Melbourne smoldering serving of arts-culture



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Marvel Stadium with underground light show Image: Mandy Lights

Heading to the Marvel Stadium at Melbourne’s (Australia) Docklands usually means watching a game of the Australian Football League (AFL). Or, you could be hitting up the venue to see a gig.

‘CONCRETE PLAYGROUND’ stated that moseying beneath the space to wander around an underground light show and labyrinth definitely isn’t normally on the cards. That’ll change come Winter, with the City’s Firelight Festival returning for 2024 – and, for the first time, bringing the Firelight Labyrinth with it.

The 53,359-capacity Docklands Stadium, known by naming rights sponsorship as the Marvel Stadium, is a multipurpose sports and entertainment stadium in the suburb of Docklands in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Construction started in October 1997 and was completed in the year 2000 at a cost of A$460 million.

Melbourne (Australia)-based the Australian Football League (AFL) is the pre-eminent and only fully professional competition of Australian Rules football. It was originally named the Victorian Football League and was founded in 1896 as a breakaway competition from the Victorian Football Association, with its inaugural season in 1897.

The Australian Rules football, also called Australian football or Aussie Rules, or more simply football or footy, is a contact sport played between two teams of 18 players on an oval field, often a modified cricket ground.

‘CONCRETE PLAYGROUND’ further stated that the fest itself is a three-day affair over the last weekend in June, running from June 28th (Friday)-June 30th (Sunday) at the New Quay Promenade, Victoria Promenade and Harbour Esplanade. On the agenda, as in the past years: Fire performers, fire pits, fire drums, flame jets, fire arches, and fire sculptures. There’ll also be live music, African drumming and an array of stomach-warming food and drink options -such as dumplings, smoked meats, paella, churros, and hot chocolates.

Flame-filled arts – and bites to feast on and beverages to sip while one is enjoying them – aren’t the only drawcard this year, though. Cue more than 144,000 lights beaming beneath the Marvel Stadium, with the labyrinth sticking around for over two weeks from June 28th July 14th. Accordingly, this year’s Firelight Festival is also a huge tourist attraction for the locals and the visitors alike, especially if one want to see a key Aussie Rules venue in a new light – literally.

As well as all of those sources of luminousness, the Firelight Labyrinth will feature immersive audio, making the experience an audio-visual maze.

While the festival is free to attend – one will need one’s wallet for whatever one eats and drinks – the Firelight Labyrinth is ticketed, costing $37.50 for adults.

Maintained Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp, “The festival is a firecracker for the local economy – injecting $4.7 million last year in three days. We’re expecting to see double the support for the traders this Winter with the Firelight Labyrinth experience spanning 17 days.”

Remarked Roshena Campbell, Activation Portfolio Lead Councilor, “The Firelight Festival is a beacon of light for the Docklands’ traders – driving 100,000 visitors to the precinct in 2023, creating 700 jobs and delivering a smoldering serving of arts and culture on Melbourne’s stunning waterfront.”

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