The Royal Croquet Club returns to the banks of the Yarra in December with a ramped up music line-up, a giant boom-box-shaped stage and acts direct from the Adelaide Fringe Festival.

“There’s definitely a bigger focus on music this year, with the stage being brought over from Adelaide and a whole bunch of awesome live acts on board,” says Royal Croquet Club event director Stuart Duckworth.

Now in its third year, the festival opened last night for 16 days of croquet, Pimm’s cups, and entertainment including The Aston Shuffle and Hayden James.

The event is bigger than ever. It has an expanded site at Birrarung Marr, and will host more live music and performances than in previous years.

Music headliners include Dope Lemon (Angus Stone), Jarryd James, KLP and Touch Sensitive.

This year the festival has also added The Parlour – a 70-seat pop-up theatre that will show acts from the Adelaide Fringe Festival.

As well as scheduled performances in The Parlour, there will also be roving entertainment and street theatre, which will extend to the water’s edge.

“The whole idea is that the event is creatively designed so that the experience isn’t just about listening to music, but engaging with live performance, and the people around you,” Duckworth says, pointing out the stage is more than just a stage, it’s an art installation.

“There will always be something to engage with,” Duckworth says, “whether that’s a show or taking in some weird and whacky performance.”

The food menu includes burgers from 8bit, pork belly from Hoy Pinoy and smoked meats and sandwiches from Up In Smoke. Gelato Messina will return with its soup tins filled with gelato, and the Pimm’s Garden is back as well. More food vendors will be announced closer to summer.

Royal Croquet Club will run from Thursday December 8 until Friday December 23.

Mon to Fri 5pm–late
Sat & Sun 12pm–late

Entry is free Sunday to Thursday and $20 after 6pm on Friday and Saturday.

This article was updated on December 9, 2016.