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From a Crawl to a Carnival

The King Street Crawl is relaunching as King Street Carnival, with more entertainment and venues showcasing the best of Sydney's Inner-West. Here we look at the history of this community celebration.

Yothu Yindi are scheduled to appear at the 2022 inaugural King St Carnival. Photo: supplied

The first King Street Crawl hit the streets in 2015 with a simple ambition: to work with the businesses of Newtown to put on a free day of live music, with the intent to create opportunities for musicians to perform and promote their music to new audiences and local businesses to benefit from increased foot traffic.

The format was designed as one long musical crawl involving a multitude of different musos and venues along the way, with local businesses a core component of the event.

By using live music as the common thread, ‘The Crawl’ was also an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the incredibly diverse, accepting and creative community that has made this corner of Sydney renowned (both nationally and internationally) as a ‘must experience’ destination when visiting Sydney, and the most fertile breeding ground for artistic talent in the country.

In 2019 the last King Street Crawl before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, consisted of:

* 12,000+ in attendance

* 700+ individual artists

* 30+ participating venues

Scabz hold the King St Crawl record of five sets at five venues in one day. Photo: Alec Smart

History: from from a music crawl to a merry carnival


The conception year of the Crawl included venues from St Peters to Sydney University, with more than 40 artists between them. Polish Club kicked off the revelries, Alex Cameron and City Calm Down headlined, and there were secret sets from The Preatures (at Waywards Brewery) and Sticky Fingers (at the Botany View).


The Crawl expanded down Enmore and Erskineville Roads. Things got very loose at the Botany View for a secret Skegss set, whilst Rolling Blackouts C.F. and Middle Kids played on the same bill at the Marly. This year also included the Crawl’s first outdoor stage, The Hub.


This year saw ​​150+ bands play across 25 venues. Stella Donnelly played one of her first-ever Sydney shows at the Waywards’ Vision Party and Private Function performed at Newtown Hotel. DZ Deathrays performed a huge secret set for the I Oh You party!


Straight Arrows set the record for most sets played in one day at the Crawl; playing four shows at four venues in eight hours! Triple One & Andy Golledge Band closely tied for sweatiest sets in Crawl history and it was the first time international acts featured on the bill: The Beths (NZ) & Wax Chattels (NZ).


Scabz beat Straight Arrows’s record with five sets at five venues across the day.

Cosmic Psychos played a secret set under the name Slapper Jackson & The Esky Stackers; I Know Leopard and Pist Idiots announced last-minute pop-up shows and Crawl partnered with Fringe to bring live music to shopfronts and a range of eclectic non-traditional venues all around Newtown.

English DJ and artist LCY appears at the 2022 event. Photo: supplied


The King St Carnival is born! Over a three-day period from March 11-13, the festival will light up the Inner West, showcasing both well-known musicians and up-and-coming artists, while also celebrating local venues, creative communities, emerging artists, and the food and beverage scene. While the ticketed outdoor events were sadly cancelled due to heavy rainfall, there will still be a plethora of free music and entertainment on offer at participating venues on King Street, Enmore Road and Erskineville Road.

Additionally, many of the artists who were scheduled to play on the outdoor stages have offered to move their shows to smaller indoor venues. These will now be ‘secret shows’ and announced online via email and social media on the day, adding an extra element of mystery and excitement to an already fantastic timetable.


It’ll be huge...

Coffin headline Friday night in The Bank Hotel at the 2022 event. Photo: Alec Smart



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