It is no wonder that the Port Phillip Mussel Festival – a two-day seafood street party – has shot straight to the top of the must-do list of Melbourne festivals. Set amongst the aisles and eateries at Melbourne’s oldest permanent market, South Melbourne Market, the festival serves-up more than five tonnes of molluscs and features some of Melbourne’s best New Orleans and Dixieland jazz bands; who will set the mood and turn the Market’s eastern fringe into a mini Bourbon Street.
Now in its third year, the free-entry Port Phillip Mussel Festival is set to have South Melbourne Market and surrounding streets pulsating on Saturday March 12 and Sunday March 13. And its growing, cult-like popularity has seen it earmarked as a signature event at this year’s Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.
Port Phillip Mayor Bernadene Voss says the festival has filled a gap in this bayside city’s calendar: “Melbourne is famous for its festivals, and this has quickly become one of the best. It’s a vibrant celebration of local food and culture and we welcome locals and visitors to spend the day in the sun with family and friends, feasting, dancing and celebrating seafood from our local waters.”
Mussels are the main attraction, with mussel “cook-ups” by leading Melbourne chefs certain to be a crowd and taste-bud favourite. Some of South Melbourne Markets top restaurants dishing up mussels include Claypots Evening Star, Köy, Paco y Lola and Simply Spanish joined by popular Port Phillip eateries Dandelion, Grosvenor Hotel, Acland Street Cantina, and St Ali, serving them in various styles such as fried mussels with tomato and chorizo, wok-cooked drunken mussels and Singapore chilli mussels. There will also be non-seafood options available.
Molluscs, however, will be far from the only drawcard at the Port Phillip Mussel Festival. Local Bellarine Peninsula wines, craft beer, white and red sangria and refreshing cider will provide the perfect seafood accompaniments. Iced-tea, Greek donuts and artisanal ice-cream are among other annual top sellers.
Setting the mood from midday both days will be some of Melbourne’s best Dixieland and New Orleans jazz bands and solo artists including Margie Lou Dyer, Paul Williamson Hammond Combo, Happy House, Pearly Shells, Jazz Party and the Horns of Leroy who will close-out the festival on the Ruby Gils Main Stage, Sunday night, 6:00pm to 8:00pm. Coby Grant, Sim Martin Duo, Road House Romeos, the Simon Phillips Duo, Tiggy (Fern Belling Trio) and Elvis will be performing on the Acoustic Stage from midday. The city-bound lane of Cecil Street, adjoining the Market, will be closed both days on the weekend of March 12 and 13.
For kids there will be face painting and mural painting thanks to event sponsors Haymes PaintRight Southbank.
South Melbourne Market general manager Ross Williamson said the Port Phillip Mussel Festival had become one of the Market’s most anticipated annual events, fusing some of the city’s finest foods and beverages with the vibes of New Orleans. “There really is nothing else like this festival in Melbourne, and that’s why in three short years it’s been embraced and grown in such a short space of time,” Ross says.
The Port Phillip Mussel Festival will be held at South Melbourne Market on Saturday, March 12 (12pm-10pm) and Sunday, March 13 (12pm-8pm).
While attending the Port Phillip Mussel Festival, post your happy snaps on Instagram for a chance to WIN a delicious seafood dinner for you and three friends at South Melbourne Market’s Claypots Evening Star. All you need to do to be part of the South Melbourne Market Instagram Competition is follow @southmelbournemarket, tag #PPMusselfestival and #MFWF and upload your photographs by 5pm on Tuesday 14 March to be eligible.
South Melbourne Market acknowledges supporting partners National Protective Services and Haymes PaintRight, Southbank.
For full details please visit our dedicated Mussel Festival information page.