Seven reasons to go to St Kilda Festival’s 40th anniversary event

Living Well | Sue Hewitt | Posted on 24 January 2020

Now in its 40th year, St Kilda Festival 2020 is set to be bigger and better than ever. 

Australia’s biggest free live music event will take over the St Kilda foreshore on 9 February as an expected 400,000 people flock to the 40th St Kilda Festival.  

The festival, which has launched the careers of numerous Australian musicians, will feature more than 50 acts over eight stages and a “secret guest” to be announced on 31 January.  

This year’s line-up features some of the nation’s best musicians performing on multiple stages from 10am to 10pm, as well as an eclectic program of workshops, kids’ entertainment, sport, dance, carnival rides, food and drinks, markets, shopping and more. 

Revellers are encouraged to dress in ’80s garb – think shoulder pads, big hair, leg-warmers – in a nod to the first festival in 1980. 

Roads in and around the festival precinct including Upper Esplanade, Jacka Boulevard and Fitzroy Street will be closed to traffic from 3am and delays are expected on streets leading into the area. Click here for a map of expected road closures. People are advised to take public transport, with extra tram services scheduled.

Need help getting there? RACV’s new journey planner app arevo, a partner of St Kilda Festival, has got you covered. Simply plug in your destination and it will give the the best and fastest way to get to the festival, whether that be by tram, bus, train, bike or a ride-share service.  

Crowds of people watching live music at beachfront concert at sunset

Seven reasons to go to St Kilda Festival


Music is the main drawcard with a diverse line-up of emerging and established artists performing on eight stages. The talent crosses multiple genres from garage rock to glam pop, and includes such varied acts as ’90s favourites The Black Sorrows and Indigenous Hip Hop Projects. The New Music Stage will feature 10 of the best emerging acts vying for the crowd’s vote and a $5000 prize while the Songwriters Collective stage will showcase original singer-songwriters selected for their unique musicianship and passion.

Latin street carnaval 

Inspired by Latin America’s street carnavales, four roving bands will bring vibrancy and colour to the streets as they march through St Kilda. Each band offers its own distinctive version of Latin American music. Afro-Brazilian percussion group Maracatu Estrela do Mar will entertain with cheeky lyrics and contagious rhythms, while Agobloco will perform traditional Brazilian carnival marches including the popular Marchinhas from the 1920s to the 1960s. Murga brings a noisy, joyous celebration of life and La Descarga pays tribute to the music and dance traditions of Afro-Colombian regions with a riot of rhythms.

Bubble soccer

Make like Ronaldo – sort of – in a no-rules soccer match as you smash into and bounce off your opponents, protected by a man-size bubble. The Germans call bubble soccer  “loopyball” ... you will see why. 

Girl playing in giant ball pit
Two people dressed in armour having a jousting competion


Ever thought the downward dog had its own rhythm? Well, it does have a beat in Discoyoga where you get an aerobic workout using the vinyasa flow in time with music. A live DJ dishes out tunes to uplift and invigorate.

Beach volleyball

See Australia’s best beach volley athletes take on fresh talent from around the world in the Victorian Open Beach Volleyball championships on the St Kilda foreshore.

Bollywood dancing

If you’ve dreamt of starring in a Bollywood blockbuster join dance guru Bindaas okay as she shows you the latest moves in modern Indian dance. You might even win a prize. 

Eat your way around the pop-up food market

Whether you're into vegan fare or fusion foods, this year's festival promises a mouthwatering array of globally inspired treats. Go bananas for, er, choc-dipped frozen bananas. Pig out on pizza, gozleme, gourmet pies, Polish dumplingsUrugayan steak sandwiches, spudswaffle bao, Brazilian barbecueFrench cheeseNepalese street food or vegan shawarma. Or indulge your sweet tooth and and tuck into crepes, poffertjes, gelatoGreek doughnuts, praline nuts or fairy floss spun into the shape of your favourite animal.

Other festival favourites include aerial circus performances, Dancing With the Stars dance lessons, carnival rides, medieval combat tournaments, giant seagulls and more.