Festival Opens 12 July 2019

 Melbourne Spoken Word Launch Second Melbourne Spoken Word and Poetry Festival Program

The program for The 2019 Melbourne Spoken Word & Poetry Festival, the second year of the festival, was launched online today revealing a mammoth program of over 60 events from July 12 featuring Luka Lesson, Singapore Stephanie Dogfoot and the number one ranked slam poet in the world, Michael ‘Mic’ Ting, the Individual World Poetry Slam Champion. Taking place all over Melbourne, as well as an event in Geelong and Ballarat, the program includes special editions of regular spoken word nights plus a range of workshops.

The festival includes special events such as the Trans Poetry Slam; Dramatis Personae, an event where poets take on the personas of famous dead poets; Piano and the poet where poet and musician, Meena Shamaly, accompanies some of Melbourne’s best spoken word artists with a grand piano. Slamalamadingdong also host a trial event for a National Poetry Slam where poetry slams from around the country compete in a team slam format featuring Slamalamadingdong’s Team Slama and Bankstown Poetry Slam. On the last Friday, Greenroom award winner, wāni Le Frère, hosts a special performance and Going Down Swinging host a spoken word gameshow. Events like Girls on Key and Mother Tongue: Women of Fire create spaces for women and non-binary poets, and events such as Afro Hub and GriffinSlam support people of colour sharing their stories.

The festival slogan for 2019: “our microphone is your blank page” highlights the most unique feature of MSWPF. Around half of the events in the program include open sections, either an open mic or a slam to sign up for, where anyone can participate and perform. The festival focuses on supporting the participatory elements of the spoken word scene, which breaks down barriers between who’s a performer and who’s an audience member, and some of the highlights of the festival will be seeing the breadth of styles and perspectives presented on the open mics throughout the 18 days.

Opening night is headlined by one of Australia’s most well known spoken word artists, Luka Lesson, who will also host a workshop and special performance, plus Eleanor Jackson, Andy Jackson, Stephanie Dogfoot Chan from Singapore, Natalie Jeffreys, Arielle Cottingham, and Zaynab Farah. Opening night returns to The Toff after last year’s opening night headlined by Maxine Beneba Clarke sold out.

The Closing Night Party at Howler features Oakland’s Mic Ting who won the Individual World Poetry Slam in late 2018, and includes returning touring Texan poet, Bill Moran plus Rania Ahmed, John Englezos, 2018 Slamalamadingdong Grand Slam winner, Tenda McFly and Claire Gaskin.

Workshops include spoken word artist and genre-bending performer Scott Wings on performance, Arielle Cottingham hosting a free workshop for new poets, and Arts Access Victoria hosting a workshop on accessibility in the spoken word scene.

The online program is now live at mswpf.com.au and print programs are set to hit bookshops, libraries, cafes, regular spoken word venues, and other hot spots around Melbourne this week.

For more information and interview requests please contact Benjamin Solah on 0402 766 009 or benjamin@melbournespokenword.com.