Few community events can boast the kind of consistent triumph that the annual Newtown Festival can. Since its humble beginnings 37 years ago, the festival has grown into a sprawling, sun soaked celebration of everything that Newtown embodies: good tunes, good food and artistic, cultural and ethnic diversity. The rambling festival stretches across the entirety of Camperdown Memorial Rest Park in early November meaning the weather is usually pretty damn perfect, and with more stages, food stalls, workshops, arts, crafts and dogs than you can actually fit into one day, it’s always a blast.
2015 marks the 37th annual Newtown Festival and we are super excited. Take a quick look at what the festival is all about and what we can expect from the festivities this year.
Kicking off at 9:30am sharp with the famed Newtown Festival dog show (seriously, don’t miss this, it’s worth the early Sunday morning start), the day runs well into the evening with bands playing till around six.
The Federation Stage is the centrepiece of the day, utilising the slope of Camperdown Park to form a massive natural amphitheatre. It’s actually pretty mind-blowing how many people you can cram into the park, something the organisers have no doubt taken note of in recent years (they shut the gates mid-afternoon to ensure it doesn’t go over capacity – judging from last year’s crowd for Deep Sea Arcade, it definitely could happen again).
The Federation Stage has hosted some pretty massive names such as The Whitlams, Hermitude, Sarah Blasko and Sticky Fingers – this was, of course, after they infamously ‘unofficially headlined’ the festival because they’d been knocked back from playing a few years in a row. They even made a video about it:
This year will see Jinja Safari, The Laurels and Steve Smyth hitting the Federation Stage, plus locals like Flowertruck, The Cops and The Walking Who playing on the tree scattered Essential Stage – definitely one of the best lineups the Newtown Festival organisers have put together. This year’s theme is ‘Newtopia’, a celebration of the Eden of good food, booze and community organisations that are Newtown and the inner west in general.
The festival is solely run by the Newtown Neighbour Centre as their main venture to generate some revenue for the awesome work they do in the community throughout the year. The exclusion of corporate involvement maintains Newtown Fest’s reputation as an unpretentious celebration of community – it’s basically one big fundraiser.
Local heroes like Mary’s, Bloodwood and Young Henry’s will be coming together this year, working in groups to develop three sweet and three savoury dishes that are a take of classic fairground food with all of the profits raised from the initiative going to the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre’s First Response program.
The festival has always been kid-friendly with Aboriginal story telling, kid’s yoga, tunes from Newtown Performing Arts High and the Zen Studios School of Rock in the Kid’s Zone. Running with the all-round good guy festival theme, Newtown Fest is also eco-friendly with the organisers taking strides to make the entire day as sustainable as possible. There is no bottled water sold on site, only free water stations; and the whole day is powered by biodiesel generators.
It’s basically one of the best days of the year, right after Australia Day or the glorious mid-Winter Bank Holiday. If only we all had Monday off.
See the full artist lineup below, or head to the Newtown Festival website to see the entire program.
The Walking Who
The Persian Drugs
The Sweet Jelly Rolls
The Blues Preachers
Midnight Tea Party
Betty and Oswald
Queen Porter Stomp
Project Collective Ska