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 2019, fighting against the Netflix tide and winning.
Grandiose, gritty, sexy and sublime, Sissy Ball spun the disco ball for the second time in 2019 and truly established itself as the pinnacle event on the vogue scene. From its beginnings in New York City’s underground queer nightclubs to 2019 where the influence of ball culture is felt across all art forms. In a time where many members of the queer community continue to experience oppression, violence and fear due to their identity, the importance of a cultural institutional like Sissy Ball cannot be understated. Sissy Ball is a space for fluidity, finesse and freedom where a celebration of self-expression and identity welcomes all.
Photo: Anna Kucera
Community Chest was born as a reaction to increasing restrictions and regulations to Sydney’s music and dance scene. Always looking for new spaces to dance and come together, Community Chest transformed the inconspicuous Bridge Hotel at Rozelle into 15 hour, night- until-day boogie, with some of Sydney’s most beloved selectors and party crews. The key was in the title- it was truly a community affair, with all proceeds going towards community organisations such as FIRE (Fighting In Resistance Equally) and Seed Mob.
Photo courtesy of Community Chest
Graveyard Shift at The Lansdowne
Since its inception, The Lansdowne’s Graveyard Shift has provided both a stage for local talent and a dancefloor for those keen on some late night live music. Featuring the likes of Cosmic Flanders, Baby Beef, Good Pash, The Pinheads and many more, Graveyard Shift has allowed local legends to get their tunes out there and grow their audience. Free entry and the venue’s central proximity allow for an easily accessible night out, allowing Sydneysiders to dip their toes in the wonderful world of local live music. Graveyard Shift is a simple idea that has manifested into a Sydney cultural staple.
Photo courtesy of The Lansdowne
Curated by iconic Parramatta record store Beat Disc & Western Sydney alumni The Area Movement, and produced by the City of Parramatta, the Area is a free, multi-day music hangout showcasing the best and most respected music acts Western Sydney has to offer. A packed week-long lineup celebrated the diversity of up-and-coming talent from the western suburbs. Metal and rock acts such as Dispossessed and Low Life shared the spotlight with hip hop hotshots such as Hooligan Hefs, Jessica Jade and Ebony Boadu. Held at and around the beloved Parramatta Town Hall, it was first and foremost a community event for a region traditionally underrepresented in the Sydney music scene. But, there’s no doubt now that “The Area” is well and truly on the map.
Photo courtesy of The Area
Sauti Systems has earned a reputation for consistently delivering the best in emerging sounds from Africa and across Europe, as well as curating an inclusive space to experience and enjoy the best of Sydney’s creative scene and nightlife. Allowing revellers to align with sounds through another perspective, whether that involves their diaspora roots or musical interest. It’s been a year of fun, excitement and growth for Sauti Systems. 2019 saw a location shift to Home Nightclub’s rooftop, where they’ve consistently maintained their signature energy and high vibes. The Sauti Systems team are constantly evolving their palette to keep their audience on the new and have established themselves as true tastemakers.
Photo courtesy of Sauti Systems
In its third year, soft centre once again pulled of an impeccably facilitated one-day festival of radical performance art, installations, and thumping electronic and experimental music. The huge, industrial spaces of the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre in Liverpool made for an experience unlike anything else in Sydney, where performers, stage design and an up-for it crowd joined forces for something truly special. A focus on local talent wasn’t lost either, with a picturesque stage on the Georges River showcasing Western Sydney DJ’s.
Photo: Jordan Munns