M.A.D Festival: A Southeast Melbourne Showcase of Local Talent and Connection

The second edition of M.A.D (Music, Arts, Dance) Festival, hosted by Mr. Congo and brought to life by Connection Arts Space (CAS) in the heart of Southeast Melbourne at the Dandenong Memorial Hall, was a unique celebration of local talent. This community event, supported by VicHealth through its Future Healthy: Future Reset program, gathered a diverse range of artists to express themselves through music, art, spoken word and dance. 

For Alicia @alicia_crochets.3, M.A.D Fest was an opportunity to showcase and sell her crotchet works for the first time, since learning to crochet during the first COVID lockdowns.  Her intricate crocheted works were adorned and worn by attendees who were to appreciate the fibre artist’s work for the first time.

Miss Hood returned to the stage, marking a rekindling of her passion for music after a hiatus. Her performance left the audience in awe, embodying the journey of an artist healing through creative expression. For her, M.A.D fest “reawakened a passion, drive and hunger” for the local artists, who we hope to see grace the stage again soon.

Gallivant @orijerinel, a Filipino artist, dancer, and spoken word poet, wove aspects of their heritage into their performance, sharing their Filipino roots through Tagalog verses. “Speaking in the voice of ancestors” in their native tongue guides their hand in their practice, interweaving cultural and creative practice, a source of inspiration for many in the Southeast.

The festival also saw new collaborations as hip-hop dance duo, Amelia and Sannie, showcased their B-Boy hip-hop talents on the checkered M.A.D dance floor for the first time.  

The festival enabled networking for local artists to merge their talents to create new works. M.A.D Fest is a testament to the local talent, resilience, and unity in Southeast Melbourne.

With the support of local collectives and collaborators including Garage35, Way Over There Collective, Southeast Sessions and Our Beat, accompanied by MAV and VicHealth's support through its Future Healthy: Future Reset program, M.A.D Fest underscored the importance of nurturing creativity and well-being in the community through supporting local artists and grassroots community initiatives.

Artwork by Francine Besos