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Newtown Festival To Be Discontinued After 40 Years

11 May 2023 | 11:16 am | Mary Varvaris

“The board did not come to this conclusion lightly and acknowledges how much the festival will be missed by residents."

(Pic by James Simpson)

The beloved Sydney music and community event Newtown Festival will be discontinued after over 40 years of entertainment, organisers revealed in a statement yesterday.

Newtown Festival celebrated its 40th anniversary in November 2018, hosting a line-up of local legends including The Kid LAROI, Furnace & The Fundamentals, and many more. Other line-ups have featured The Delta Riggs, The Buoys, Murray Cook's Soul Movers, SCABZ and more.

In its tenure, Newtown Festival raised much-needed funds for the Newtown Community Centre. Punters were asked to make a contribution of $5 to attend the festival, and anyone who contributed $10 or more would receive a Newtown Festival reusable water bottle. 

“Over the last 40 years, Newtown Festival has experienced significant growth, with many more businesses, sponsors and people attending the event,” organisers wrote in a statement. “While this has been exciting to witness, this large-scale financial endeavour has eclipsed the resources, capabilities and purpose of NNC.”

The statement continued, “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, and NNC itself. We will instead participate in three key events led by Inner West Council to drive awareness of the services we provide.”

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The Newtown Festival website also notes that in the last edition of the event in 2019, over 40,000 people attended to support “hundreds of food producers, artisans, stallholders and musicians”.

Newtown Neighbourhood Centre’s (NNC) board didn’t come to the decision to cancel Newtown Festival lightly.

But after the board weighed up the annual event’s profit and loss margins, they concluded that running as a free festival (and receiving some $5 or $10 donations), the Neighbourhood Centre “would continue to be severely impacted financially”.

Despite the end of the Newtown Festival, the NNC will continue to fundraise through the channels of SummerFest, the Marrickville Music Festival and the St.Anmoré (Stanmore) Music Festival.