festival

Coming in March:

Lantern Festival at Queen Victoria Market – a two-day feast of performances, cooking workshops and demonstrations, and family activities (Saturday 3 to Sunday 4 March).

15th Thai Culture & Food Festival – food stalls, a beer garden, international chefs, dancing, live music and Muay Thai kickboxing at Federation Square (Saturday 17 to Sunday 18 March).

Victoria’s Multicultural Festival – a fun, one-day event showcase of Victoria’s vibrant cultural colours – with everything from traditional dance to delicious food (Saturday 24 March).

Indian Festival at Queen Victoria Market – Bollywood beats, food vendors, arts, crafts and entertainment spread over two days (Saturday 24 to Sunday 25 March).