In honour of its 40th birthday, the organisers of the much loved Newtown Festival dug up some history.
“We came across the story of Frank Scarf who initiated the first festival,” says Liz Yeo, CEO of the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre, which now puts on the annual event. “It was established as a way to celebrate the cultural diversity and vibrancy of the area ... back then [it was called] the FUN festival, the Festival of United Nations.”
Having fun and throwing a party is still very much at the centre of the event, which is the number one fundraiser for the centre (which provides frontline services for those doing it tough in the inner west). It also works on protecting the “Newtown vibe”, which is translated in the festival line-up.
Here’s some of the highlights of this year’s big event.
Seven hours of live music
Have you ever wondered what Newtown would sound like if it were a playlist? If so, you’re in luck. At the inaugural YouTube Music Garden you can hear the mix Kenny Graham and Jake Smyth (Mary’s, Mary’s Pizzeria, The Lansdowne Hotel, The Unicorn Hotel) pulled together for YouTube Music’s Neighbourhood Sounds – a collection of 13 playlists made by local personalities around Australia.
Additionally, see Dappled Cities, Dive Bell, Exhibitionist, Furnace and the Fundamentals, Georgia June, Georgia Mulligan, Jackie Brown Junior, the Kid Laroi and more.
The Heaps Gay party crew are also hosting the karaoke closet. Queer bangers are encouraged in this tropical den.
At the corner of Federation Road and Church Street find these local establishments and more cooking meat and vegetarian dishes.
King Street bookstore Better Read Than Dead is pitching a tent and will deliver a program that features some of Australia’s leading writers.
There will be discussions and workshops curated by the Sydney Sustainability Centre at the Eco Village. Learn about the small steps we can implement in our lives day to day and increase your understanding of current global environmental issues.
It was bittersweet to see Gould’s Book Arcade close down recently, Newtown’s co-working space Commune prevented the building from being demolished. It’ll be at the festival with a line-up of free yoga, dance and creative classes.
There’ll also be a plethora of food and market stalls, a kid zone and, of course, the dog show. BYO puppy and enter the Doggie Dash or Celebrity Look-a-Like categories.
Newtown Festival is on Sunday November 11 from 9.30am to 5.30pm, with a $5 contribution on entry.