What You Need to Know about the Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Laughter is healthy and often associated with happiness. It is a great tool to combat stress and a number of life’s difficulties. There are several industries dedicated to promoting and provoking this action, like the movie industry, YouTube, performers, and comedians. They operate independently, though you can sometimes see notable figures in festivals all over the world. One such event is the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

What Is It?

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival, or MICF, is the third largest comedy festival in the world, right behind Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival and Montreal’s Just For Laughs. It lasts about a month, between March and April. There are thousands and thousands of performers, each with their own style of comedy. Apart from stand-up comedy, there is also the cabaret, debates, musicals, and plays. It is truly a festival where comedy comes in all shapes and sizes.


MICF started in 1987 when it featured 56 separate acts. The original idea was that the festival should revolve around April Fool’s Day. One of the event’s co-founders, John Pinder, toyed with the idea of an international comedy festival as early as the 80s. A couple of years later, performers from all around the world were flooding in to make their mark at this festival.


There are several things that separate MICF from other comedy festivals. For one thing, there is less pressure, so the performers have fun while doing what they love, without a desperate need for the audience’s approval.

There are also three events/programs that are the pillars of MICF. They are Raw Comedy, Class Clowns and Deadly Funny.

Raw Comedy

Raw Comedy is, essentially, a competition between emerging comics. The competition starts in January, and it ends during MICF. To compete, you must be a resident of Australia and you mustn’t have made over $500 from your comedy acts. You get five minutes and a once-in-a-lifetime chance to amaze the spectators. There is a chance for you to compete again, but no more than three times, provided you haven’t made it to the National Final.

Class Clowns

This is not just a competition, it’s also a program for high-schoolers who wish to hone their skills. There are workshops where trade secrets are shared among the nation’s future of comedy. So, if you’re a teen with a knack for comedy, give it a go.

Deadly Funny

To compete in the Deadly Funny, you have to be indigenous. Not only that, you have to be over 18, you can bring up to 2 friends, and your act should be no longer than five minutes. The Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders that are younger than 18 can still compete as Class Clowns.


Celebrating Australia Day

Every year, on 26 January, families gather, friends go on picnics, and thousands of spectators enjoy the many parades. They are celebrating Australia Day, though, depending on who you talk to, the holiday carries a different name. Some know it as Foundation Day, while others call it Survival Day. There are several indigenous groups that insist on calling the holiday Invasion Day. But what is it, exactly? What event is celebrated, and why does this date hold several different names?

The Date

The holiday is observed in memory of the landing of the British First Fleet in what’s today known as New South Wales. On the same date, 26 January 1788, Arthur Philip raised the flag of Great Britain, claiming the land in the name of King George III. Philip was a Navy officer, and later became the first governor of New South Wales, which was established officially in February of the same year.

The trip itself served to found a penal colony. Eleven ships, carrying around 1500 people, traveled for three months in search of land. In spite of numerous difficulties, the death toll was abnormally low.

How Is It Celebrated?

These days, Australia day celebrates the diversity of all constituents, so it is not uncommon for the citizenship ceremonies to occur during Australia Day. In fact, it has become a tradition to grant new Australians citizenship on this day.

Families spend time together, there are large-scale community barbecues, fireworks, and outdoor concerts, though the term ‘concert’ is an understatement. It would be more accurate to say that there are music festivals in celebration of the day. There are also several sports competitions, including boat races.

One of the biggest ceremonies of the day, the Order of Australia awards, occurs on this day as well. The Order of Australia is an order of chivalry, and there are five levels of the order. Other special awards are also given to exceptional citizens, like the Australian of the Year.


There has been a lot of talk over the years to move the date of Australia’s national holiday. The reason behind it is the fact that there are Aboriginal groups who are more than uncomfortable celebrating the day the settling convicts claimed their land. They have dubbed this date Invasion Day. Others, like the National Indigenous Television, believe the date should be referred to as Survival Day, as a symbol of the indigenous cultures surviving to this day.

