Best Music Event

Presented by Fireball Cinnamon Whisky

Putting on a festival or a run of parties in the current climate is a huge, terrifying undertaking (we know, good lawd!), and to make it a success takes back-breaking toil, unshakeable passion for culture and community and a bit of cosmic intervention. These six crews had it all, getting Sydney out and moving in 2018, fighting against the Netflix tide and winning.


Mad Racket

The club-child of four of Sydney’s finest DJs Jimmi James, Zootie, Ken Cloud and Simon Caldwell, Mad Racket came out of their desire for a club night unburdened by the same old club conventions. From humble beginnings Mad Racket has grown into an Inner West institution. Packing out the Marrickville Bowlo on the reg, 2018 marked 20 years of Mad Racket bringing good times and great music to those keen for a late night boogie. Showcasing local legends alongside international talent Mad Racket has become something of a phenomenon with 400+ racketeers enjoying the good vibes.

Soft Centre

In its second year SOFT CENTRE once again pulled off an impeccably curated one-day festival of radical performance art, installations, one-off collaborations and an awesome lineup of electronic music with the likes of Andy Garvey, Slim Set, Fabrics and more. In transforming the huge, industrial spaces of the Casula Powerhouse, SOFT CENTRE succeeded in not only presenting a stunning mix of music and art but also got people to venture out of the inner city bubble, to expose them to the artistic bounty Greater Western Sydney has on offer. The spaces were carefully thought-out and each performer involved brought something rare and innovative.

Photo: Tim Da-Rin


Sunday nights are popping off with Pavlovabar at the newly refurbished Club 77 in Darlinghurst. Curated by queer institution House of Mince, Pavlovabar, is Sydney’s answer to Berlin’s infamous Panorama Bar and sees one DJ play a marathon set 9pm until close and a whole lot of party peeps pretending they don’t have to be at work a few hours later. With a solid sound system, great crowd and an impressive lineup of local talent behind the decks Pavlovabar serves up a little slice of Berghain in the heart of Sydney.

Photo: Donny Di Smoke

Heaps Gay Queertopia

Mesmerising, dazzling and larger than life, this year Heaps Gay Pardi Gras took it to the next level moving the party to Manning Bar and spreading the mind-blowing lineup of amazing queer artists, musician and performers across 3 rooms plus 2 outdoor garden stages. Attendees were treated to a journey into QUEERTOPIA – a futuristic world where the queers are the Qweens. An inclusive space where all feel safe and welcome. A whole lot of love, creativity and hard work went into making sure everyone had a magical and memorable night and the thoughtfulness of the Pardi Gras crew was not lost on those who came out to play.

Photo courtesy of Heaps Gay

Psyched As

For the past two years, Inner-west label and promoters Psyched As have established themselves as dependable Sydney music tastemakers. If you’ve never been to one of their parties, you’ve been missing out. In 2018 they gifted us with their debut festival The Psyched As 1000 – a huge day of great live music held across two stages of Marrickville’s Madeira Club. Boasting a lineup of fourteen massive bands including RAAVE TAPES, Johnny Hunter and more! The Psyched As 1000 is set to become a staple of the Inner West cultural calendar.

Photo courtesy of Psyched As

Newtown Festival

For 40 years the Newtown Festival has brought us together in celebration of the unique, vibrant and inclusive Newtown community. A day of amazing food, live music, arts and crafts and so many doggos. Newtown Festival is proudly produced by Newtown Neighbourhood Centre (NNC) as its major fundraiser with the festivities generating funds and awareness to enable the Centre to provide frontline services for those doing it most tough in the Inner West. Here’s to another great 40 years!

Photo: James Simpson