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A sweet new setup

08 Feb 2018

A sweet new setup Image

Review by Sean Car

Southbank’s tapestry of local arts institutions was put on display on January 20 as Sugar Mountain festival moved into the Arts Precinct.

Since moving to Southbank from the Forum Theatre in 2015, Sugar Mountain has quickly become one of the most popular day festivals in Melbourne, largely due to its unique cultural home within the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA).

With construction of the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music currently taking place on a space previously utilised by the festival, organisers were forced into a dramatic rethink to its usual layout.

With the main stage at Dodds St changing to face south towards Grant St, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) and the Malthouse Theatre were brought into the fold to amazing effect.

Festivalgoers entered from Sturt St onto ACCA’s vast forecourt where they were greeted with a range of fun communal hangout spaces, food trucks and arts installations.

Taking a right turn through the walkway that dissects ACCA and one was met with the new home of the Boiler Room amphitheatre, tucked away in the Malthouse Theatre courtyard.

The new look Boiler Room proved a raging success with crowds packing out the space throughout the day to the electro sounds of the likes of Dan Shake, Fantastic Man, Honey Dijon and Shanti Celeste.

Step inside the Malthouse itself and fans were treated to an experience like no other, with the festival also taking over the illustrious Merlyn Theatre. The space provided a darkened and immersive atmosphere to enjoy performances from the likes of Actress and Laurel Halo.

Renowned for its visual arts focus, the new setup also meant the festival was able to take over ACCA’s gallery space, while VCA’s Margaret Lawrence Gallery housed the popular Sensory Cafe. The Grant St Theatre also showcased the breathtaking virtual reality and live performance of VIA ALICE – a truly masterful cross cultural creation showcasing Aboriginal dance and connection to country.

As usual, the Dodds St main stage didn’t fail to deliver on its usual block party vibes complete with a UFO-style arts installation hung above the crowd and the stage itself.

The array of musical talent didn’t disappoint either! Starting early with the incredible vocals and lyrics of Stella Donnelly, Ara Koufax captured the crowds in the afternoon while Cut Copy brought it home with a bang as darkness set in.

Notorious for its colour and street-style feels, the festival once again delivered a perfect dynamic of music and art while showcasing our beautiful Arts Precinct. Just when we thought we had seen it all, Sugar Mountain continues to blow us away.

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