Petting Zoo Festival: A One-Day Animal Themed Festival in Central Melbourne

This December I had the pleasure of visiting one of Melbourne’s epic one-day music festivals, The Petting Zoo festival. I’ve quickly realized that there are one-day festivals and events in this city every single weekend (dangerous), but this one was something special. Taking place in a new and larger venue from its previous years, The Petting Zoo Festival took place in Yarra Park this year, directly outside the MCG Cricket oval.

The Petting Zoo festival encourages all its attendees to dress up like animals, thereby creating an awesome ‘zoo’ of house + techno lovers partying in the (hopefully) sun on a gorgeous Melbourne summer day.

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The Petting Zoo Festival Venue

Yarra Park was a perfect grassy area to hold this multi-stage daytime fest. The only problem was that it rained buckets the night before, leaving the area quite extremely muddy. But The Petting Zoo did a great job laying down carpets and trying to ease the mud situation for us all.

There was a totally decked out main stage, called the Enclosure, decorated to the nines with colorful animal print and silly animals shapes and figures. It was equipped with CO2 and confetti cannons, function one speakers, and all the good stuff you look for in an awesome main stage experience. Most of the headliners threw down on these main stage decks, to a crowd scattered through the grass and little shaded platforms as well.

There was another tiny stage around the side of the main stage called the Sanctuary, and another just around the other side of the park called the Playpen. The whole venue was extremely manageable, with it being more than possible to pop over to each stage to check the music to make an assessment on where you wanted to go.
petting zoo festival ball pit melbourne
petting zoo festival crowd

Atmosphere + Extras

The venue was adorned with colorful animals, crazy animal patterns, and all-in-all fun stuff to add to the carefree and light hearted vibe of the day. The perfect example of the vibe this festival goes for is the fact that there was a legit ball pit inside the venue, with festival-goers periodically burying themselves inside leaving only their face to remain exposed. This was a lot of fun and a nice little break from dancing to totally feel like a kid again.

The Petting Zoo Lineup + Music

Petting Zoo Festival was stacked with house, techno, more house, and tech house… but mostly house. Hey, did I mention house?! ???? DJ’s like Latmun, Friend Within, Dennis Cruz, Miguel Campbell, and Angelo Ferreri rained down upon the crowd with relentless baselines and bouncy house tracks – rain or shine.

Although most of the headliners played at the main stage, the second stage was always going off as well. I didn’t hear a single bad set there, and heard a few songs that I couldn’t get enough of. Although I was moving back and forth between stages most of the night, my group mostly remained at the smaller one.

When the night fell over the late Melbourne summer day, the lasers turned on and the night festival was in full swing. Although the sun sets quite late in mid December, there were still a good few hours of darkness for the animals of the night to emerge. The shift between daytime and night time at festivals is one of my favorite transition periods, and it was no different at Petting Zoo festival as the darkness fell over the hundreds of dancing bodies.

The closing sets were on point, bringing a bit of a deeper vibe than the bouncy daytime sets to match the progressing intensity. People crowded more closely into the stages and stayed for good, riding out the 11pm shut of the outdoor party and then moving to any of a few official Petting Zoo after parties.

petting zoo festival outfits animal makeup costumes
music festival blowing bubblesd pink petting zoo festival

Petting Zoo Festival Food + Drink + Shopping

There was also a fantastic food + drink lineup to go with the musical lineup. Food trucks lined the side of the venue, serving things like blended smoothies, pizza, Mexican chorizo and churros, and even artisan popsicles. There were never too long of lines, and plenty to go around!

As any good festie should be, Petting Zoo Festival was lined with bars basically on all other sides. We’re talking all the basic festival drinks – canned beers and ciders, basic mixes, and that. You can expect to pay about $10 for one of these bad boys, which is also fairly standard for a festival.

If you fancied a dance break, you could wander through any of a few different festival clothing stands, such as Frothlyf. Aussie festivals always have amazing ‘doof clothing’ options.

The Weather

As always, the weather in Melbs is, well, the definition of UNPREDICTABLE. There were a few showers during the fest this year at Petting Zoo Festival, but luckily there was ample shade to wait out the water if you needed to.

The Petting Zoo Festival was an awesomely successful little ‘day doof,’ and I’m stoked that I could see such talented artists in such a fun atmosphere. Thanks for having me!

petting zoo festival crowd
petting zoo music festival girls

Author: Anna Johnson

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