City News

‘Wonderful display of public life’: Summer Streets Festival moves to Pyrmont after Glebe success

The City of Sydney's Summer Street series will shift to Pyrmont tomorrow following success in Glebe last weekend. Photo: City of Sydney.

By SHARLOTTE THOU

After taking off in Glebe and Surry Hills, the City of Sydney’s Summer Streets program will move to Harris Street in Pyrmont tomorrow from 11am to 10pm.

The event follows the success of last week’s festival in Glebe, where patrons were offered a plethora of dining options, had the opportunity to partake in free Latin dancing and painting workshops, and to watch native bug and fire performers.

City councillor Linda Scott embraced the popularity of the festival, saying that “for so many years I’ve advocated for this, so it’s great to see it finally implemented”.

Saturday’s festival will feature native bird and fire performers, and LED dancers after dark, along with local dining options. Music acts include the Kate Wadey Trio, Ephemera Jam, Daniel Francis Band, George Washingmachine and the Crawfish Po’Boys.

Keyna Wilkins, musician and manager at Ephemera Jam, believes COVID safe events like the Summer Streets series will help local musicians recover by providing a “ready-made audience and great atmosphere”.

Keyna Wilkins, Elsen Price, Will Gilbert, Connor Malanos and Ephemera Jam. Photo: Supplied.

Musician George Washingmachine said that “staff sickness [and] numbers down due to audience confidence” has led to “venues finding it difficult to operate as they once did”. He said that the festivals presented a “terrific” opportunity to play on the streets of Sydney.

The Summer Street series aims to support local businesses and provide outdoor entertainment for residents as Sydney emerges from the pandemic.

“Being able to shop, dine or drink on our footpaths and roadways makes it easier for us to enjoy those things and support local businesses in a COVID-safe way,” City of Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore said.

“Expanding outdoor dining remains an essential part of what we’re doing to support business through these challenging times. People want to get out of the house and enjoy what Sydney has to offer, safely,” she said.

Future thinking

Urbanist Jason Packenham praised the program, saying that it was a “wonderful display of public life”. He added that it “demonstrates that people want to get out and socialise in our neighbourhood centres and streets”.

“It’s also highlighting the fact that our main streets can be put to better use than just driving and parking cars. I think it’s the perfect indication that we need more public spaces for coming together and socialising,” he said.

Looking to the future, Packenham hopes the festivals will “start a discussion about how our main streets can better serve our communities”.

“If permanent closures are a step too far, then maybe we start with weekly or monthly events that get us all thinking about what’s possible.”

Saturday’s festival is the penultimate event in the council’s Summer Streets Series and will be followed by Stanley Street in Darlinghurst on March 12.

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