“Food-truck festivals have just exploded. It’s actually an epidemic, so we wanted to have a point of difference with ours and innovate, not replicate,” says Chris Mitchell, events director for Coburg Velodrome.
Taking place over four days from January 26, the festival will feature a 40-foot crane for aerial acrobatics, a Mexican wrestling ring, an inflatable outdoor cinema and more than 30 food trucks (including Copa Food Truck, Nuoc Mamas, Pierogi Pierogi, Nem N' Nem Food Truck, Gelato Messina, Melbourne Paella Company and many more).
“We’ll have an area that’s specialised to desserts and an area that’s more savoury. We’re working with people who really take it seriously to represent what Melbourne is known for on a global scale, and that’s diversity,” says Mitchell.
At six o’clock each night, there will be a food-eating contest for charity (to be selected by the winner). “It’ll be in the spirit of the Coney Island hot-dog contests and will be timed with a referee in the Mexican wrestling ring,” says Mitchell.
There will also be bars, live music, market stalls and art installations by Melbourne street artists. Local band Vaudeville Smash will perform on Australia Day and Triple J's Hottest 100 Countdown will be broadcasted. Billy Davis, Scatter Scatter Sound System, Gretta Ray and Edd Fisher will grace the stage over the four days, while The Castle, Mean Girls, Night At The Roxbury and The Lion King provide the entertainment on the big screen.
Mitchell and his partner Garrath Holt used to own Red Bennies, a now-closed bar and live performance venue on Chapel Street that featured cabaret, jazz and burlesque.
“We can’t help but throw carnival elements into what we do,” Mitchell says. Mitchell and Holt have partnered with the organisers behind Pitch Music Festival and Beyond the Valley for the event.
Festivalgoers are encouraged to ride their bikes to the event.
“The velodrome was built in the ’70s and the Coburg cycling club has been around for 120 years, so that’s a history and legacy we want to acknowledge,” says Mitchell.
Register online for free entry here.
This article was updated on January 23, 2017.