Our top picks for Sydney’s Spectrum Now festival 2016

Multi-faceted cultural festival Spectrum Now has come around for it’s second year in Sydney (1-16 March), bringing with it a diverse 16-day program of events across arts, music, theatre, food, talks and more, adding more than enough to the city’s March to-do list. The vast array of things to do during Spectrum Now has grown since it’s debut last year (over 100 events), and so the program may be a bit daunting to sift through, which is why you should definitely check out our top pick of the festival below, ranging both free and ticketed events.

Making a Murderer

Thursday 10th March from 7pm || The Star Event Centre || Pyrmont

Netflix doco Making a Murderer has intrigued and enraged people around the world, and it’s still being picked apart, dissected, and discussed. For this special talk, Spectrum Now are bringing down the creators of this very involving documentary for an exclusive session with Festival ambassador Charlie Pickering. This is the only Australian appearance planned for the documentary team so if there are any tickets left we suggest snapping them up real quick and finally getting some answers. More information can be found HERE and tickets can be purchased at the official Spectrum Now website (like below).

Deckchair Arts

Sunday 13th March from 1pm || Simmer on the Bay || Walsh Bay

Walsh Bay Arts and Commerce bring back Deckchair Arts on Sunday 13th March to meet demand after a successful outing last year. It’s a one-day-only event full of live music, performances, and a paddock-to-plate menu outside the picturesque Simmer on the Bay. Guests are encouraged to pull up a deckchair and really take in the stunning perspective of Sydney Harbour while enjoying live entertainment from the likes of 11-piece horn and drum street band Hot Potato, Indigenous dancer Kaleb Taylor, juggler and comedian Benny B, and more.

The Loch, a farm in the southern highlands, will be providing some very fine, local produce from the area for the menu featuring dumplings, fresh seafood, a gelato cart, and more. For more information and tickets click HERE.

The Domain

Thursday 3rd March to Sunday 13th March || The Domain || CBD

Spectrum Now’s central hub will once again be located in The Domain for 11 packed nights full of food, drink, entertainment, and live music. This will also be the location of Sideshow Alley (where you can get inked by award-winning tattoo artist Leslie Rice at a pop-up Tattoo Parlour; or get a haircut by retro barber Tony Vacher) and the ticketed Big Top, where you’ll find a huge international and local live music program featuring The Jesus and Mary Chain, Seekae, Wave Racer, Missy Higgins, Birds of Tokyo, and more. There’s event international art exhibitions like artist Robert Base transforming the Sydney skyline with the Australian debut of his Balloon Chain, featuring a floating helium sculpture made from dozens of latex balloons, the same that you may have heard about from Burning Man and Coachella.

Of course, food and drink will be a big focus here, and this is where you’ll find pop ups from the likes of Gelato Messina, Black Star Pastry, Burgers by Josh, Hendrick’s Gin, Little Creatures, and more. For more information click HERE.

Be sure to check out the Hendrick’s Gin tent, where the acclaimed Gin will team with Gelato Messina to offer a special cucumber sorbet alongside all the tipples of Hendricks Gin & Tonic.

Mindfulness & Music: The Vegas Nerve Experience

Sunday 6th March from 5pm or Friday 11th March from 7pm || The Bunker @ Coogee Diggers Club || Coogee

Fancy a bit of neuroscience with your live music? This unique interactive gig will double as an educational session as six-piece band, Vegas Nerve, help explore mindfulness training using music, introducing guests to practical, in-the-moment tools that will allow them to de-stress and thrive in the chaos of modern life. The band’s members have worked with a number of high profile sports stars and businesses to lift performance and reduce stress and anxiety so this is a good chance to head along and learn something new; something which just may change the way you approach live music in general.

Pillow Talk

Sunday 6th March and Wednesday 16th March || Art Gallery of NSW || Woolloomooloo

The “Pillow Talk” series returns to Spectrum Now’s ‘talks’ program, located at the Art Gallery of NSW and featuring revealing and personal conversations with some of Australia’s leading creative couples, like David & Kristin Williamson, and David & Lisa Campbell. For more information head HERE.

Cultural Crush

Wednesday 9th March at 8pm or Monday 14th March at 7pm || Art Gallery of NSW || Woolloomooloo

The Cultural Crush series is an insightful concept which takes some of the country’s most prominent journalists and let’s them cross-examine their dream subjects in front of a live audience. Think investigative journo Kate McClymont picking Director Bruce Beresford’s brain, Annabel Crabb in conversation with Australian writer Frank Moorhouse, or SMH columnist Richard Glover speaking to actress, playwright, and screenwriter Kate Mulvany. A full list of talks can be found HERE.

Marie’s Crisis Festival Bar

Until Thursday 10th March || Parlour Lane Roasters, QT Sydney || CBD

New York’s famous show-tunes piano bar return to Sydney. Marie’s Crisis will once again pop up at Parlour Lane Roasters (part of the QT Sydney hotel) for a run of spirited singalongs Broadway style. Head along between now and 10th March to catch the New York team singing up a storm alongside a specially curated cocktails list, wines, beer, and food.


Saturday 12th March from 10am || Harmony Park || Surry Hills

Carousel is a celebration of the creative hub that is Surry Hills and surrounds, taking place in Harmony Park with ovr 150 small businesses set to showcase all day. Think design, fashion, art, food, craft-beverages, music, and creative services. This is a good chance to get to know everyone from architects to artisan bakers who live in the area. More information can be found HERE.

For a look at the full schedule and more information head to the official Spectrum Now website HERE.


This content has recently been ported from its original home on The AU Review: Food & Lifestyle and may have formatting errors – images may not be showing up, or duplicated, and galleries may not be working. We are slowly fixing these issue. If you spot any major malfunctions making it impossible to read the content, however, please let us know at editor AT theaureview.com.

Chris Singh

Chris Singh is the Deputy-Editor-At-Large of the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.