When November’s traditional 10-day incarnation of Melbourne Music Week (MMW) was scuttled for obvious reasons, the more than decade-old institution took the opportunity to reinvent itself.

Enter MMW–Extended, a newfound marathon version of MMW running from Wed 9th December, 2020 to Sun 28th February 2021. Featuring 200 events spanning live music, talks and other programming across no fewer than 35 locations, for the first time ever the line-up is 100% local, meaning all the more opportunity to support Australian music after an incredibly tough year for it.

The festival will of course prioritise Covid-safe gigs during its summer run. This includes instances of seated shows, multiple performances per night for some artists (to maximise audience capacities), outdoor venues where possible and all of the Covid-safe protocols we've become accustomed to this year.

MMW–Extended kicks off December 9 with a program curated by Kuku Yalanji, Jirrbal and Badu Island artist, Kee'ahn, featuring performances from Aboriginal dance group Djirri Djirri, The Merindas and more across four city locations. Opening night will also include the Music Victoria Awards at Melbourne Recital Centre featuring live sets from Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Alice Skye, Elizabeth, and Simona Castricum. The awards and MMW’s opening night event, Wominjeka, will also be live-streamed.

It wouldn’t be MMW without the chance to see music in unusual settings around town. This year’s slate includes Baker Boy headlining the Melbourne Recital Centre and Magic Dirt’s Adalita playing a Melbourne Town Hall show accompanied by J.P Shilo on the room’s multi-storey Grand Organ.

Elsewhere, much-loved locals like Cable Ties, High Tension, Blake Scott, Mick Harvey, Banoffee and Allysha Joy will headline gigs across the three months at venues ranging from Cherry Bar, to The Curtin and Max Watts – the latter where hard-partying punks Private Function will throw a special Christmas-themed gig over two nights. A slate of outdoor parties will kick off with The Operatives’ We Are 16 featuring Able8, Denzel M, Emma Volard and many more, while a cross-section of artists, musicians, beatmakers and storytellers will converge on Section 8, and The Carlton International Jazz Festival will take over the upstairs room at Colour.

While there’s no MMW Hub this year, there’s a wider variety of offerings than ever before, from techno bingo and a vogue workshop to a wellbeing series ranging from Tai chi and “roadie warmup” to a dog-friendly arvo event hosted by Henry Wagons. There’s even a free podcast program featuring the likes of Spirit Level, Music in Exile and a Touch of Frost to follow from home, wherever you might be.

Melbourne Music Week runs from December 9, 2020 to February 28, 2021. See the full program and more information.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with City of Melbourne.