Melbourne’s Rising Festival announce Julia Jacklin, Marlon Williams, more for inaugural event

Bringing art, music, performance and ceremony to the heart of Melbourne

A diverse team of local, national and international artists and curators have come together to program Melbourne’s mega new arts festival, Rising.

Picking up where White Night and Melbourne International Arts Festival left off, Melbourne’s Rising Festival will feature shows, events and exhibitions taking place throughout the city, ready to reignite our vibrant nightlife and arts culture.

The Rising Festival program is an absolute whopper – featuring more than 800 artists in 133 projects and events spread across its 12 days.

The music lineup was curated by Woody McDonald, known for his work with Golden Plains and Meredith Music Festival, and we are very excited for it. The gorgeous stage of The Comedy Theatre will play host to 11 jam-packed, amazing nights of music from some of our favourite artists from right here in Australia and across the ditch.

Rising Festival Melbourne @ The Comedy Theatre

Tickets go on sale Wednesday 31 March @ 9am ADST

Find tickets

Ed Kuepper & Jim White

Wednesday 26 May @ Comedy Theatre

We’re sure you already know his work, but guitarist and songwriter Ed Kuepper’s influence on Australian music is profound and unquantifiable. From his work with The Saints, Laughing Clowns, The Aints, to his sprawling solo career, he has had his hand in many corners of the Australian punk and grunge scenes.

For the first time ever, he’ll be teaming up with master drummer Jim White, to perform songs from across his 45-year career.

As an extra treat, opening the night is Mess Esque, a new collaboration between Dirty Three’s Mick Turner and Helen Franzmann of McKisko.

Ed Kuepper Honey Steel's Gold Live at The Tivoli (Full Album}

Marlon Williams

Thursday 27 & Friday 28 May @ Comedy Theatre

His honey-smooth vocals have been described as once-in-a-generation, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome New Zealand’s Marlon Williams back to our stages.

It’s been three years since he released his gorgeous second album Make Way For Love, but still it sounds timeless. And whether he is making onscreen cameos in Hollywood blockbusters, filling his mantle with countless accolades, streaming live performances into your bedroom, or teaming up with Saskatoon duo Kacy & Clayton – he has been keeping himself busy since.

Whether he is drawing on the American folk and country traditions of Leonard Cohen and Roy Orbison or crooning in te reo Māori about a tiny, yellow-eyed penguin, these Rising Festival Melbourne performances will have you feeling all the emotions.

Melbourne dream folk duo Luluc will be joining in the fun, showcasing tunes from their trio if critically acclaimed albums.

Marlon Williams – Devil's Daughter (Live at Magic Radio)

Grego & Sweet Whirl

Saturday 29 May @ Comedy Theatre

The best things come in pairs, that’s why the long-awaited double-album launch from Melbourne songwriters Grego and Sweet Whirl is going to be so…well sweet.

Back in 2020, the pair each released new albums Destiny and How Much Works, and now, together, they finally get to live launch them.

Deep dive into Gregor’s left-field pop-tinged observations and intimate confessions, which draw you into its epic and engrossing psychedelic world. On How Much Works, Sweet Whirl’s Esther Edquist stakes her claim as one of the country’s best songwriters, delivering effortless compositions, track after track.

Get ready to be swept away.

Julia Jacklin

Sunday 30 & Monday 31 May @ Comedy Theatre

One of the most extraordinary songwriters and voices to emerge in Australia over the last few years, Julia Jacklin is a performer you need to hear live.

Tender, revealing, and intimate, Jacklin’s uniquely powerful vocal – restrained yet strong, and heart-achingly delicate and utterly commanding – will tie threads around your soul in seconds.

She won over fans new and old when she released Crushing back in 2019, and still, two years on we continue to discover new feelings and emotions attached to it. Today Crushing’s themes feel particularly relevant during a year which has tested the ties which hold us all together, both inside and out.

Joining Jacklin on both night’s will be one of our Artists to Watch in 2021, Kulin Nations-based singer Kee’ahn.

Julia Jacklin – to Perth, before the border closes (Official Video)

The Necks

Wednesday 2 & Thursday 3 June @ Comedy Theatre

You’re going to get to know many sides of cult Australian improvisation icons The Necks this RISING festival. As a band In Residency, they’ll perform across multiple venues in different formats.

As well as providing a dramatic live score to Back to Back Theatre’s re-staging of its seminal work Food Court and performing in solo-made at Melbourne Recital Centre, across two nights at the Comedy Theatre they’ll be doing exactly what they do best – sending piano, drums, percussion and bass strings swirling around the room.

Their sound is absolutely undefinable, but if there’s one thing we’re certain of, it is that a night with The Necks it truly unforgettable.

Conan Mockasin

Friday 4 & Saturday 5 June @ Comedy Theatre

Connan Mockasin is something of a mystery, even in his home country of New Zealand. From rumours of wild adventures to his legion of famous fans and collaborators –including Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, James Blake, Dev Hynes AKA Blood Orange, MGMT, and Mac DeMarco – he is best described as an enigma.

For the better part of a decade, he has been winning fans far and wide with his nail’s pace R&B, dulcet falsetto, and woozy psychedelia. Now, for his Rising Festival appearances Mockasin will screen two new, never-seen-before episodes of his TV “melodrama” Bost’n ’n Dobs’n followed by an unplugged solo set.

Connan Mockasin – Charlotte's Thong (2018)

Grand Salvo & The Orbweavers

Sunday 6 June @ Comedy Theatre

Over one night of lush instrumentation and songwriting, Melbourne’s Grand Salvo and The Orbweavers join forces for the first time since 2006 to mark career milestones with their RISING performances.

Grand Salvo’s Paddy Mann celebrates the project’s 21st anniversary, during which he’s released seven albums. Along with a full band, Mann plays tracks from the simple guitar-based songs heard on his first album 1642–1747, all the way to 2018’s Sea Glass.

Opening the evening are The Orbweavers, who 10 years ago released Loom—a celebrated collection of dark folk music. They’ll celebrate by performing a collection of the album’s most beloved songs.

Grand Salvo – All Those Stars (Live)

The vision for RISING is centred on the idea that culture is a human right. This means really embedding art, music and ceremony in public spaces and creating opportunities for participation…RISING is a festival of unrepeatable, site-specific performance and large-scale public art, new collaborations in theatre and dance, and novel line-ups in live music all connected by food, wine and fun.

Hannah Fox, RISING Co-Artistic Director

RISING Festival Melbourne takes place from Wednesday 26 May to Sunday 6 June 2021. Tickets are on sale via