Free events at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival: our picks

6 years ago
Sharona Lin

This year, the Melbourne International Jazz Festival is packed with jazz legends like Pharoah Sanders, Herbie Hancock and Dee Dee Bridgewater. It’s an impressive line-up, and if you’re into jazz, you could ask for no more. If you’re not particularly into jazz, this year’s the year for you to change that. There’s a whole lot of free jazz for you to try. Here are our picks:

Opening Celebration Concert

Of course, the Opening Celebration Concert is the top of our list. The 2015 Festival will be kicked off with a free, open-air concert, hosted by Fem Belling and featuring special performances from diverse acts such as The Bad Plus (USA), and The Hoodangers.

When: Friday 29 May, 12.30pm – 2.30pm

Where: Federation Square – Main Stage

Opening Celebration jazz festival

Free Jazz at Fed Square

Listen (and dance) to jazz at Fed Square. The big band performances will be brought to you by directors from the Monash University Big Band, Monash University World Music Ensemble, VCA Shaki Middle-Eastern Ensemble and WAAPA Jazz Ensemble.

When: Friday 29 May, 3pm-6.30pm

Where: Federation Square – Main Stage

Federation Square free jazz

The Julliard Free Lunchtime Jazz series

The free Lunchtime Jazz series is a chance for us regular folk to check out some excellent jazz musicians of all genres. From the Ethio-jazz fusion of the Lalibelas to Lazercatz 2000 to the up-and-coming VCA jazz improvisation ensemble, there will be something different every day – so if you’re in the city, drop by and enjoy some sweet, sweet jazz.

When: from 28 May to 5 June, 12pm.

Where: St James, 555 Bourke St

Late Night Soundwalk

For the night owls out there, the Late Night Soundwalk is an opportunity to be out late that doesn’t involve drinking – you can do that after. The Soundwalk is a walking tour, so bring comfortable shoes – landscape architect and acoustic ecologist Anthony Magen will take you on an “aural adventure” through the Melbourne CBD’s open spaces, laneways and secret spots. Places are limited, so make sure you get there ten minutes early to save a spot. (If you’re not up to a late event, there are also evening walks on Friday 29 May, Saturday 30 May, Sunday 31 May and Wednesday 3 June).

When: Friday 5 June, 11pm

Where: Golden Monkey, 389 Lonsdale St

Soundwalk Melbourne International Jazz Festival


These are only some of the free events available at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival this year – if you’re interested in jazz at all, there are some excellent events on offer. Check out the MIJF website – if you book more than two eligible Festival events, you can save some of your hard-earned dollars.

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