What is FUSE?

FUSE is a new bold, dynamic arts and culture festival set to transform Darebin for the first time in March 2020.

The program for the inaugural festival runs from March 13 to 29, and encompasses an incredible array of events, including music, fashion, exhibitions, film, performance, craft, public art, dance, literature, food & wine, family friendly and cultural events, as well as a range of participatory workshops & talks.

Stretching from Keon Park on Darebin’s Northern border to Alphington in the South, FUSE is Darebin’s most ambitious festival to date.

Almost one third of events are free to attend and a further third are low-cost.  

FUSE unites the previous festival offerings of Darebin Music Feast, Darebin Homemade Food & Wine Festival and Darebin Community & Kite Festival into an eclectic, new multi-disciplinary arts and cultural festival, delivered twice a year every Autumn and Spring.


What changes are being made to Darebin’s community festivals?

In adopting the new festivals model, Council has opted to present two festival each year which will happen in autumn and spring and provide FOUR weeks of arts activation across the municipality this year. Over the next three years it will grow to be eight weeks each year.

It is a multi-arts festival that aims to bring more people together to celebrate creativity, collaboration and belonging in more locations right across Darebin. It will introduce new and exciting events and contain many of the successful elements of our much-loved existing community festivals. This offers a fresh approach to programming and a unique program every season. 


Why are these changes being made?

In 2018, Council commissioned a report into the Future of Festivals in Darebin.

The review found that increased compliance costs of large-scale events were absorbing budget and resources which could instead be spent on presenting a range of smaller, bespoke and boutique arts events to more diverse audiences.

The new model is an evolution of previous offerings, which enables a broader and more diverse art form approach. This aligns with our local community’s creative aspirations and ambitions. The event footprint increases participation of artists, audiences and will result in more events presented in more parts of the city across two festival seasons.


Will the Darebin Community and Kite Festival continue?

We know the community love the traditional kite-flying element of the Darebin Community and Kite Festival so we’re continuing this tradition and programming the kite flying event, along with some other exciting new experiences for children and their families, at a family-friendly event, Keon Spark, at Keon Park Children’s Hub and surrounding parkland on 22 March 2020.

Instead of expending a great deal of Council’s festival resources and funding on a one-day event, we are spreading it across more days and expanding out to other parts of Darebin, to engage more audiences and work with a greater number of artists also.


Why is the kite flying part of the event moving away from Edwardes Lake Park?

Originally that festival had rotated each year between All Nations Park in Northcote and Edwardes Lake Park in Reservoir. It has only been in recent years that it has been held solely at Edwardes Lake Park. In 2020, the family, kite flying event will be held at Keon Park Children’s Hub.

One of the objectives of the new festivals model is to engage more diverse audiences and spread events across wider geographical areas, Keon Park was chosen as this year’s location for the event as it’s in a part of Darebin that hasn’t previously had a community festival.

Events will return to Edwards Lake Park under the FUSE model; however, the park is currently subject to capital works that won’t be concluded until after the FUSE Autumn 2020 festival.


What about the Darebin Homemade Food and Wine Festival and Backyard Harvest Festival – will they continue?

Feedback from the community consultation included a desire to support local makers engaged in other food traditions, textiles, craft and artisan products. The new festival opens up these opportunities for community to initiate and collaborate with each other and with Council as the festival producer.

With that in mind, in 2020, popular aspects of the Darebin Homemade Food and Wine Festival will continue.

The Meet the Makers wine tasting event will be presented as part of a two-day Italian Fiesta community led event at Darebin Arts Centre. At the event, visitors can again meet with, and discuss wine making techniques and taste wine made by local wine makers.

Additionally, about 20 events are programmed with a food theme as part of the Backyard Harvest in FUSE Autumn in 2020. These events are programmed across Darebin, providing multiple opportunities for residents right across Darebin to attend.


How was community consulted in this decision?

In 2018, Council commissioned a report into the Future of Festivals in Darebin.

Council resolved in December 2018 to adopt Option 3 - Two festivals per year to run seasonally in spring and autumn, delivered as key markers in the annual calendar.

A public consultation process was then developed and delivered, concluding in May 2019. The consultation was very well subscribed and internal and external contributors included artists, creative businesses, festival goers, community representatives and other stakeholders, such as the Darebin Ethnic Communities Council. All offered great insights, numerous suggestions, as well as expressing doubts and concerns mainly to do with how the model would be implemented.

The consultation clearly demonstrated that the Darebin community values festivals and events as a way of coming together and a sense of belonging, as a forum for creative development and expression, and as a way of offering new and interesting experiences.

Direct engagement included:

  • 71 Online Surveys
  • 264 face to face surveys
  • 80 Sector Professionals at Arts Hack 2018
  • Workshops delivered for: 24 Internal (Inter-department) stakeholders
  • 19 Arts Ambassadors and local creative industry

Council has taken on board feedback which included keen interest in ensuring festivals provide:

  • New experiences
  • Family Friendly
  • Showcasing diverse cultures
  • Participatory activities
  • Inclusive and welcoming
  • Food and Wine
  • Affordable
  • All over Darebin (location)
  • Accessible


Presented By
Major Partners