She grew up a little girl with dreams, dreams, dreams – now you can catch R&B superstar Solange performing in a unique setting: The Tank, a massive World War II oil tanker that’s been repurposed as a subterranean art exhibition space (and now concert hall) by the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Solange is no stranger to the intersection of art and music, having previously staged immersive performances at the Guggenheim in New York, the Getty Center in Los Angeles, the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg and the Venice Biennale. This time around, she’s headlining a new 17-day festival at the gallery called Volume, which brings together music, film and performance across different wings of AGNSW.

There’ll be a mix of free and ticketed performances, with the latter also including shows by Zambian vocalist and rapper Sampa the Great, US avant-folk luminary Mount Eerie, and Dharawal and Inuit artist Sonya Holowell. A total of 27 local and international acts are on the program, with artists hailing from Canada, Japan, the Philippines, Iran, Lebanon, South Korea, Germany and Kenya.

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Two performance spaces will be unveiled in the art gallery’s monumental new Sydney Modern building – considered the most significant new cultural project in Sydney since the Opera House opened 50 years ago. The Tank is one. And, above ground, the 13-metre-high Atrium and sculpture spaces will also host live shows. Free music, performances and workshops will take place throughout the festival in both Sydney Modern and the original AGNSW building.

“While the visual arts have traditionally been the art gallery’s focus, our expansion, through the Sydney Modern project, has created an exceptional opportunity for us to extend our programming as part of our new curatorial narrative to include more cutting-edge live music, film and performance,” AGNSW director Michael Brand said in a statement. “Volume is the manifestation of this vision.”

Jonathan Wilson, the art gallery’s first music and community curator, is behind the diverse program, which includes experimental, genre-bending live music, as well as collaborations and site-specific commissions.

There’ll be performances every weekend of the festival, with events that explore the unique acoustics of The Tank (Wilson says it has an “immense 25-second reverb”), bring together artists for experiential performances, and see the creation of new scores by Australian and international composers.

A wider program will be announced in August, with more details of moving-image works and dance performances.

Registration is now open for presale, which starts on Tuesday July 18 at 10am. General tickets go on sale at 10am on Wednesday July 19.

Volume runs from September 22 to October 8, 2023.

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