The best free events in Victoria this summer

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Whether you’re roaming the state or staying put this summer, Victoria has a host of free events to keep you entertained.

Compiled by Jade Thrupp
November 2018

Cinema Pop Up

When: 22 November to 20 January  
Where: Ararat, Bannockburn, Traralgon, Warragul, Eildon, Barooga, Rural City of Wangaratta, and Kilmore

With Christmas classics such as Home Alone and recent hits such as Coco, this pop-up outdoor cinema is for everyone. Take your own eats or buy food-truck tucker or cinema snacks on site. This cinema visits parks for just a few nights in each of the locations above, so check the website for your town’s dates. 

Please note: Free tickets are available online only. There is a charge for tickets bought at the gate.

picnic in the vines ringer reef winery free summer event

 Picnic in the Vines.

Picnic in the Vines

When: 14 December to 15 March (various) 
Where: Ringer Reef Winery, Porepunkah

Bring a rug and enjoy an evening of live tunes while watching the sun set over Mount Buffalo. Platters and drinks will be available (no BYO alcohol).

Bright Rotary summer concert series

When: 23 December to 20 January (various) 
Where: Howitt Park, Bright

While summer is heating up, head over to Howitt Park for free music and entertainment, kicking off with a Christmas carols performance on 23 December.

Indian Summer Festival

When: 23, 26 and 27 December    
Where: Yarra Park

This three-day festival is built on five shared cultural pillars that unite modern India and Melbourne: food, music, art, film and cricket.

71st Moyneyana Festival

When: 24 December to 26 January (various)
Where: Port Fairy

This community festival offers heaps of free activities under the theme ‘Our Playground’, plus a New Year’s Eve parade with fireworks at midnight.

man holding a sun umbrella midsumma festival free summer event

Join the revellers at Midsumma Festival. Source: Midsumma Festival

popcorn against white background

Enjoy a night of free outdoor cinema at Cinema Pop Up. Source: Unsplash

Summer Sundays

When: 6, 13 and 20 January
Where: Ballarat Botanical Gardens

January Sundays are the perfect time for a relaxed post-Christmas catch-up with those you missed in the festive season. Gather friends and a picnic blanket, and settle in for an eclectic mix of live music styles, tasty eats and a relaxed vibe.

Australian Open Festival

When: 8 to 27 January
Where: Birrarung Marr

Practice your forehand with a hit on the new Tennis Club on Lower Terrace or grab your friends and head over to the Upper Terrace for non-stop food and entertainment, including Huxtaburger and Canadian Club Racquet Club.

Midsumma Festival

When: 19 January to 10 February
Where: Various venues

Join the celebration at Melbourne’s leading queer arts and cultural festival. There are more than 170 diverse events: celebrate the beginning of the festival at Midsumma Carnival, hold your rainbow flag high while attending the Midsumma Pride March through St Kilda and keep the party going at the Festival Bar.

While you’re there, check out the RACV dog photobooth to get a snap of your furry friend celebrating pride. Tag @theracv to have your happy snap featured on our Instagram feed.

Victoria Street Lunar Festival

When: 20 January
Where: Victoria Street, Richmond

Richmond’s take on Lunar New Year celebrations is one of Victoria’s most vibrant and best known. Celebrate the Year of the Pig with a range of stalls, displays and food to contribute to a fabulous, free celebration.

band playing at summer sundays in ballarat

Summer Sundays in Ballarat. Source: City of Ballarat.

RACV Australia Day Festival

When: 26 January
Where: Kings Domain Gardens

Join RACV at this family-friendly event filled with entertainment and activities. The RACV Australia Day Festival has something for everyone, including a motoring and mobility showcase, an exciting main stage program, Melbourne's favourite food trucks, and a great spot to look skyward to watch the Roulettes air display.


Festival of Sails

When: 26 to 28 January
Where: Geelong Waterfront and Royal Geelong Yacht Club

Summer holidays are the perfect time for a day at the waterfront, and Geelong’s Festival of Sails has it all. The event includes the largest annual keel boat regatta in the southern hemisphere, along with live music, roving performers, food and a fireworks display on the Geelong waterfront.

Bonjour Bright Festival

When: 26, 27 January
Where: Howitt Park, Bright

This French-themed festival takes place alongside the Alpine Classic. There will be free activities for cycling enthusiasts as well as those who are just along for the ride, including a moonlight cinema, live music, food and wine and kids’ entertainment.

NGV kids summer festival

When: 5 to 13 January
Where: National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

The Kids Summer Festival is an action-packed week of free workshops and exciting live performances. This year’s theme is Make Believe, so get the whole family down to the NGV, where the kids can stay cool with a range of interactive activities.

festival of sails regatta geelong

Festival of Sails, Geelong.

people enjoying australia day at racv australia day festival free event

Join the fun at RACV Australia Day Festival.

Sidney Myer Free Concerts

When: 8, 16 and 20 February
Where: Sidney Myer Music Bowl

Gershwin, Dukas, Tchaikovsky … get your classical fix as the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra fills one of Melbourne’s most iconic outdoor venues with music. Gates open at 4.30pm for a 7.30pm start, so get in early to claim a spot for the best view

St Kilda Festival

When: 10 February
Where: St Kilda foreshore

Showcasing Australian artists and the natural beauty of St Kilda, this summer celebration is one of the biggest free events of the year. The annual festival attracts over 400,000 revellers keen to watch some of Australia’s best musicians along with workshops, carnival rides and more.

The Waterfront Festival

When: 16 and 17 February
Where: 7N Pier Promenade, Frankston Waterfront

Celebrate summer by the bay with a host of free activities on Frankston’s iconic waterfront. Enjoy some of the best food, wine, culture and music Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula have to offer.

panel of three dogs racv pet insurance

Head to the RACV dog photobooth at Midsumma to get a snap of your dog.