Besides moving the date, there is a growing trend of districts refusing to hold citizenship ceremonies on this day. Additionally, these districts no longer refer to the date as Australia Day. They opt, instead, to hold events to promote Aboriginal culture.

Ever since 1938, the Aboriginal Australians have been holding protests on this date, calling it the Day of Mourning. The original Day of Mourning was organized by the Aborigines Progressive Association and it served not only as a protest but also as a demand for full citizenship and equal treatment.


Australian Fashion Week

Australian Fashion Week is an annual event that celebrates fashion and culture. It is officially called Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia due to the current principal sponsor and it is a time when the most prominent names in the fashion industry, from editors, influencers to models, and even buyers, flock to Sydney to take part in the country’s most important fashion and lifestyle event.

Usually, it takes places in May and the latest spring/summers creations from Australian and Asia Pacific designers are showcased at the event. It is an event dedicated to retail buyers and unlike consumer fashion weeks where clothes currently available are on display, this one showcases only upcoming collections.

In the last several years, Carriageworks in Redfern, Sydney, was the meeting point for Australia’s most talented fashion designers, best-known retailers and red carpet celebrities, as this is the venue where the event has been held since 2013.

The event was founded by Simon Lock, a PR consultant and ski magazine reporter, and the very first edition of the Australian Fashion Week was held in 1996.

An event for local and international designers

Each year, Australian Fashion Week sets the scene for a spectacular event that runs abreast the most famous international fashion shows. Australian designers took advantage of Fashion Week to showcase their latest creations and thus draw international attention and recognition in a bid to increase their following and profits.

A curated selection of well-known fashion designers in Australia, as well as the most outstanding new talent in the country, participates at runway shows, presentations and other industry events.

Over the years, a number of innovative local designers such as Alex Perry, Zimmermann, Lisa Ho, Toni Maticevski, Leona Edmiston, Easton Pearson, Ericaamerica and Gwendolynne have made a name for themselves at the fashion show, which brings together both local and international fashion elite.

Actually, this is the only fashion festival in Australia of international notoriety and it connects local designers with a worldwide audience of buyers, consumers and media.

The front rows at the week-long fashion show are always filled with local and global celebrities, who attract international attention to the event, prominent influencers, and of course media representatives from all over the globe who are ready to show the creations of the Australian designers to the entire world. The event opens the Australian fashion industry to exceptional business opportunities.

Though sometimes the show has been criticized for being out of sync with the international fashion market, as it happened in 2012 when some designers preferred to get ready for international events and skipped the Australian Fashion Week, it seems that buyers from all over the globe consider the easy-going style of Australian fashion quite appealing.

As with any other fashion festival, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia tries to bring something new every year. For instance, the lead-up event to 2018’s show took place on an actual runway, as in a real airport runway. Two models donning clothes created by local fashion house Romance Was Born, formed by the talented duo Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales, posed next to an Etihad Airways plane as part of the Runway to Runway event.

All in all, the success of the Australian fashion industry depends on local designers and the international consumers and buyers, and the relationship between these two parts. Though prospects look good at the moment, the future of fashion in the country ultimately relies on international collaborations.

Top Facts About the Australian Open

Tennis fans from all over the world flock to Australia in the second week of January every year to attend the Australian Open, one of four Grand Slam competitions in professional tennis. The event is held at Melbourne Park and gives a great start to the year in tennis, preceding the Wimbledon, the French Open and the US Open, the other three tennis tournaments making up the Grand Slam.

The tournament, which is the biggest and most important sporting event in the Southern Hemisphere, is also called the Grand Slam of Asia/Pacific and is eagerly awaited and received with much enthusiasm by tennis aficionados each year. The fact that the event recorded the highest attendance at a Grand Slam tournament stands as proof to its popularity. No less than 743,667 people attended the Australian Open in 2018.

When it comes to competition types during the event, it should be mentioned that the tournament includes men’s and women’s singles, men’s, women’s and mixed doubles, as well as junior’s championships. Additionally, there are events dedicated to wheelchair-bound players and legends. The matches are always a popular thing to bet on, and even small sportsbooks such as the World Star offer some odds on them together with their own World Star betting bonus.

