Winter is here, and while the chilly weather tends to usher us into a state of hibernation, this year, we’re pushing aside the urge in favour of the Sydney Solstice event.
Held over two weeks in the lead-up to the longest night of the year, from June 8 to June 20, Sydney Solstice event brings together some 200 experiences spanning the foods, arts, entertainment, and culture scenes.
The city’s very best restaurants, pubs, precincts, art galleries, museums, and live music venues across the CBD, Darling Harbour, Newtown, Oxford Street and surrounds, and coming together to bring an epic itinerary that encourages even the sleepiest, cosiest hibernators to throw on a coat and get outside for a night on the town.
And it’s perfect timing for the city, which in the winter months, would usually see an influx of overseas tourists. “Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres, said the event program is set to stimulate the Sydney visitor economy whilst also catering to locals.
“Winter in Sydney is heating up this year. We are activating a wide range of venues across four precincts, some of which have not been open for public enjoyment for some time, across a broad range of interests. There’s never been a more appealing invitation to eat out, see a show, have a drink or embark on a new adventure in Sydney,” Ayres said.
Restaurateur and South Eveleigh ambassador Kylie Kwong adds: “It’s really important that we keep driving Sydney’s recovery and to celebrate all of the beautiful things we love about this city. For me, I’m really looking forward to bringing in the cultural community of Sydney through food and drinks, music, art and First Nations culture. I really feel that this program is such a beautiful way where we can all home together and collaborate through the winter-time.”
Taking a closer look at the four precincts and the events set to take place, we can’t help but start curating our Saturday night itineraries. Here are some of the highlights to come.
Sydney CBD and surrounds:
- Immersive multi-sensory ‘Queen’s Feast’ dining and art experience by Heaps Gay at Sydney Town Hall featuring all female chefs including Sarah Tiong, Anna Polyviou, Georgia Woodyard and Claire Van Vuuren
- A world premiere work by William Barton, pairing live music with stargazing at the Sydney Observatory
- The return of performances at Sydney live music mecca, Metro Theatre
- Interactive art installations and dance performances in Chinatown
- A celebration of local seasonal produce and NSW wines at Aria restaurant
- Late-night DJs, dancing and dim sum from Mr Wong
- Series of Mardi Gras events at Metro Theatre, the first time since 1980 that Mardi Gras is involved in International Pride Month
- Badu Gili Winter Nights, where the Opera House steps will be transformed with live music, talks and poetry readings. Every evening at sunset, you can also see this year’s Badu Gili – a six-minute projection on the Opera House’s eastern Bennelong sails, while snacking and sipping to a menu of native ingredients, curated by a First Nations chef
Darling Harbour and surrounds:
- A Winter Fair celebration featuring an ice-skating rink, chalets, ice-skating demonstrations, daily local musician/DJ performances at Darling Harbour
- A series of large and small inflatables that capture the spirit of spectacular ocean creatures through an exciting and bold use of colour, pattern and form at the Australian National Maritime Museum
- A Craft Beer Festival at the Terminus Hotel, Pyrmont
- Night-time sea kayaking launching from Darling Harbour
Newtown and surrounds:
- South Eveleigh’s streets will come alive as local restaurant heroes such as Kylie Kwong’s new eatery; Eat Fuh; RaRa Chan; and Steve Costi’s Famous Fish are celebrated, and music, entertainment and live performances fill the streets with colour and excitement (18-19 June)
- The inaugural Country and Inner Western festival showcases the best emerging and established country, alternative country, bluegrass, folk, Americana and blues artists across an array of small bars, pubs, established venues and open spaces
Oxford Street and surrounds:
- A two-week celebration of all things fermentation – brewers, winemakers, bakers and cheesemakers at Bitter Phew bar on Oxford Street
- ALTAR Danceteria at Hotel Harry is a two-week-long celebration of music, food, dance and light, encompassing a range of bespoke events across different musical genres
- FBi’s flagship electronic music show ‘Sunset’ heads out of the studio to host two intimate live broadcast events at Surry Hills’ Golden Age Cinema and Bar, featuring performances by Simon Caldwell and friends, Deepa, Ben Fester, Kato and friends
Destination NSW says the Sydney Solstice event is about celebrating everything there is to love about the city. It’s about discovering new and hidden gems and exploring the city’s rich indigenous heritage.
“Warm your soul with live music and colourful performances. Dance in the streets or in your favourite club until the early hours. Discover local artists, see some outrageous drag shows and side-splitting comedy, or get involved in an immersive workshop.
“With something for all ages and tastes, Sydney Solstice will take you from urban laneways to city landmarks, to cosy bars and glittering harbour-side locations.”
As for us, we’re getting out of hibernation for the Aboriginal Sky Dreaming Cruise, the Midnight Feast at Mr. Wong (hello, 3am dumplings) and the intimate Sydney Symphony Orchestra performance at the underground Golden Age Bar.