The Melbourne Cricket Ground is the most famous sporting arena in Australia. It is one of the most recognised in the world as the home of Australian Rules Football and the birthplace of Test Cricket where “the Ashes” were born. For most of the year the hallowed turf is a no go zone for your average everyday person in order to keep the surface in a pristine condition, with the exception of being able to play kick to kick on the ground after a Sunday afternoon footy match.
That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to be able to get down on the playing surface over the weekend and spend the night at what could be one of the world’s most impressive open air cinemas, for a special event Cinema at the G hosted by the Bank of Melbourne. This one off charity event was in support of the the Bank of Melbourne’s Neighborhood Fund that supports a range of charities that receive little government funding around Victoria.
The event was held over two nights with the Friday night screening of the movie Million Dollar Arm while on the Saturday night it was the hit movie The Martian that was screening on the stadium scoreboard in front of 2000 odd spectators. There were three different sections to choose from, two of which were VIP areas; one providing meals and deck chairs, while the other provided movie goers with a special Bank of Melbourne bean bag and a Time Out chocolate bar as part of the experience.
The most popular option was the general admission area which meant getting in early to secure your place on the turf and bringing your own picnic dinner and bean bag, pillow, blanket or whatever you could carry in to make you comfortable. With the gates opening at 6:30pm and the movie not starting until dusk at 8:30pm, this meant that you had plenty of time to get down on the surface, have a wonder around and have a picnic dinner before the screen lit up.
While sitting around anyone who posts images to Instagram and Twitter will have them flashed up on the scoreboard using the hashtag #CinemaAtTheG. I was lucky enough to make an appearance, then another appearance that posted an image of the original image appearing on the scoreboard. Small things amuse me…
Additionally if you don’t feel like bringing any food along some of the MCG food outlets are open for you to purchase any food you like, as well as a bar open for MCC members and Bank of Melbourne card holders. While you are able to consume alcohol during the event you are not allowed to BYO and any drinks that you do bring must be in plastic, so the normal conditions of entry to the MCG still apply and this includes many other restricted items not limited to deck chairs so you don’t ruin the turf.
Cinema at the G was great night out and one of those things you won’t get to do very often. The event was a great success and everyone present looked like they enjoyed themselves immensely, while at the same time supporting Victorian charities through the Bank of Melbourne Neighborhood Fund. Hopefully the event will return next year when summer comes around again and who knows, they could even open it up to more people by turning both screens on to raise more funds.