Sydney Solstice is a two-week countdown to the shortest day of the year. Or put another way, the longest night. The event is designed to help reawaken the city’s nightlife from hibernation throughout 2020 lockdown restrictions.
The festival boasts a roster of events that bring together some of the best talent in Sydney – from musicians, artists and chefs, to venues and locations both familiar and new.
Midnight Feast is an after-hours event that pays homage to Mr Wong’s previous life as Tank nightclub. And after dusk each day, Opera Bar will embrace the supernatural for Harbour Solstice with roaming creatures, a lightshow and plenty of food and drink on hand.
Sydney Town Hall will be transformed into a chaotic mess hall for a lunch and dinner show called A Last Supper for all the Senses. Heaps Gay is bringing together a group of leading female chefs –expect food from Anna Polivou (Dessert Queen), Claire Van Vuuren (Bloodwood), George Woodyard (Bart Jnr) and Sarah Tiong (MasterChef 2017 and 2020).
A free street party dubbed South Eveleigh Solstice Festival will be another highlight, with food, music and art alongside Kylie Kwong’s new eatery. And in a one-off event for Sydney Solstice, the Ivy pool deck will host Alex Preston at Pool Club, an all-night party of uplifting disco, classics & house music on June 12.
Merivale will be hosting a number of events, including the return of Poof Doof (featuring a performance by Sneaky Sound System), Lost Paradise throwing a Sunday party, a day of drum and bass with icon Netsky, and much more.
FBi, the much-loved home of local, independent music in Sydney, is escaping the confines of the studio to broadcast its flagship electronic music show Sunset from the lush surrounds of Golden Age Cinema and Bar during Sydney Solstice.
Sydney’s newest nightlife precinct, YCK Laneways, presents Night Over Light throughout Sydney Solstice. Expect a diverse program of ticketed music, dance, theatre and art events in participating bars over 12 buzzing nights. Free entertainment will also be offered on a main stage in the car-free section of Barrack Street.
On June 18 and 19, the Metro Theatre – which has been closed since April 2020 – will host Mardi Gras at the Metro, an extravaganza of LGBTQI+ talent featuring a crowded roster of music, arts, drag and talks.
And, as it wouldn’t be a winter festival without ice-skating, Darling Harbour will welcome back its ice rink and cosy chalets, plus there’ll be the chance to launch off into the harbour for a two-hour sea kayaking tour at sunset, or dance till the early hours at an interactive dancefloor in Haymarket.
The city’s major cultural institutions are hosting a range of events through Sydney Solstice. Over at the Museum of Contemporary Art, two weeks of public workshops and prop-making sessions will culminate in the staging of Creation, a community dance performance on the MCA’s forecourt on June 20 to mark the solstice.
The Sydney Observatory will debut a new work from leading didgeridoo player William Barton. His work Songlines of Our Universe will premiere under the stars at the Sydney Observatory between June 16 and 18.
The Australian National Maritime Museum show A Harbour Garden is an exhibition of work by Goldberg Aberline Studio (GAS) and Studio A. GAS creates large scale public art and Studio A provides professional development to artists with intellectual disability. It features a series of inflatables large and small that capture the spirit of ocean creatures through an exciting and bold use of colour, pattern and form.