School’s out, but Shimmerlands will bring the University of Melbourne back to life over summer.

The team behind Shadow Electric has put together a two-month line-up of music, film, art and food that will transform the campus day and night throughout January and February.

In addition to multiple bars and outdoor dining areas, the grounds will host a concert hall, outdoor cinema and an open-air amphitheatre.

Shimmerlands organisers Jay Rayner and David Chestwig know how to entertain Melbourne. They launched Shadow Electric in 2011, with an outdoor cinema and much-loved, now-closed band room at Abbotsford Convent.

Rayner says the pair chose Melbourne University because of its beauty and under-used potential. “It’s quite rare to find such a beautiful space in close proximity to the city that can hold thousands of people,” says Rayner. “And it’s essentially not activated for two months of the year, which is crazy.”

For the duration of Shimmerlands, the Parkville campus will be divided into four main entertainment areas: The Cinema, The Pavilion, Live Music and The Food Quarter.

At the heart of Shimmerlands is The Pavilion, “a huge shade structure where people can hang around and socialize,” Rayner says. Designed by Ha Architects in collaboration with Melbourne University graduates, the space will have a bar and seating.

On the music front, Shadow Electric has enlisted Supple Fox, creative producers for Hobart’s Dark Mofo festival, to curate a line-up of local and international acts. Brooklyn-based band Parquet Courts is already confirmed, and headliners will continue to be announced. “We’ll be keeping a lot of the weekend programming up our sleeves, because we can get some really big, exciting names that way.”

Jess Ho, who owns Smalls Bar in South Melbourne, will oversee the food. So far Shimmerlands has signed on 20 Melbourne restaurants, including St ALi, Pidapipò Gelateria and Trattoria Emilia.

“We haven’t gone food truck and we haven’t gone ‘let’s get 50 food vendors in’. We’ve gone, ‘Let’s get the best 20 kitchens we can find to do food from a real point of quality’,” Rayner says.

The cinema line-up will be released on December 1. Lauren Valmadre, program director of the Human Rights and Arts Film Festival, will handpick 45 films, including indies, cult classics and music documentaries.

“There are many different ways to come and enjoy what we’ve got on offer, but it doesn’t all have to happen at once,” Rayner says. “You can enjoy it in your own time over two months.”

Shimmerlands will host free and ticketed events from January 4 to February 26 at The University of Melbourne Parkville Campus. More information at