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Four simple ways to boost Sydney’s nightlife

Emma Joyce
Written by
Emma Joyce

We asked four nightlife advocates what changes they’d like to see in our city at night. Here’s what they put forward:

1. Make Alexandria a late-night entertainment hub
Kat Dopper, founder and director of Heaps Gay, says: “One of the issues the city faces is the lack of space for new and upcoming musicians, creatives and promoters to perform, rehearse and create – which means we aren’t seeing any new and exciting events popping up around town. I’m excited by the prospect of Alexandria becoming a late-night hub – industrial warehouse by day, music and art by night. Not only will this create space for new and exciting events, but it’ll also create a sense of community around Alexandria and Waterloo, which doesn’t have as much colour and ‘vibe’ as other suburbs such as Redfern and Newtown.”

Photograph: Tim da-Rin

2. Create a 24-hour, youth-run, all-ages venue on George Street
“Imagine if young people actually had their very own venue to run 24/7 – about music, building community and coming together,” says managing director of Music NSW, Emily Collins. “Sydney really needs a space that offers the kind of freedom young people crave, and provides a space that’s theirs when the rest of the city locks them out. Just thinking about the new artists and music as a result of a space like that gives me goosebumps.”

3. Have late-night shopping beyond the big retailers
Emilya Colliver, founder and director of Art Pharmacy, says: “Nightlife in Sydney doesn't have to be all about drinking. It would be great to see late-night shopping beyond those big retailers, and be achievable for smaller, independent shops in places like Surry Hills. Can you imagine finishing shopping with friends at 11pm before grabbing food from a street vendor and sitting around in a friendly public space, like you can in Europe? Amazing.” 

Photograph: Anna Kucera

4. Make live music venues the centre of night trading
Oxford Art Factory founder and CEO, Mark Gerber, says: “Major cities around the globe are beginning to realise night-time economics play a vital role in the health of any city. Day trading needs to be incorporated into night trading. Live music venues are at the centre of a web – their success creates cultural, economic vibrancy, impacting shops, restaurants, cafés, bars and hotels. If Sydney wants to stay in the race it needs to plan for the future.”

Collins, Colliver and Dopper are all panel members of the City of Sydney’s Nightlife and Creative Sector Advisory Panel.

All four nightlife heroes will be feeding into the City of Sydney’s proposed late-night trading plan, which includes five key changes to the planning controls around trading at night in Sydney. One of these changes is to make George Street a 24-hour trading zone, another is to create an arts and nightlife precinct in Alexandria, another to allow businesses like bookshops and hairdressers to stay open late.

You can give your feedback to the Sydney’s draft development control plan right now – until Friday February 8. Think Alexandria would be a cool spot for a nightlife hub? Tell them.

Want to go out dancing tonight? Check out these queer-friendly parties around Sydney

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