Festival History

It all started in 1998, when a small group of people gathered in Musk, a regional township located one and half hour drive north-west of Melbourne. Back then, it was one of the first, and rare, opportunities to share information, stories and practices about sustainable living. They pretty much felt like rebels, going against the mass and mainstream way of living. The Sustainable Living Festival was born there and then, thanks to a visionary group of changemakers that considered sustainability not as an option, but as the only way forward.

One year went by, and in 1999 the Festival took place at Hanging Rock, a sacred prehistoric volcanic formation, located one hour drive north of Melbourne. A suggestive spot, perfect to celebrate the Earth and its gifts, together with a crowd of international newcomers from Austria, New Zealand and USA.

Positive actions attract positive people; over the years the group grew and founded the Sustainable Living Foundation (SLF), which still today, organises the Festival. In 2001, the audience and volunteers increased to the point that SLF had to choose another location for the event. That’s when the Festival arrived in the City of Melbourne, hosted by the beautiful Alexandra Gardens. With a new audience and urban flavour, the Festival had more than 200 exhibitors and 100 seminars.

The sustainable movement kept growing, and the event with it. In 2003, it moved to Melbourne’s newest landmark, Federation Square, which has been its “home” for the past 16 years. The event has evolved in a national cultural and creative festival, attracting a diverse global audience — with crowds over 100,000 visits.

The numbers are bigger compared to that first gathering in 1998. But, 20 years later, the spirit of our community is the very same: to foster positive change while learning, day after day, year after year, about more sustainable ways to live on our planet.