Moomba Festival is the largest community festival celebrating Melbourne over 4 days during the Labour Day long weekend in March. This festival has been running for over 60 years with a record high attendance of 1.7 million people in 1996.
This festival is held at Birrarung Marr and Alexandra Gardens on the banks of Yarra River where local performers provide free entertainment on the water. There are 5 precincts – Main Arena, Kids Zone, Skate Park, River and The Green – where visitors can expect many activities, food stalls, carnival rides, carnival games, skate and BMX competitions and free shows.
Moomba is known for its Birdman Rally where contestants aim to fly across the Yarra River by jumping off a 4 metre platform with wings attached to their costumes. All of it done in the name of charity. Along with the Birdman Rally, the Moomba Parade is also well known for its colourful community designed floats, talented performers, professional and amateur dance groups. The parade starts near the Shrine of Remembrance and moves along Melbourne’s St Kilda Road to finish near Linlithgow Avenue.
I visited Moomba Festival on the Sunday night and Monday afternoon and was able to feel the different vibes of a night and day carnival. On both visits, the festival was extremely crowded with music blaring from carnival rides and games, people screaming from the adrenaline rush of the rides and live music. Guest live bands from the past include ABBA and AC/DC, pretty impressive international acts.
I must say I much preferred night time. Maybe its the lights that light up sky and its surroundings but it felt more thrilling and exciting to not be able to see every corner of the city, especially when you are in the sky enjoying the night view on a carnival ride.
Moomba Festival at night
Moomba Festival during the day
Overall, I would go back again for the rides and the fun and loud atmosphere. Perfect for a nice date, family time, or hanging out with friends right in the centre of Melbourne City.