Melbourne is getting a brand new cultural festival in 2021. 

Dubbed RISING, the festival will take the place of both White Night and the Melbourne International Arts Festival. 

RISING will be helmed by co-artistic directors Gideon Obarzanek and Hannah Fox and is set to take place from 26 May to 6 June 2021. 

"One of the upsides we see emerging from this difficult time is the hard proof that radical change on a monumental scale is in fact possible. This seems fertile ground to be working with artists to build something new for Melbourne,” explained Fox.

“This moment has forced us to think deeply about the future of festivals and about how we can build greater sustainability. It challenges us to champion local artists without being parochial and to find new ways to stay connected internationally. It insists that we accurately gauge the public mood and ask: 'what will the community want and need 12 months from now?'"

The festival has also announced that a portion of the budget that would have gone to the initial 2020 festival will now go towards a commissioning program for the 2021 event that will immediately commission Victorian artists for new work.

“Victoria is home to some of Australia’s most notable artists, musicians and performing arts companies, along with some of the country’s most adventurous audiences," said Obarzanek. 

"We draw great inspiration from the state’s vibrant arts community and are excited by this chance to provide new opportunities and possibilities. With the festival now having the benefit of extra time to develop distinct artist-led projects, we invite artists to submit ideas that can reach new audiences and capture national and international attention.”

“Rather than prescribing specific outcomes, we are seeking ideas that are ambitious, unusual and that could only happen in a festival context. Whether these respond to the times or reach beyond them, we invite ideas that are radical and critical; ideas that are absurd and bombastic; ideas that are contemplative and philosophical; and ideas that are celebratory and unifying.”

Applications can now open. Find out more about RISING here.