by the partae

The Australian Open Finals Festival, held on the 25th, 27th, and 28th of January, marked the culmination of the 2024 Australian Open in Naarm/Melbourne, delivering an electrifying mix of music, entertainment, and cultural celebration. The festival, organized by Untitled Group, aimed to complement the diverse and multicultural nature of the Australian Open while ensuring it stands as an independent and vibrant event.

The festival’s final day coincided with the Men’s Final, transforming the John Cain Arena into a musical spectacle that drew record-breaking crowds. The atmosphere was nothing short of festive, with marquee dance music acts such as Rudimental and Groove Armada taking the stage. Rudimental, a multicultural UK collective, brought their energetic drum ‘n’ bass hits, celebrating the 10th anniversary of their debut album “Home.” The crowd was treated to anthems like “Feel The Love,” “Waiting All Night,” and “These Days,” creating an infectious party vibe.

The festival also featured local talents, including Melburnian hotshot Cooper Smith, Samoan-Guringai DJ Latifa Tee, and Melbourne club DJ Sunshine with her Disco Faith Choir. The latter, donned in vibrant costumes, delivered soulful performances, covering songs like Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” and The Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” infusing an Australian Mardi Gras aesthetic into the music.

Chenai, a gracefully soulful newcomer, took the spotlight, leading Rudimental in their 2023 UK hit “Dancing Is Healing” and introducing an unreleased cover of Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn.” The festival reached its climax with Groove Armada, known as ’90s UK dance ambassadors, taking the decks. Their set was a bold mix of classic crossover dance tunes, including Robin S’s “Show Me Love” and Daft Punk’s “One More Time.”

The festival’s success was not just about the music; it reflected the diversity and inclusivity of the Australian Open. From AO Pride Day with LGBTQIA+ artists like Peach PRC and DJ Luv You to the powerhouse performance by Tash Sultana, the festival showcased a wide range of talents. Tash Sultana’s return to the Melbourne stage after five years was a highlight, displaying their instrumental prowess and diverse musical styles.

On the electrifying  day of January 27th, the Australian Open Finals Festival dazzled with an exceptional roster of artists, infusing the air with a dynamic and eclectic musical atmosphere. The stage came alive with the captivating performances of Mell Hall, Tia Gostelow, The Jungle Giants, Ruel, and DMA’S. Each artist brought their distinctive flair and infectious energy, weaving together a tapestry of sound that not only defined the festival but also left the audience on a euphoric and unforgettable musical odyssey.

The festival’s evolution from the inaugural AO Finals Festival in 2023 to the upgraded John Cain Arena with double the capacity in 2024 demonstrated its growing popularity. Despite the challenge of rainy weather on AO Pride Day, the production quality remained high, featuring charismatic hosts like drag queen Courtney Act and striking visuals.

The Australian Open Finals Festival has solidified its place as a significant cultural event, not merely a musical satellite of the tennis tournament. It successfully weaves together mainstream and multicultural elements, delivering a unique and vibrant experience that adds an extra layer of joy to “The Happy Slam.” The diverse lineup and dynamic performances underscored the festival’s commitment to inclusivity and entertainment, making it a fitting conclusion to the 2024 Australian Open.

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