Following a 2020 cancellation and a season which ran for just one night before being closed down in 2021, Melbourne's new major arts festival finally gets underway this evening, right on Richmond's doorstep.
Rising, which has replaced the long-running Melbourne International Arts Festival and more recent White Night event, encompasses 800 local and international artists and 225 events, with a bold and ambitious agenda which patrons are invited to "get lost, go deep and shake loose" in.
Central to its design are two multi-activity venues - "The Wilds", at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, and the converted Chinatown carpark "Golden Square".
A largely night-time festival, it has been named for the rising of the moon and sun and the idea of something welling up from within the city rather than being imposed on it, co-artistic director Hannah Fox tells the Inner East Review.
"I think the best festivals in the world are really deeply connected to place," she says.
"We wanted to make sure we made something that couldn't happen anywhere else in the world, that is distinctively Melbourne."
That has been achieved partly through the involvement of a huge array of local artists.
Having so many available has been one of the silver linings of the pandemic, Fox says.
Rising is also uniquely Melbourne by virtue of its locations.
"We're really using the city as our stage and working with some iconic civic spaces," Fox says.
Next week Federation Square will play host to music theatre work 'The Invisible Opera', which features an "electro-acoustic" soundtrack and the voice of an unseen observer commentating on activity in the square.
Across the road, in the old ballroom above Flinders Street Station, Patricia Piccinini's show, 'A Miracle Constantly Repeated' combines strange, hyper-real silicone sculptures with video, sound and light.
The Yarra, or Birrarong, will be the site of a nearly kilometre long laser and sound installation visible from afar, while at the National Gallery of Victoria 'Still Lives' sees five former footballers suspended in bondage ropes in the Great Hall in a re-enactment of a famous mark. "It doesn't get more Melbourne than that," Fox says, laughing.
Another free, "really beautiful" event, at the State Library, is 'Single Channel Video', in which ordinary people discuss objects of significance to them.
Rising's musical program, curated by Woody McDonald, of RRR fame, takes place mainly at The Forum and Max Watt's and includes international drawcards Shabazz Palaces, Boris, Moses Sumney, Arab Strap and DJs Kenji Takimi and DJ Nobu.
Among local artists are indie-pop trio Goon Sax, rappers Sampa the Great and Tkay Maidza, musician-in-residence and Dirty Three drummer Jim White, "rock God" Ed Kuepper and Yorta Yorta musician Lou Bennett.
'Heavy Congress', about sound system culture in the city, involves different crews coming together in a kind of temple to base music".
Until June 19: rising.melbourne.