In the last decade, the tennis championship has been dominated by the “Big Four”, comprised of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Andy Murray.

Short history of Australian Open

The Australian Open was first introduced in 1905, when it was called Australasian Championships and was played at the Warehouseman’s Cricket Ground in Melbourne.

In the beginning, it used to take place across different cities in Australia, including Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane, but starting 1987 it was only held in Melbourne. The Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club housed the event from 1972 until 1988, when it moved to a more permanent venue – the Melbourne Park complex.

In the early 20th century, foreign players were a rare sight at the tournament due to the distant geographical location of Australia, but in 1946 several US-based tennis players entered the competition.

Tournament dates

Over time, the dates of the Australian Open fluctuated greatly. This happened mostly in the early years and was due to the fact that this mega tennis event did not have a fixed location and organizers decided the dates based on the climate of each site.

If in 1919, the competition was held in the month of January, the next year it was moved to the middle of March, while in 1923 it took place in August. Actually, the Australian Open didn’t have a fixed date until 1977. From then on, it has always been held over the last fortnight of January each year.

Grass Court vs Hard Court

In its inception, the Australian Open was played on a grass ground. Things didn’t change until 1988 when hard courts began to replace the grass ones. At the moment, this tennis event is played on hard courts, three of which also have retractable roofs, which allows play to continue even in harsh weather conditions, like heavy rain or extreme heat.

Tournament Winners

The Australian Open has come a long way since its beginnings and prominent names in the tennis world have stepped foot on the Melbourne Park floors and displayed their skills and talent. Some of the legends that won this big tournament include Roy Stanley Emerson, Mats Wilander, Kenneth Robert Rosewall, Rod Laver, Rafael Nadar and Roger Federer. As for women that made a name for themselves in Melbourne, worth mentioning are Steffi Graf, Nancy Wynne Bolton, Margaret Smith, and Martina Hingis.

All You Need to Know About the Melbourne Cup

Australia is well-known as one of the most horse-loving countries in the world. It is no wonder when you look at the scale of it – you need to have a good horse to get from one place to another!

The Melbourne Cup is one of the most prestigious horse racing events in all of the southern hemisphere. This is a 3200-meter race, reserved for thoroughbreds that are minimum three years of age.

The race always starts at 3 pm, every first Tuesday of November. This is also known as the time when the whole country stops since hundreds of thousands of people from all around the country and the rest of the world flock to watch the races.

Qualifying Terms and Races

The race takes place at the Remington Racecourse and only thoroughbreds of 3 years and more can enter. The bottom handicap weight limit is 50kg, but there is no upper weight limit. However, the maximum allocated weight cannot be less than 57kg.

The Melbourne Cup is a handicap event. This means that the total weight of the jockey and his riding equipment is adjusted using a certain amount of ballast. The ballast weight is chosen by considering the age of the horse and the horse’s previous results.

It’s All About the Prizes

The love toward beautiful thoroughbred horses plays a major role in the popularity of the Melbourne Cup. However, the incredible money prizes play a significant part as well.

The average total prize pool is usually between six and seven million dollars. That’s definitely a number worth contesting for.

The first 10 places get a piece of this huge prize. The winner, of course, gets the biggest chunk, equalling $3.6 million. The owner of the horse gets 85% of the prize, the trainer is entitled to 10%, while the jockey gets just 5%.

The Trophies Throughout the History

The first Melbourne Cup was held in 1861. The winner of this first contest won a gold watch. That was a big prize at the time but compared to today, it’s trifle.

After that, in 1865, the first Melbourne Cup Trophy was awarded to the winner. However, contrary to today’s practices, the winner was awarded a silver bowl.

Today, a new gold Melbourne Cup Trophy is made every year and given to the winner as their own property. Since horse races can end up in a close tie, there is always a second trophy at hand.

Since 2003, the Melbourne Cup Trophy has been taken on an annual tour around Australia to be presented to different communities, who otherwise wouldn’t have a chance to see it.