Alongside the blustery winds and the tentative bursts of sunshine, the second half of the year brings a slew of arts festivals to Melbourne, with the Melbourne Festival the most prestigious and highly anticipated.

In line with the theme of ‘coming together’, this year’s festival program boasts diverse artists from all corners of the world, with acts hailing from Indonesia, China and Japan to Russia, Lithuania and Israel, to name a few. And that’s not counting the large representation of local talent.

Headlining this year’s line-up is a public art installation by the Russian art collective AES+F (Tatiana Arzamasova, Lev Evzovich, Evgeny Svyatsky and Vladimir Fridkes). The group’s Angels-Demons. Parade consists of gleaming, six-metre tall cherubs – one of which has been emblazoned on the festival’s purple banners – which will tower over commuters and passersby along Swanston Street and St Kilda Road for the duration of the festival.

The theme of ‘coming together’ also encompasses the coming together of all kinds of amazing art forms. Cross-genre collaborations dominate the musical front, with Japanese post-rock legends Mono set to perform alongside a full orchestra and Indonesia’s Jecko Siompo leading his charge of dancers to merge contemporary hip-hop with traditional Papuan dance.

Taking centre stage in the Arts Centre Playhouse will be the National Theatre of China’s Rhinoceros in Love, a dark and twisted love story and a certified smash-hit that has been heralded as “the new face of 21st century Chinese theatre”.

There are also local offerings aplenty, with the Malthouse Theatre to host the near sold-out interactive theatrical delight Half-Real, put together by South Australia’s The Border Project. BalletLab is guaranteed to awe and delight with their mystical and no doubt aesthetically flamboyant production Aviary, first performed in the opening show of Melbourne Spring Fashion Week. Contemporary orchestral performances from Quartetthaus, Seraphim Trio and the Victorian Opera will also gracing venues across Melbourne.

If you’re looking for somewhere to grab a drink or bite to eat after (or in between) all the festivities, the Melbourne Festival Lounge underneath the Arts Centre provides a tropical oasis for artists, festival goers and the general public to come together and mingle.

The world, it would seem, will be congregating on our doorstep for the Melbourne Festival, so don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate the best of the arts from around the world and explore, discover and indulge yourself in this feast for the senses.

For more information and the Melbourne Festival program, visit: melbournefestival.com.au