The Moomba Festival is an iconic annual event held in Melbourne, Australia, during the Labour Day long weekend in March. Organized by the City of Melbourne, it’s recognized as one of Australia’s largest free community festivals, regularly drawing over a million people.

The event was initiated by the City Development Association to liven up Melbourne and attract tourists. The first Moomba parade took place in 1955 on the Labour Day public holiday in March, which commemorated the advent of the eight hour working day, which was first won in 1856.

The festival showcases a rich mix of activities including a parade with floats, the crowning of Moomba monarchs (a gender-neutral title). Live music performances have featured artists such as ABBA (1977), Neil Diamond, AC/DC, Kylie Minogue, Tex Perkins, Daryl Braithwaite John Farnham, and Alicia Keys in past events, highlighting its appeal to a diverse audience.

The term “Moomba” was suggested by Indigenous Australian Bill Onus in 1951, though its meaning is uncertain or disputed. Traditional events at Moomba include the Moomba parade, waterskiing tournaments on the Yarra River, river floats, the Birdman Rally, and fireworks displays. During the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2021, a modified version of the festival, called “Moomba 2.0”, was held instead of the full-scale even​​​​.

Moomba Birdman Event
Find your wings ant the annual Birdman event at Moomba (credit Time Out)

For schedules, lineups, and ticketing details, visit the Moomba Festival Official Website.

Festival Australia respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which Moomba takes place, the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung and Bunurong Boon Wurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin and pays respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.

Emphasizing environmental sustainability, Moomba encourages eco-friendly practices and public transportation use to reduce its ecological footprint. Past events have featured notable artists like Kylie Minogue, John Farnham, and international stars like Alicia Keys, presenting diverse musical genres and other engaging events. The festival’s pinnacle is the Moomba Parade, complemented by water sports competitions on the Yarra River.

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