Small cafes, record stores, patisseries and boutique bars joined a historic hotel to host an eclectic village-style music festival in Erskineville to herald the arrival of Spring and launch the 2015 Sydney Fringe Festival.

Aligned with the 2015 Sydney Fringe Festival, Fringe Ignite Erskineville implemented the Live and Local model: a multi-venue, collaborative, village-style event model, this four-hour micro-festival entertained 2,000 music-lovers from across the city as well as eager local residents.

Last year the Live Music Office did all the groundwork by developing and piloting Live and Local events in Surry Hills (Fringe Ignite) and Kings Cross and creating ‘how to’ resources from those learned experiences. This became a ‘just add water’ event model that the people of Sydney Fringe Festival and local business were happy to shower on inner west dwellers. Helping to create the necessary atmosphere, Erskineville “is a tight community with strong sense of local identity[1].”

“Building an awareness of the value of music to businesses is what Live and Local is about,” said Damian Cunningham of the Live Music Office.



Live and Local – Fringe Ignite – Phil Stack (photo: Belinda Dipalo)

Kerri Glassock, Sydney Fringe Festival Director, said “The Live and Local resources gave Fringe and the businesses simple planning guidelines and steered us to a manageable number of 13 performances. This ensured businesses in the area were still able to trade effectively and crowd numbers were manageable for the space we created.

“Because most Erskineville buildings started as workers cottages, they are quite small spaces, so we had to be mindful of that,” said Kerri, “We set up seven performance spaces within 100 metres of each other plus some Fringe acts on the street which was great because the weather was perfect.”

Six businesses made way for live performances between 3pm and 7pm with an overwhelming positive response from the owners.

Tom Clarke of Bakerman, a patisserie/café/bar in Erskineville Road said, “I knew it would go well, but I didn’t expect it to go that well. We ran out of beer and wine. Performances by Betty & Oswald, Phil Stack and Rai Thistlethwayte were fantastic.”

Across the road, Sean Kellow of Urban Cat Café said, “We are a small café, yet we had nothing but positive feedback from our regulars and many new customers. It was timed perfectly to satisfy our need to entertain with our need to serve customers. We set Dean Lewis and Simon Day up right up near the front door to the café and they sang up a storm.”

Holly Hancock of the heritage-listed Erskineville Hotel said, “There was a noticeable lift in trade. It was lovely to have Tina Harrod perform live in our Hotel and she drew quite a crowd. Afterwards, the locals drifted in and out from the street and it felt like a lovely, lazy spring afternoon.”

The Hive Bar who regularly have has live performances including The AU Sessions (acoustic) upstairs at the boutique bar each month. Adam Parker, The Hive Bar, said, “We saw a huge increase in customers, the whole street was booming.”

For the other venues, a casual permit for live music was obtained through APRA AMCOS to cover their music use on this day. The event was intended to give these businesses the opportunity to trial live music.

Click here for further information and resources on presenting a Live and Local event.


[1]  Excerpts from 2007 Local Action Plan, City of Sydney, Inner West for Erskineville Village.