In September, live esports truly returns to Australia with DreamHack Melbourne—a festival organizers ESL are already billing as a “welcome back” to the competitive gaming scene after nearly two years without major LAN events. It’s a huge moment for Aussie esports—and one that can’t come soon enough.
DreamHack Melbourne replaces the now-defunct Melbourne Esports Open, which was forced to shutter doors in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country.
The event isn’t starting off small for its first-ever Aussie offering either. Esports fans and eager gamers alike will be able to watch the thrilling conclusion to the region’s League of Legends competition, the LCO, with a place in the World Championship on the line. The Halo Championship Series: ANZ and Counter-Strike’s ESL Challenger #50 will also be hosted on Margaret Court and Rod Laver Arenas respectively.
What ESL wants, more than anything else, is to “celebrate” esports.
“Every DreamHack has its own flavor no matter where you go in the world, and now we have this exciting opportunity to show our Australian esports flavor,” Brad Baldwin, Project Manager at ESL Australia, told Dot Esports.
“This is our chance to really honor our Australian esports.”
On top of that, Baldwin said, it’s a festival of all things Australian gaming. The Olympic Parks event, which will run from Sept. 2 to 4, will have a host of other events for gamers to enjoy alongside its trident of esports competitions. Even tabletop games and showcases from the city’s top independent development studios will be available.
By the time September rolls around, it will have been more than 1,090 days since the Melbourne Esports Open’s last festival in late 2019. This year has seen several smaller esports LANs run, but nothing on DreamHack’s ambitious scale.
“This is a really good opportunity for Australia esports and the gaming community at large to really come together again,” Baldwin continued. “And, as well as all the core gamers, we really want it to be a place you can bring friends, family, and people who want to learn about gaming. We want to celebrate the passionate community that has supported esports and gaming for years in Australia.
“I feel really comfortable saying anyone and everyone will have fun.”
Tickets for DreamHack Melbourne go on sale this Thursday, April 7, at 10am AEST, via Ticketek. There will also be a 24-hour, fan-only pre-sale a day earlier on April 6, which is available to DreamHack’s newsletter subscribers.
The standout is a new, limited-time offering from ESL Australia: the “DreamHack Melbourne Founders Pass” add-on, priced at $50, includes a locally produced DreamHack Melbourne VCT (Very Fungible Token)—a gold-plated pin commemorating the event’s inaugural year in Melbourne.
“We’re excited to see everyone in September,” Baldwin said. “We’re already so excited, everyone at ESL has been waiting for so long to be able to share all of this with you. Bringing esports back, reviving those plans, is just so exciting.
“Putting Australia on the DreamHack map, that’s awesome. We’re hoping that we can enjoy a really huge first year, and really settle into hosting events long-term. There’s a lot in the air, but we want to use this as a starting point. Esports in Australia is so huge, and we know there’s a huge appetite for events and festivals.”
Three-day passes for DreamHack are $109 for adults and $65 for kids.