New festival in Melbourne: say ‘hello’ to Now or Never

Now or Never Berthing Place Earthing Space Theatre of Thunder

Introducing the “Now or Never” festival, a groundbreaking artistic event set to light up Melbourne with large-scale outdoor sculptural installations and projections, a 360° pop-up dome cinema and a menagerie of performances at the intersection of creativity and technology.

If you were around in Melbourne almost a decade ago, you might remember White Night Melbourne? It was a city-wide music, art and sound festival that meant retailers and bars were open all night in the CBD. Think that, but for 2023.

Running until the 2 September, the event will showcase the talents of over 300 local and international artists, composers, innovators, and change makers, with a line-up featuring 18 Australian premieres and 20 exclusive festival commissions.

Now or Never Of sky and sea Michaela Gleave

Anticipation is high, with more than 200,000 visitors expected to attend venues across the city during the 17-day festival. With over 70 innovative music performances, immersive digital art installations and thought-provoking daytime talks, the inaugural “Now or Never” program promises a journey into the convergence of art, ideas, sound, and technology, addressing the pressing questions of our future in light of the present moment.

Program highlights include a 1.2-kilometre Art Trail in Docklands curated by Experimenta, immersive films in the Neversphere, a pop-up dome in the Melbourne Museum forecourt, and the return of large-scale live music to the historic Royal Exhibition Building for the first time in 20 years. The festival will also showcase an exclusive world premiere of a new composition, a multi-sensory dining experience in the Neversphere, and a series of talks and panels exploring the creativity and technology intersection.

“Now or Never” is set to be a major milestone in Melbourne’s cultural landscape. As Lord Mayor Sally Capp puts it, “Now or Never is a new festival that will bring digital musings, adventurous performances and one-of-a-kind culinary experiences to Melbourne. Melbourne, it’s Now or Never.”