RISING Unveils its Next Mass Participation Project for 2024


June 1 – 16, 2024

RISING, Melbourne’s major festival of art, music and performance, today unveils the first flagship work in its 2024 program, heralding its return to energise the heart of the city and mark the start of winter from June 1 – 16.

In a free, Australian-exclusive world-premiere, international dance-floor phenomena, SHOUSE, will conduct a rapturous coming together of a choir of hundreds to sing, dance and make sound vibrations for vibration’s sake with Communitas. Beneath the hallowed vaulted ceilings of St Paul’s Cathedral, SHOUSE will lead a unique celebration, bringing together the beat of drums, a chorus of voices and a mass of humanity to forge new connections and strengthen old ones through an act of collective composition.

This follows the band’s long history of rallying music-makers: their biggest club anthem, Love Tonight, was the sleeper hit that dreams are made of. An overnight hit five years in the making – borne from ecstatic jams in a Brunswick warehouse in 2017, and amplified by the post-pandemic European dance floors of 2020. The song became a chant, a refrain, a hymn of connectedness and of the euphoric –  the love of moving and singing together as one. It would ultimately go on to chart in more than 50 countries and generate over a billion streams around the world.

RISING invites participants to become the voices, instruments and performers of Communitas. With no audience, only a congregation of people taking part by using handmade instruments made for the event by Jon Madin and moving to the choreography of Deep Soulful Sweats, everyone’s in the band. Capturing the magic of the mass-musicking event, SHOUSE will release a single after the festival, with all participants receiving a share in songwriting credits, hoping to spread the joy of Communitas through dancefloors across the world.

With Communitas, SHOUSE’s  Ed Service and Jack Madin aim to transgress the norms governing everyday life and enjoy a moment of deep connection and togetherness. Their goal: simply to participate in the moment of shared joy that is felt when people dance and sing together in unison.

Entering its third year in 2024, RISING looks to build both on its leading reputation, embodying what tomorrow looks and feels like, and on last year’s success which saw a record attendance of 753,000 people across the 2023 festival.

Jack Madin and Ed Service of SHOUSE

With Communitas, RISING strengthens its legacy as a commissioner of world class local work and a festival that embraces free accessible moments, permeating the city’s collective memory through mass participation.

It follows last year’s world-record setting 10,000 Kazoos that saw 11,000 Melburnians assemble and perform as part of the world’s largest ever kazoo orchestra; 2022’s Still Lives that saw thousands gather to watch footballers mid-mark, suspended by ropes from the ceiling of NGV’s Great Hall; and 2021’s monumental sound installation on the banks of the Birrarung, The Rivers Sing, a free public work that continued throughout Melbourne’s lockdown, for the city of to experience in solidarity.

“Music connects and moves people in a way that is a kind of magic.” said RISING co-artistic director Hannah Fox, “In Communitas, everyone gets a chance to take part in making music with no experience or skill level required. This sort of invitation to get directly involved in culture is at the core of what RISING is about. The collective voice of many members of the community young and old, in an epic chorus of vocals, percussion and dance is as old as the hills yet couldn’t be more timely.”

Bringing many people, voices and hands together, to make spontaneous music in an acoustically stunning venue strengthens RISING’s status as a festival that unlocks iconic Melbourne spaces for creative use.
“RISING has always at its heart been about championing and expanding the work of local artists” adds RISING co-artistic director Gideon Obarzanek “And we’re thrilled to be working with SHOUSE to create this locally commissioned work of international significance. A work by and of this city, produced here in Melbourne, that will go on to tour the world.”

“RISING 2024 is shaping up to be another magical drawcard for Melbourne next winter, and Communitas sums up the spirit of the festival – bringing people together in a joyful celebration of music and creativity” said Minister for Creative Industries Colin Brooks.

“RISING will again ignite Melbourne’s winter with amazing cultural experiences and we’re excited to reveal the first taste of the 2024 program, which is set to attract thousands of visitors into the city to revel in this major event” added  Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Steve Dimopoulos.

“Communitas is more than a musical event; it’s a collective celebration of the human spirit, a symphony of shared joy that transcends boundaries.” said Ed ServiceCommunitas creator and founding member of electronic duo SHOUSE “We’re thrilled to collaborate with RISING, and invite hundreds into the heart of St Paul’s Cathedral to join us in forging connections through the language of music. Join us in the beat of drums, a chorus of voices, a mass of humanity, finally together in space and time.”

RISING is supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria and Visit Victoria.

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