On a typical day, Hill Street is an unassuming alleyway that stretches away from Bourke Street between The Stables and The Beresford Hotel. But for the purposes of the Surry Hills Festival – and because it lies at the heart of the newly formed Surry Hills Creative Precinct (SHCP) – it will be transformed into The Velvet Cave, “an all day and night fiesta of imagination and artistry,” as organiser Sean Gallagher describes it. “A cave of live bands, moving light, sculptures and illuminated art.”
For three years, Gallagher has run The Velvet Cave as an underground club night in Darlinghurst, inspired by his time spent in London, “helping my good buddies from The Horrors run a ‘60s psychedelic ‘freak-out’ night called The Cave Club.”
Gallagher was approached by the SHCP and the Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre (the people behind the festival) to run the event, and responded in the way he knows best, as he puts it, “Creating a platform for talented artists and musicians to showcase themselves within an interesting and exciting backdrop.”
Cue the first ever Hill Street Record Fair, which celebrates local DJ culture and presents an eclectic mix of vinyl from local dealers, pitched up next to 12 local designers selling everything from jewellery and ceramics to wooden clocks and glass lamps.
The Jafe Jaffles food truck, a licensed bar and healthy breakfasts and lunches from Venus Cafe at the adjacent Stables complex will ensure you don’t go hungry or thirsty. The Velvet Cave stage will present a strong line-up of local acts including dream-pop group Noire, and fuzz-tone five piece, The Grease Arrestor.
Gallagher is particularly looking forward to nightfall, when he will be, “watching every wall come to life with art and light, and taking all this in whilst watching an incredible line-up”. The line-up includes Spirit Valley, modern-day, Italo-funk artist Donny Benét and psychedelic shoegaze headliners, The Laurels.
The Velvet Cave, Hill Street, runs from 10am–11pm as part of the Surry Hills Festival on Saturday 27 September. See surryhillsfestival.com for full program details and more information.