Melbourne’s CBD will resemble a ghost town on Christmas Eve as thousands of revellers make their way across town for Carols By Candlelight, a festive tradition now in its 82nd year.
Nothing says Christmas in Australia quite like Carols By Candlelight, a much-loved Christmas Eve tradition that Melburnians have embraced for 82 years.
As the sun goes down, more than 10,000 people make their way to the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, across the river from the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), to sing along to festive favourites like Silent Night, Little Drummer Boy and White Christmas.
Carols by Candlelight is Vision Australia’s largest annual fundraiser, with 100 per cent of profits from ticket sales and donations going towards much-needed services for blind and low vision children.
From its humble beginnings – with a 30-strong choir, two solo performers and the Metropolitan Fire Brigade Band – the event has become a family-favourite broadcast to around two million people on the Nine Network.
Longtime host Ray Martin might be long gone, but the show remains a popular event whether you’re watching it live or while wrapping last-minute presents at home.
Channel Nine star David Campbell returns for the 6th year as host, this time with Carols newcomer Allison Langdon (pictured).
Through the years, Carols has wheeled out more stars of stage and screen than you can poke a stick at, from kids favourites like Humphrey B. Bear, Hi-5 and some person who came second on Australian Idol, to performers like Rhonda Burchmore.
Humphrey won’t be there this year, but Australian tenor and composer David Hobson will, alongside ARIA award winner Anthony Callea, Marina Prior and Denis Walter. There’ll also be a visit from Santa as he sets out on the busiest night of his year.
Singer and pianist Paul Kapeleris, who made headlines on Australia’s Got Talent, is this year’s Carols ambassador. Kapeleris was born with only 5 per cent vision.
Those who don’t want to brave the crowds on Christmas Eve may want to consider the rehearsal performance instead.
It’s a more laid-back version of the real deal held on December 23, and provides a fascinating glimpse of what goes on the behind the scenes.
Performers won’t be in costume and may practice their musical items a number of times – which could either be fantastic or terrible depending on the song.
Need To Know
When: Tuesday, December 24. Gates open 4pm, children’s on-stage entertainment 6pm, main show 8pm.
Where: Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Kings Domain Gardens, Linlithgow Ave, Melbourne.
Duration: The main event is scheduled to finish about 11pm, but often runs overtime.
Getting There: If you’re coming into the city by train the Sidney Myer Music Bowl is about a 15 minute walk (about 1 km) from Flinders Street station through the Queen Victoria Gardens. You can also catch a tram from Federation Square outside Flinders Street station to the Grant St stop and walk from there.
Parking: The closest available parking is Arts Centre Melbourne, a 10-minute walk from the venue.
There are two ticketed areas options at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl –
the reserved seated stalls section and general admission on the lawn area. Children under three enter free.
Vision Australia’s Carols By Candlelight will be broadcast live around Australia on Channel Nine and Nine Now from 8pm on Christmas Eve.
Did You Know? Sidney Myer Music Bowl was a gift to Melbourne from the Sidney Myer Charity Trust, created by businessman, music lover and philanthropist Sidney Myer to benefit all Melburnians and visitors to the city.
© 2019 Bernard O’Riordan (Travel Instinct). All Rights Reserved
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