WIN two tickets to Ben & Jerry’s Openair cinema and you too might just have the same absorbing experience our writer had! Rachel Furolo recounts her recent visit to the launch of Ben & Jerry’s Openair Cinema’s Sundae Sessions.
Boasting an ideal and satisfyingly sensory combo, the Ben & Jerry’s Openair Cinema’s Sundae Session is a must-visit attraction this summer.
At the first Sundae Session of the year, Melbourne’s weather came to the party with degrees in the high twenties – the first necessity for a great night.
Arriving just after 5.30pm meant that the sun was still blazing and we got first pick of where to sit. The choice was between a beach style deck chair and a beanbag lounge – both of which came with a blanket in case of cooler night air. Alternatively, the option to roll out a rug and set up camp on the grass was also present as there was plenty of space within the fenced off area that the cinema is set in.
For me, there is no question that you would want a beanbag lounge which was very nearly the most comfortable seating arrangement I had ever experienced.
Chilled music played through the speakers as more and more people began to filter through the gates and find a seat. The cinema was set right by the boardwalk of St. Kilda Beach and while it was a large space, it wasn’t overwhelmingly crowded.
While waiting for the first band to take the stage, I discovered a few little features that the Ben & Jerry’s Open-Air Cinema had over others.
The first was the unlimited and free supply of Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream. Yes, that’s right – UNLIMITED! Served in front of the most psychedelic kombi van you’ll ever see, there were a delicious and wide variety of flavours to choose from. The ice-cream did melt rapidly, however, so if you ever intend to visit, make sure you’re careful with your ice-cream so as to not to spill it all over yourself as I did.
If ice-cream doesn’t take your fancy, the open-air cinema also had heaps of other options in the culinary department. Popular Melbourne eatery Ladro had a tent serving up Italian dishes from pizza to calamari and the Jar Bar had drinks covered.
Food at Ladro, however, was at restaurant prices and Jar Bar was about standard prices when it came to their drinks so if you’re after an inexpensive night, I’d advise you stock up on munchies before you arrive.
The other must bring item is insect repellent if you’re easily bitten or irritated by flies, of which there are heaps!
Other things to keep us entertained while waiting for the bands to start were some lawn games stationed near the big screen. Putt-Putt Golf and a giant cow Jenga would’ve been good for a laugh or two an gave people the chance to win some awesome prizes.
As with every Sundae Session, the added incentive is the festive vibe, with live music from local acts every Sunday before the movie. The first band of the night was the Complimentary Headsets, a Melbourne based indie-rock group that have a really chilled sound akin to Phoenix and the Arctic Monkeys.
Soon after was the headline act, Gypsy and the Cat, who did not fail to disappoint. Playing well-known tunes such as ‘Jona Vark’ and ‘Time to Wonder’, the crowd was right into it, creating an exuberant festive atmosphere as the sun was starting to go down. As a patron sitting near me put so perfectly, “You see, this is the kind of shit you just can’t beat man!”.
By 8.30pm, it was just dark enough for the movie to begin. The feature that night was About Time, the new romantic comedy starring Rachel McAdams. The feeling of being able to sit back under the stars in the craziest of weather was unreal as the salty sea wind provided relief from the heat every now and again.
As the credits began to roll, I half expected the lights to come as they would in a normal cinema. The movie-going experience was heightened by the open-air feel and, for me, was a fresh take on the traditional way of doing things.
For an evening that is perfectly pleasing to all of the senses, the Ben & Jerry’s Sundae Session is the place to be throughout December.
For a chance to win one of two double passes to any screening of your choosing at Ben & Jerry’s Openair Cinema, enter our competition below. Open-air screenings of films play throughout the week – be sure to check out Ben & Jerry’s Openair Cinema website for the full movie listing. Tickets start from $13 for concession and are worth the price for all that you receive.