Media releases

Biggest events calendar to deliver biggest crowds for city traders

12 May 2023
  • $28.2 million for events 
  • $6.2 million for Christmas Festival
  • $5.2 million for Moomba 70th Anniversary 
  • $4.9 million for New Year’s Eve  
  • $3.5 million for Now or Never festival 
  • $3.3 million for Melbourne Fashion Week 
  • $2.6 million for local events  
  • $1.6 million for Firelight Festival  

A 70th anniversary Moomba Festival, a blockbuster New Year’s Eve program and an innovative new festival are just some of the attractions that will make up City of Melbourne’s largest ever delivery of events, festivals and experiences.

Melbourne is the events capital of Australia – its events calendar is a magnet for attracting hundreds of thousands of people into the city and injecting hundreds of millions of dollars into the city economy.

Council’s draft Budget 2023–24 will help shape Melbourne today as a global tourism destination, with a $28.2 million investment to attract more people to the city and boost business, delivering on Council’s commitment to a vibrant, thriving economy.

To mark Moomba’s 70th year, Council will provide $5.2 million for Australia’s biggest free community event, which will be headlined by special anniversary celebrations, alongside the much-loved Birdman Rally and Moomba Parade.

A record crowd of more than 1.4 million people flocked to Melbourne to enjoy this year’s extended Moomba Festival, which pumped $58 million into the local economy.

New Year’s Eve will go off with a bang, with $4.9 million for celebrations, including rooftop fireworks and family-friendly entertainment across the city. Last year’s celebrations drew 475,000 people into the CBD, generating $18.7 million in economic activity.

Council has allocated $6.2 million for this year’s Christmas Festival to dazzle the city with festive decorations, events, activations and activities across four weeks.

The city’s newest festival Now or Never will debut in August – backed by $3.5 million to transform Melbourne with immersive experiences of art, ideas, music and technology. The festival will celebrate the best of our artists and performers, and feature internationally renowned thinkers and innovators in a series of free and ticketed events over city streets and venues.

Melbourne Fashion Week and Firelight Festival will return as part of the city’s events calendar, thanks to a $4.9 million funding commitment.

Council will also support more than 60 other events across the city with a $2.6 million investment in loved community festivals and events.

The draft Budget 2023–24 will be announced on Tuesday 16 May, with public consultation to follow until midnight Thursday 8 June.

Quotes attributable to Lord Mayor Sally Capp

“We’re setting the pace by delivering our biggest events calendar – because we know events attract visitors to our city, support traders and create an enviable reputation for Melbourne as the country’s events capital.”

“Events attract new visitors and inject hundreds of millions into our economy. This year’s Moomba Festival drew a record 1.4 million people to the city, while our Christmas Festival pumped an estimated $130 million into the local economy.”

“We’re celebrating our traditions and expanding our horizons. The iconic Moomba Festival celebrates its 70th year in 2024 and we’re throwing an unmissable birthday party. Meanwhile, we invite you to expand your minds with the premiere of Now or Never, which will transform our city in August.”

“Most of our major events are free to attend, meaning everyone in our community can experience why we’re the events capital of the country.”

Quotes attributable to City Activation portfolio lead Councillor Roshena Campbell

“We know events, festivals and activations strengthen the city’s economy. In the past 12 months, our events calendar has attracted over five million people to the city – boosting spending at local businesses.”

“We’re increasing our investment in events because we know this will flow through to our retail, hospitality and other small businesses.”

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