If you were tired of reading about how cooked Sydney’s arts and culture scene has gotten, TOO BAD, because I’ve got yet another grim blow to deliver. After over 40 years, Newtown Festival has sadly called it quits and will be discontinued.
Newtown Neighbourhood Centre, which runs the iconic festival each year, announced via Facebook that organisers have decided to veto the festival, citing resourcing difficulties.
“Over the last 40 years, Newtown Festival has experienced significant growth, with many more businesses, sponsors and people attending the event,” they wrote.
“While this has been exciting to witness, this large-scale financial endeavour eclipses the resources, capabilities and purpose of NNC.
“After years of careful consideration, which involved reviewing a number of possible funding scenarios and business cases, as well as community consultation, NNC’s board has made the decision to discontinue the festival.
“The board did not come to this conclusion lightly and acknowledges how much the festival will be missed by residents, festival goers, artists, stall holders and the NNC team itself.”
The festival, which takes over Camperdown Memorial Park every year, has always been one of the inner west’s biggest events. In the past, The Whitlams and the Grammy-nominated The Kid LAROI have taken the stage to entertain scores of revellers who come from far and wide to enjoy the festivities.
They also hint that they’ll become a charity partner for one of the events. Bless!
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Sydney is where the arts go to die!!! Transformed into nothing more than a cesspool of bottomless brunches, dictated by our Merivale overlords, we are powerless to its destruction. I guess it is kinda pretty, though.
While it’s grim news for anyone who likes good things like music and cute festival stalls selling pottery and little yummy food trucks, there is a slight silver lining in the announcement, with Newtown Neighbourhood Centre saying they’ll now participate in three other events led by Inner West Council.
These include SummerFest, Marrickville Music Festival and the St.Anmoré (Stanmore) Music Festival. They also hint that they’ll become a charity partner for one of the events, bless.
Understandably, people took to the ~internet~ to express their feelings.
“How about finding some public funding to continue?,” one person commented on Facebook. “Surely some sponsors will make sure this local gem doesn’t have to see the end?!”
Another, who I swear isn’t just me in a trenchcoat, wrote: “Man, the arts culture in Sydney really is going down the drain. A very sad trajectory to be going down…”
But some people have actually celebrated the move, recalling how much the festival had changed since it first started back in 1983 and its growing popularity.
“I remember the early days when it was simple and local businesses selling their stuff. Then it became bigger than Ben Hur. Let it go back to basics,” one person wrote on Facebook.
“I think it is the right decision,” another said. “The Neighbourhood Centre isn’t in the business of organising a music festival. It detracts from their core mission. It must have been a big drain on their resources. Personally, I am glad to see it gone. It had gotten too big. I remember the early days fondly when it was a relaxed local event.”
Another blamed the fence for its downfall: “Died when the fence went up and lost its way ever since.”
Personally, I’ll never forget lazing about in the sun, sippin’ lemonade, and watching some of Sydney’s best talent take the stage.
In Memorium: Newtown Festival (1983 — 2023).