Thu 6 Oct 2011 to Sat 22 Oct 2011

This year the Arts Centre’s Café Vic is transformed into an oasis of festivity, friends, performance and indulgence. The Lounge is the beating heart of Melbourne Festival and a peek into the backstage, set in an ethereal and otherworldly landscape.

With a custom menu filled with Victoria’s finest food and wine, there is no better place to enjoy everything his Festival has to offer. The Lounge will be a home away from home for artists, patrons and friends to meet day or night for a pre-show meal, a post-show discussion or to continue the party well into the night.

By day, the Lounge plays host to the renowned Artists in Conversation series, giving you the opportunity to hear some of the most esteemed artists appearing at this year’s Festival talk about their work.

During the evenings this pop-up performance lounge welcomes a huge range of performance artists through its doors including the premiere of cabaret sensations, The Lovebirds. Over five nights, these wild and exotic creatures will emerge through the foliage to perform song and dance in a blaze of Rio Carnival-inspired colour; 11-piece extravaganza Bombay Royale will dust off near-unheard relics, smash out Bollywood classics and put down surfadelic Hindi originals to bring the golden age sound of Bollywood into the future; the Shellettes will delight with their dreamy, ethereal harmonies; the renowned stylings of Briefs’ Fez Fanana will wow the crowds; and a class from Stella Angelico is designed to educate in the art of cocktail making.

At 86 years old, retiring legend Gil Askey cannot be stopped and neither can his music. Having worked as a composer, producer and musical director for the likes of Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Four Tops, the Temptations, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson 5 and Gladys Knight, he’s played trumpet alongside Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington and Count Basie, and has 23 years as Musical Director of Motown Records under his belt. Now residing in his adopted hometown of Melbourne, he will be joined on stage by some of Melbourne’s finest Jazz musicians in The Happy House, for a night sure to go down in the Festival’s history.

Taking cues from legends like James Brown and Aretha Franklin, as well as New York’s modern soul scene, Saskwatch break out their live show to take crowds from the depths of heartache to overwhelming joy in just one night; and soul will lead the way every Sunday as the Lounge transports audiences to the deep swampy south with an early evening soul food barbeque accompanied by live bands and DJs.

Proudly supported by PBS106.7 FM, the Lounge will play host to a special live broadcast on Friday 7 October, as well as providing the station’s most talented DJs to create the soundtrack of the Festival with their musical musings throughout the month.

Filled with art, music, good food and wine nightly, this year’s Melbourne Festival Lounge is guaranteed to submerge Festival goers into a heavenly place they will never want to leave.

WHERE: the Arts Centre, Café Vic
WHEN: Thu 6 – Sat 22 Oct, Tue – Sun 10.30am – late, Closed Monday