2021 Melbourne Bastille Day Festival … Online!

Melbourne’s 2021 Bastille Day’s celebration took a technological turn! 

In light of Victoria’s fifth lockdown announced on July 15th, just a few hours before the start of the Festival, the organisers quickly adapted by pivoting online some of its cultural activities. During the 3-day online program, culture, gastronomy, history, music and art were live on the screens. 

On the evening of Thursday 15 July, the Caudalie online wine tasting event kickstarted the festival: French vigneron Maxime Chapoutier from M. Chapoutier in France together with Ben Portet from Dominique Portet Winery in the Yarra Valley guided an online wine tasting under the leadership of Melbourne’s own French Chef Gabriel Gâté and University of Melbourne’s French and Wine Studies Professor Jacqueline Dutton.

On Friday morning 16 July,  fans of art had the privilege to learn more about French Impressionism alongside Dr Ted Gott, Senior Curator of International Art (NGV), who delivered a very illuminating Lumières Blanc Talk

That afternoon, those interested in sustainability enjoyed a Lumières Vert panel discussion on the impact of zero carbon emission on the economy.  The distinguished guests included Dr Katie Allen (MP, Federal Member for Higgins), Louise Davidson (CEO Australian Council of Superannuation Investors), Augustin Honorat (CEO of Engie) and Shane Walden (CEO of ANL), aptly questionned by leading jounralist Alan Kohler.

On Saturday 17 July, internationally-acclaimed historian Professor Peter McPhee explained  the relevance of the  French Revolution  in a fascinating Lumières Rouge Talk . This was followed by the fun Lumières Bleu Talk panel discussion demystifying the French clichésThe afternoon continued with a masterclass led by French Couturier Delphine Genin who unveiled the mysteries behind the Art of Embroidery.

On Saturday night, the ‘Life and Loves of Hector Berlioz’ presented by Parlour Music brought a bit of operatic flair to close the festival. As best worded by Richard Mills, Victorian Opera Artistic Director, “French is undeniably the most beautiful language for singing.

We would like to give a huge and grateful MERCI to the whole community including our partners and sponsors for their heartfelt messages of support when the lockdown struck. THANK YOU!

Don’t forget to check the festival website as there is some free programming content!