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A piece of the Festival in your own backyard

This year Newtown locals are being invited to their own homes to celebrate Newtown Festival with a handful of special friends and loads of imagination.

It’s the biggest event on the Inner West What’s On calendar - normally. But even though Newtown Festival can’t be the crazy, crowded, cacophonous party it usually is, there’s no reason locals can’t find a unified way to celebrate.

Organisers, Newtown Neighbourhood Centre (NNC) didn’t want to risk the safety of the community but they also felt compelled to offer some sort of fix.

“We know it won't be the same heading into summer without this celebration of all things Newtown, so we had to come up with a way of still marking this day which means so much to so many people,” says Neighbourhood Centre CEO, Liz Yeo.   “Given the challenges and restrictions due to Covid-19, we thought the best bet would be a "Backyard Party".  Everyone is so in need of some fun socialising!  So this year we are encouraging people to get a few mates together in the backyard on Sunday 8th November to share some Newtown Festival memories, and to create some new ones in a year we will never forget!  We have lots of ideas to help people celebrate including a local trivia game and a festival playlist, and we are encouraging everyone to grab local supplies for their barbie or drinks.”

So, on November 8th, in line with the COVID-19 restrictions in place at that time, Newtown residents can participate in a simultaneous house party and share messages, photos, and videos on social media using the hashtags #NFbackyardparty and #NewtownFestival2020.

You can still support local businesses, too. There’s a list of participants on the Newtown Festival website who’ll be offering food and drink deals and even backyard packages. Keep an eye on the website and social media for further deals and discounts.

Newtown Festival has been running for over 40 years, and is a premium event, not only in the Inner West but among the many spring/summer festivals in Sydney - that’s tough competition! It is one of the most colourful and quirky outdoor gatherings, bringing together a diverse cross-section of vendors, makers, performers, cooks, brewers, attendees, and of course, their pets. For organisers, Newtown Neighbourhood Centre, the festival is a major fundraiser. Its absence this year will be felt.

The pandemic has hit the Newtown community hard. NNC was forced to close its doors for a period of time but have thankfully been able to open again and slowly, safely, get back to normal services.

“Covid19 has been particularly tough for people who are already socially isolated.  Many of our clients live in boarding houses or sleep rough and many are ageing and living alone,” explains Liz Yeo. “We have worked hard to try and keep people connected through phone calls and by dropping off food and supplies when there were shortages of things like toilet paper.  We know that demand on services like ours is only going to increase when stimulus payments stop and unemployment increases.  It will be more important than ever that vulnerable community members know who they can turn to for support...and Newtown Neighbourhood Centre will be there for them.”

NNC is invaluable to the community: for the tireless assistance and support they provide to those most vulnerable; for their impartial treatment and compassion; for their contribution to the culture and encouragement to participate in the community; and for their proactive celebration of this very eclectic, creative, one-of-a-kind suburb.

“Newtown Festival has always been an event where that unique Newtown vibe is palpable…” says Liz, “From the quirky dog show, to inner west punk bands, local school bands and Heaps Gay karaoke...this really is a festival by the people for the people, celebrating local music, food, arts and culture... celebrating all this great community stands for - a place where everyone is welcome and diversity is embraced.”


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