Eighty-Six festival to deliver great live music and boost local businesses

13 October 2023

With two weeks until Melbourne’s newest music festival The Eighty-Six makes its debut, local businesses across Melbourne’s northern suburbs are preparing for a major economic boost.

woman playing guitar while sitting
Danika, who will perform at The Eighty-Six festival. Image: Jonathan White

The festival’s full schedule has gone live, and local businesses are gearing up for opening day on 23 October.

The Eighty-Six celebrates the live music culture of Northcote, Thornbury, Preston and Reservoir, along the iconic 86 tram route, with this stretch of High Street home to one of the highest concentrations of music venues in the world.

The festival has teamed up with the wider music industry and a diverse mix of more than 200 small businesses to deliver the inaugural event, including the massive free Super Saturday program all day and night on 28 October, where more than 220 artists will peform in resturants, bocce and bowls clubs, cafes, record stores, and more.

Super Saturday offers something for all music lovers, from family-friendly gigs in cafes to events showcasing Victorian acts from Kaiit, Clamm, Briggs, and Batts to Normie Rowe, who started his career in Preston.

The music extravaganza will also feature the 1800 Street Party, a celebration of local music, food and beverage traders, curated by Thornbury restaurant 1800 Lasagne. The festival’s closing weekend from 28-29 October also features the Independent Music Exchange, a free expo showcasing Australia’s independent record labels.

Thornbury’s Program Records – one of only a handful of vinyl pressing plants in Australia – has already benefited from The Eighty-Six, with the plant pressing more than 10,000 records in readiness for the expo.

The Eighty-Six is backed by the Victorian Government and delivered in partnership with Darebin City Council, Creative Victoria and Yarra Trams. It is part of Creative October, a bigger-than-ever month of creative events that will boost the economy, support jobs and bringing to life Victoria’s reputation as the creative state.

The Eighty-Six will run from 23 to 31 October 2023. For more information visit

Find out more about Creative October