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We all love the element of surprise and there’s nothing better than the build-up of mystery behind a big event. Heineken selected a handful of influencers and celebrities along with a number of competition winners to board a mystery train ride from Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station. From here it was off with the RayBan sunglasses, as we were taken in darkness to a platform in Melbourne’s inner west near Kensington, stopping directly outside a huge brick warehouse like something in the movies. With green neon lights flashing on the spray-painted walls upon entry and trays of cold Heineken beer to greet us, we knew we were all in with a treat.

Heineken’s global City Shapers Festival is an event that celebrates some of the world’s most vibrant cities. With Melbourne being continuously voted as the world’s most liveable city, it’s natural that such a festival would be held in this great place.

Upon entering the warehouse, you knew the event was going to be spectacular. We first made our journey to Amsterdam, where the red-light district was there to greet us. We’re talking glass windows, dim red lights and dancing females in the skimpiest of lingerie – if you’ve ever walked around the district, you would’ve seen the similarities.

Next, we went onto New York, with saxophone players and loft style bars, the large room featured break dancers, girls dancing on bars and Chef Daniel from Huxtaburger serving up some of his mini delicious burger treats – they went like hot cakes. Then we went onto some Asia street food in Singapore, with noodles bars, night markets and tea rooms. Here the music cranked up in the build up to the big finale…

Enter Rio de Janeiro! With Brazilian dancing igniting the crowd, we were treated to some classic Brazilian dance hits which took me back to my days at Carnavale in Salvador.

The 450 strong crowd absolutely loved what they saw, and the night certainly didn’t disappoint! It was an amazing spectacle and some feat of organisation. I urge you to try and get to one of the amazing festivals if they are anywhere near you!

Matilda Esme

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