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What's on City of Melbourne

Iconic Moomba turns 60

 Thursday, 13 February 2014 

The uniquely Melbourne Moomba Festival is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year and everyone is invited to join in the celebrations with the people and characters that have made Moomba memorable for generations of Melburnians. 

In its 60th year, Australia’s largest and longest-running free community festival will burst onto the banks of the Yarra River across Labour Day weekend (7-10 March), with fun for all ages. Come and join the Moomba celebrations with old favourites and new features including the Birdman Rally, carnival rides, nightly fireworks, activities for the kids and the iconic Moomba Parade.  

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said we are proud of Moomba.

“This much loved Melbourne icon attracts more than one million people to the city. It is an event for people of all ages and this year we blend much loved aspects of Moomba with some new and exciting events,” the Lord Mayor said.

“This year, our Moomba Monarchy reflects the festival’s past, present and future, with King Bert Newton and Queen Lucy Durack.

“Bert was King of Moomba in 1978, our first local King, and his Moomba memories include broadcasting the parade for radio from a Swanston Street rooftop as a teenager.

“Lucy is an award-winning performer and has spent much of the last ten years discovering our great city. Lucy brought Wicked and Legally Blonde to life on stage in our historic theatres, and says she loves Melbourne’s strong sense of community.

“Together, Bert and Lucy represent Melbourne’s fun-loving and creative nature, and we are honoured to have them as our 2014 Monarchs.”

City of Melbourne Marketing Melbourne portfolio chair, Councillor Beverley Pinder-Mortimer, said the Monarchs also reflected the People of Moomba campaign, which everyone can still contribute to.

“People of Moomba is a chance to reflect on how this wonderful festival has changed over the last 60 years, and how it has enhanced Melbourne life each Labour Day weekend,” Cr Pinder-Mortimer said.

“We encourage anyone with fond memories to contribute to the campaign via the Tumblr (, for the chance to ride floats in the Monday Parade.

“This year’s program is absolutely packed with old favourites and new features to celebrate the 60th anniversary.”

Program highlights include:

Legends of the Australian music scene Daryl Braithwaite, Joe Camilleri, James Reyne and Ross Wilson will join forces as the Time of My Life band perform in a special free 60th anniversary show staged each night of the festival. Performing much-loved hits from the past four decades and ending in a spectacular fireworks display, this is an event not to be missed. 
Columbia Sounds Like This hits the festival Main Arena daily performing their only free leg of a national tour, featuring international acts, Frente Cumbiero (Columbia) and La Chiva Gantiva (Columbia/Belgium) and showcasing the very best contemporary Colombian music. Afternoons in the Main Arena will be filled with a fusion of traditional Colombian styles, Cumbia, gaita, champeta with New York boogaloo, ska, dub and funk from local and visiting bands.

Other music acts include godfathers of Australian Ska, Strange Tenants, as well as a mix of international, national and Melbourne-based artists including Sweet Jean, The Moonee Valley Drifters, Scott Darlow, Afro Mandiko and Bearded Gypsy Band. Appealing to a wide range of ages and tastes, there’s a beat for everyone at Moomba. 

An extensive range of fun filled activities for kids will be available in The Tent, with circus, music, puppetry and performances that includes Ashton Circus, international talents The Chipolatas and Beasties Petting Zoo, a zoo experience like no other with electronically controlled menagerie of strange and wondrous creations.

Get crafty in the Pavillion by taking part in building the 2014 People’s Float that will be on show at the Moomba Parade, or enter a  design for next year’s parade by Designing Your Own Float for the chance to see your artwork star in the line-up for 2015. There is also a daily Crown Project where people of all ages can make their own head piece and become a mini-Moomba Monarch.

Taking place on Sunday 9 March from 12 noon, the Birdman Rally presented by Disney’s Planes is a fundraising competition like no other, where the Hawks compete with technical engineering and the Penguins rely on their goofy charm to attempt to fly the furthest. The jump itself is only part of the competition; the fundraising efforts contribute towards extra ‘distance’ being added to their score.  

On the banks of Melbourne’s iconic Yarra River, the River program gives everyone the chance to watch as the world’s best water athletes compete in the Wakeboard, Jump, Night Jump, Tricks, and Slalom Championship. Featuring 2013 wakeboard Rider of the Year, Bob Soven, as well as four times US Masters Champion, Danny Harf, and many more, the action is not to be missed. 

The Skate Park presented by Lipton Ice Tea provides a unique opportunity to take advantage of the existing infrastructure and showcase youth extreme sports. The facility is managed and staffed by the YMCA, providing services to skate park patrons such as supervision and café facilities.

In its third year on St Kilda Road, the Moomba Parade will take place on Monday 10 March, at 11am. This year’s Moomba Monarchs, Bert Newton and Lucy Durack will join the 2,000 strong participants, the largest participation numbers in years, and the People of Moomba (people who have experienced or contributed to the Festival over the past 60 years) celebrate in a kaleidoscope of colour, movement and noise – a singing and dancing celebration like no other.