Victorians were pushed to their limits over the past two years, but perhaps none more so than the frontline workers keeping our health and education sectors running.

So, when huge arts festival Rising returns to Melbourne in June – after its inaugural 2021 instalment was all but cancelled due to Covid – it’s saying a massive thank you to those workers by giving away 15,000 free tickets.

“No one understands the recent challenges faced by our community better than Victoria’s frontline workers,” Rising’s co-artistic director Gideon Obarzanek said in a statement.

“I’m thrilled that, through this initiative, Rising can throw open the gates to one of the festival’s premier experiences to extend a small gesture of thanks to frontline workers for their tireless work over the past couple of years.”

That experience is The Wilds, a sprawling, psychedelic wonderland taking over the Sidney Myer Music Bowl for three weeks. It’ll be filled with numerous giant, inflatable, internally lit technicolour sculptures (by Melbourne-born, New York-based artist duo Tin & Ed), as well as an ice-skating rink and pop-up kitchens from some of Melbourne’s best restaurants, like 1800 Lasagne and Smith & Daughters.

In collaboration with the state government, there’s an online ballot that frontline workers – including nurses, doctors, teachers and childcare workers – can enter for a chance to win up to two free tickets to the headline event.

Eligible Victorians can enter The Wilds Frontline Worker Ballot online until 11.59pm on Sunday May 22. Winners will be notified via email by Monday May 30. The Wilds runs from June 1 to 19 at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl.

rising.melbourne