On the 800m stretch of road between Union and Victoria Streets and spread out over 10 stages, the Sydney Road Street Party boasted a great variety of local musicians representing a vast range of music genres.
As well as being rich in musical talent, each side of the street was lined with food and market stalls. Numerous buskers were dotted along the street, with many roaming performers making their way through the large crowd.
Many local pubs and bars, (my personal favourites being The Retreat, Penny Black and The Brunswick Hotel) took advantage of the expected crowds and got involved by whipping up their own lineup of bands for the day. It was truly a day that everybody could enjoy.
What I loved about the Sydney Road Street Party was that it gave local up and coming musicians a unique opportunity to showcase their talents to give festival goers the chance to listen to new, original music.
During the day I stumbled upon countless talented performers like rappers FLybyz on the Oxygen Community Stage, to a gyspy trio called Vardos, comprising of a violin, piano accordion and a double bass on the Pedal Stage.
Melbourne band Manny Fox, who played on the Albert Street Arena, was definitely one of the biggest highlights. The five piece consisted of Tristan Kelly on vocals and guitar, Dave Henry on trumpet and vocals, Piers Gooding on the tenor sax and vocals, Nick Carver on the double bass and George Weis on the drum kit.
Together they created a really tight, lighthearted, energetic sound, particularly through the playful backing vocals and bouncing beats produced by the rhythm section.
The intense hot weather didn’t stop listeners as the band encouraged the audience to get involved. Towards the end of their set, large groups of people began to form at the front of the stage, dancing and reflecting the fun energy that Manny Fox were putting into their fantastic performance.
Of the many street performers, two really stood out for me. The first was one-man band, Reuben Stone who has recently released his first album Hyper Crop. His ambient indie rock tracks were created by loops he made right in front of the audience, consisting of syncopated guitar, beatboxing, rhythmic vocals, melodicas and also trombone.
During his set he experimented on the spot with looping and layering his trombone, helping to create another dimension in his music.
Reuben won me over with his last song before a short break; a super funky cover of Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven.
Classical guitarist Tom Ward who was also performing on the street pulled a massive crowd with his impressive technique and fast moving fingers.
The audience seemed to be mesmerised by his talent and ability to create such a beautiful sound from his dilapidated, 6 string Spanish guitar. The first song I saw him play was an old Spanish parody with Arabic influences. He then continued to captivate his audience with a piece he called “Fantasy on three Melodies” which he described as a combination of Spanish, Hungarian folks and South American melodies.
With the sun shining all day, a diverse collection of musicians and performers, delicious food and market stalls; the Sydney Road Street Party was a great way to kick off the 2015 Brunswick Music Festival.
~ Written by Bec Grech.
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The Brunswick Music Festival is now on from 1 – 15 March.
View more details on their official website.