Can Sydney keep up its summer party vibe?

Hemmes said events like WorldPride have been instrumental in driving momentum across the city, but the hospitality industry has also had to “invest in itself” to bring new experiences to customers, while key stakeholders, including state and local government agencies, together with NSW Police, had come together and worked towards a common strategy which is now paying off.

“The appointment of a 24-hour business commissioner in Mark Rodrigues is an example of this. He was instrumental in simplifying the processes to get permits for things like hosting laneway parties. Before, that was almost impossible due to bureaucratic reasons,” he said.

“Sydney is absolutely back and back in a big way, bigger than anything we’ve seen before COVID.”

Nightlife king Justin Hemmes

Changing work habits, with more people working from home, had also had an impact on the hospitality industry.

“And it’s simple things that make a big impact, like the pop-up outdoor dining areas. They should be permanent, they were such a big game changer. People are “mature” enough to responsibly socialize within them. It has created a European feel throughout the city, people love it.”

As part of the NSW Government Sydney 24 hour economic strategyreleased in September 2020 amid COVID, the state government targeted bureaucratic hurdles for night trading, rolled back CBD lockdown laws and eased restrictions on licensing of liquor, live entertainment, food truck and pop-up apps as well as noise.

Do your part: Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney.

Do your part: Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore described WorldPride Sydney as announcing “our return to the international stage”.

“WorldPride has been a shot in the arm but we all have to do our part to keep the momentum going. Go out, eat and drink, explore everything the city has to offer, catch a show or go dancing,” she gushed.

“Sydney is well and truly back. The pandemic has been devastating but the entire community is pulling together to put the worst behind us and following the success of WorldPride I am sure we will continue to attract world-leading celebrations and events.”

As examples, Moore cited several initiatives the council had staged throughout the summer, including street fairs, district activation events, Christmas programs, and the New Year’s Eve and Lunar New Year celebrations.

During the winter, the council will again sponsor the Sydney Film Festival ahead of the annual Vivid Festival.

Vivid Sydney runs from May 26th to June 17th.

Vivid Sydney runs from May 26th to June 17th.Credit:Anna Kucera

But there are also other big new events coming, attracted in part by Destination NSW initiatives. There are also whispers circulating that ABBA Voyage’s mega-budget virtual concert, which was a smash hit in London, might be making a residency in the southern hemisphere… in Sydney. Fingers crossed.

DNSW CEO Steve Cox said the agency’s goal is to make Sydney the capital of major events and the leading visitor economy in the Asia-Pacific region, and to achieve US$65 billion in visitor spending by 2030.

He said there was plenty to look forward to, including the upcoming Vivid Sydney from May 26-June 17, which he vowed would be the “biggest and best yet”.


Cox also mentioned other major events coming to the city such as 11 matches including the final, FIFA Women’s World Cup to be played in Sydney.

In October, the SXSW festival is expected to bring together 25,000 people from the world’s creative industries outside of North America for the first time in its 37-year history.

Then three Australian premiere seasons of internationally acclaimed touring musical productions – TINA, Beauty and the Beast and Wicked – are all coming to town. Can Sydney keep up its summer party vibe?

Jaclyn Diaz

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