Kid Congo At SummerSalt

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If you’ve been in the vicinity of Southbank recently, chances are you will have wondered why there are tentacles sticking out of the Arts Centre (and gently with every summer zephyr). If so, then you’ve already had your first contact with SummerSalt—Melbourne’s inaugural outdoor arts festival. Happening at various locations around Southbank and the Arts Precinct over the next few summer weekends and culminating with White Night, Summersalt has something for kids, kids-at-heart and fully-fledged adults alike.

As part of the opening night celebrations, Kid Congo and The Pink Monkey Birds, The Spoils, Kim & Leanne and DJ Adalita kicked off a great night of live music right in the heart of the city. Testing Grounds—a repurposed lot located behind the Arts Centre—is just a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of main thoroughfare St. Kilda Road, and yet manages to exude a secluded Secret-Garden-esque vibe. Surrounded on all four sides by an amalgam of inner-city apartment buildings, roads, the rear of the Arts Centre and a large grey concrete wall, Testing Grounds seems to have sprung up out of nowhere and almost overnight. With its dull white shipping container edifices, cheery outdoor umbrellas and wooden crate plant boxes that double as seating, Testing Grounds is the epitome of relaxed, urbanite Melbourne.

As the night progresses, some of the residents of the surrounding apartments are peeping their heads out onto their balconies just to see what the fuss is about. Watching the sun set, half the fun is coming to the realisation that music shouldn’t be constricted to just those who have paid for the privilege and made concrete plans to come in advance; Testing Grounds’ unique open-air location means there are no qualms about sharing the experience with those who just happen by at the right place, at the right time. And with a much less high-strung feel all around, Testing Grounds caters to a smaller, more laidback crowd, where you can choose to stand and jam to the set, or head to the back for a more intimate chat.

Balmy summer nights spent under the stars with good music, a couple of drinks, and a couple of good friends: it doesn’t get any better than this, folks.

The Summersalt Festival will be continuing until Saturday February 21st.

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