King Street Carnival – Lighting up the Inner West
By JESSICA BAHR
We spoke to the brains behind the new King Street Carnival festival, where music, local businesses and the food and beverage scene all come together in Newtown, Enmore and Erskineville for an epic celebration of the Inner West.
For Matt and Jack Rule, King Street Carnival is the culmination of years of dreaming, planning and hard work.
The carnival, which the brothers have launched alongside their company, The Music and Booze Co, has evolved from their popular King Street Crawl and was inspired by major street festivals overseas.
“We are really passionate about the Inner West,” said Matt, “the wonderful creative aspects, the diverse community, accepting nature, the food and beverages… We’ve worked and lived in the area for over 20 years and have been part of the community for a long time.
“We wanted to show everything we love about it and felt this was a great way to do it,” he considered. “We feel there’s enough in it to become a major event that this city hosts each year and could rival some of the biggest events that are being produced in New South Wales.
“We want to attract locals as well as people from intrastate and interstate; our big goal is to grow and eventually become internationally recognised.”
Over a three-day period from March 11-13, the festival will light up the Inner West with concert-style stages showcasing both well-known musicians and up-and-coming artists.
Unfortunately, the team made the difficult decision to cancel the outdoor ticketed events due to the wild weather and heavy rainfall, which has made the parks unsafe for use.
However, 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, with set times currently being finalised.
“They understand that it’s a community event and we’re trying to slot them in wherever we can find spots,” Matt explained. “We are just directing everybody to keep an eye on socials as to how we announce those last-minute secret shows.
“The large majority will only announce the morning of, or even hour before their shows,” he revealed. “If we were to announce too early, it would be too busy and nobody would get in!
“We are keen for people to wander around the area, and hopefully they might be in the right place at the right time to catch some special shows.”
The team has also worked to ensure the festival is accessible and appropriate for a wide range of ages and abilities, with mostly flat surfaces, a variety of music and family-friendly events.
After years of planning, a global pandemic, several rescheduled dates, constantly-changing restrictions and some recent wild weather, the lead-up to the event has certainly not been simple.
“There have been challenges with Covid,” Matt confirmed, “and we have had to reschedule a few times, but we are feeling confident now.
“I think we’ve come up with something that is a really great offering, and whether you’ve got tickets or not, we’re really encouraging people to donate to the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre which is an incredible local charity.
“It was important to us that the experience would be good for everybody, so we’ve been very conscious of set timings, the family aspect, affordability, and we’re hoping people can see the value in that. We’ve really concentrated on that to try and keep it accessible and community focused.
“(Our team) has done an incredible job; there have been so many false starts and the amount of free work we’ve done is incredible. Chris Shepherd was our head booker and integral from the start; he has been at the forefront of getting this off the ground and it wouldn’t be where it is without him.”
King Street Carnival will be running from March 11-13.