Get ready to chart a creative journey of discovery

The long-awaited Fringe Benefits program – a complementary music, art and performance festival to the city’s largest inaugural music festival, Spilt Milk – has been launched.

The city is set to come alive on 29 November with hours of music, dance, play and performance for visitors and locals alike.

With more than 30 venues activated and in excess of 50 different performers, artists and musicians engaged – the majority from the city and surrounds – the first Fringe Benefits festival is setting loose the performance energy of the city.

Fringe Benefitsis offering a wide array of different activities, perfect for the diverse audiences who are expected to be in the city for Spilt Milk. There are musical trails for all groups to follow – from big brass bands for families, to opera in cafes, DJs in bakeries, surf bands and dancing in the dark.

Follow the Fringe Benefits trail and you’ll be able to see the talented local hip-hop artist Candi Wade performing at the Hydrant Cafe, catch Cordelia’s Potted Opera at Pipers by the Lake and sample some freshly baked beats with the Cheer Squad DJs in 1816 Bakery.

If you’re looking for outdoor activities, you’ll find a surf band in Alfred Deakin Place and the University Pipe Band on a carpark rooftop. Then finish your day at the Bridge Mall Night Noodle Market.

Coordinator Creative City Tara Poole said Fringe Benefits is an example of the strategy in action, where local practitioners can find opportunities and local businesses are actively engaging with the creative sector.

“We’re celebrating our heritage heart, and the businesses who make the most of our city. We’ve merged them with a myriad of musical and artistic performers,” she said.

“Visitors and locals can plan their day and night using our Fringe Benefits website – – and track what’s on and what’s nearby, whether the event is free or ticketed, food options and style of music.

“We’re expecting people to flow easily through our city, and explore everything Ballarat and its creatives, musicians and artists have to offer.”

Ballarat Mayor Cr Ben Taylor said that the implementation of the Fringe Benefits program provided a valuable opportunity to announce a new annual temporary public art initiative in Alfred Deakin Place, as part of the Creative City Masterplan.

“We are incredibly honoured to be able to announce the first temporary art piece for Alfred Deakin Place, part of our recognition of the importance of this location as a shared, communal space for our entire community,” he said.

The first temporary art piece to be installed is ‘Roots’ by local indigenous artist Josh Muir and will be officially opened at 5.30pm on the 29 November with a smoking ceremony and Welcome to Country.

This powerful piece will be housed for a year in Alfred Deakin Place, and is testament to the space being an important location for community members to come together in respect, in play, in conversation and debate. The temporary art program will be seeking submissions from artists for 2020, with a view to installing and revealing the work at the next Fringe Benefits event.

“Ballarat already has extensive history of supporting a diverse array of creative industries and individuals, from visual artists to craft makers, right through to architects and designers, and now we’ll be providing them with increased visibility, improved communication, educational resources and opportunities to exhibit, work and grow,” Cr Taylor said.

“The Creative City Strategy is about all of us, it’s about encouraging a different way of thinking to make Ballarat the city of the sustainable practitioner.”

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