Surry Hills Festival

Things to do, Fairs and festivals Free
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Person dressed in a cockatoo outfit at Surry Hills Festival
Photograph: Surry Hills Festival

Celebrate this suburb's history and creative community in the sunshine as the inner-city blooms with one of its largest spring festivals

Celebrating the sweet arrival of spring, the Surry Hills Festival draws 60,000 people each year for a day of free family-friendly entertainment, and provides local creatives opportunities to showcase their talent. The festival spans across Ward Park, Devonshire Street, Shannon Reserve, Crown Street and local venues and laneways hosting live music performances, kids’ activities, art trails, food, produce and market stalls.

This year’s musical line-up will appear across three stages, featuring some of the country’s most influential First Nations performers. At Ward Park, hear the smooth folk-pop melodies from Microwave Jenny, appreciate the contrast of Chymes’ dark lyrics and playful electro-pop sounds, watch the Big Ilch mix soulful reggae with easy grooves and a dash of hip hop, then round out the set with two beloved Sydney performers; Joyride and King Tide.

Rackett will experiment with their psychedelic, lady powered punk-pop on the Shannon Reserve stage, alongside rising hip-hop star Dobby and local garage rockers Crocodylus. Adaptable Indie-pop group Pirra will also perform, before the retro jams from Iluka start, followed by Jackie Brown Jr, who’re known around Sydney for their funk’n’soul easy listening rock.

You’ll be able to catch some fresh faces at the pop-up stage, where students from the Australian Institute of Music (AIM) will be having a crack at the big time.

In the lead up to the celebrations, dig deep into the rich history of the area with walking tours, wandering past pop-up installations and artistic projections on your way. Part of the Spring into Surry Hills initiative running from September 13-22, you can book ahead for these themed excursions exploring art and architecture, local churches, craft beer and food tastings.

On the arts agenda, you can expect to meet 30 mayors of Sydney in portrait form by artist Tim Andrew, encounter evolving installation work and see the first Microflix Festival, which will feature 30 short animated creations projected next to the Shakespeare Hotel every evening from September 13-23. There’s also performance artists leading tours with creative flair and an interactive artworks to get involved with throughout the Spring into Surry Hills initiative and at the main festival event.  

Entry to the festival is by donation and all proceeds from the day go to community programs run by the Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre.

By: Olivia Gee

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