There’s nothing quite like the arts to help build bridges between different cultures. That was the premise behind the creation of the New Beginnings Festival, which was first launched back in 2014 to help refugees in Sydney connect with the wider community. The festival has blossomed since then – becoming a celebration of refugee, migrant and First Nations performing artists. And for the first time, it’s a major event on Sydney Festival’s program.
This year, the free festival will be headlined by Triple J’s 2022 Unearthed Artist of the Year, Elsy Wameyo (a Kenyan-born hip-hop and R'n'B artist), as well as Birdz, a multi-award-winning rapper known for his hard-hitting lyrics.
There will be other artists from various backgrounds, and they’ll all be performing on the wharves of the Australian National Maritime Museum, at Darling Harbour.
The one-day festival will also feature stalls selling food and art by First Nations, refugee and migrant entrepreneurs (so pick up delicious eats from places including Peru, Lebanon and Sierra Leone).
New Beginnings is an initiative of refugee settlement service Settlement Services International (SSI). “Now in its seventh year, the festival continues to grow bigger in size and significance to allow a real opportunity for our First Nations, migrant and refugee communities to be seen, heard and celebrated,” says SSI’s arts and culture producer, Raphael Brasil.
The program is truly diverse: jazz singer and songwriter Athésia will be performing unique compositions in French, Creole, Portuguese and ‘Athésian’ (her polyphonic self-invented artistic language); acclaimed Lebanese singer and musician Samira El-Koussa will be performing alongside oud player and Assyrian singer George Karam; a group called Blacklux will showcase a combo of contemporary and traditional West African dance; Malo Malo Band will bring Afro-Cuban and Colombian rhythms; and the Suara Indonesia Dance Group will be mixing it up between dance, body percussion and song.
For more details and the full line-up, click here, or register for a free ticket here.