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City’s new flagship arts festival unveiled

With a theme of illumination and a tantalising “We Are New” tagline, City of Newcastle has revealed the first details of its flagship arts festival – New Annual.


To be held from 12-21 February 2021, the inaugural event will celebrate the depth of talent in Newcastle’s thriving cultural and arts sector.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said New Annual would become a dynamic addition to Newcastle’s social calendar.

“Supporting and delivering cultural and community programs, events and live music is key to progressing our vision of Newcastle as a smart, liveable and sustainable global city,” Cr Nelmes said.

“A strong arts community feeds into a healthy economy, helps to revitalise and activate public spaces, creates vibrant night life, and spurs growth in cultural tourism.

“It is also a vehicle through which we can tell our city’s story, share our histories and understand our identity.

“The name ‘New Annual’ itself represents our commitment to the city and its broader audience - that we will offer both surprise and continuity through this hallmark annual cultural event, with a uniquely Newcastle character that can be embraced by locals and visitors alike.”

New Annual’s 10-day program will include dance, live music, art displays, exhibitions, presentations, talks, and activation events.

Designed with the flexibility to operate as a COVID Safe event depending on Public Health Orders, it will be held at a variety of locations with the ability to help keep crowd numbers dispersed, utilising City of Newcastle facilities, public spaces, private venues, community hubs and performance spaces.

Cr Nelmes said New Annual will also allow City of Newcastle to continue its support for some of those worst affected by the global pandemic.

“The arts and cultural sectors were among the earliest and hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Organisations such as Live Performance Australia, Music NSW and the National Association for the Visual Arts have valued the income loss for artists and entertainers across the country in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

“Planning for this event has allowed us to keep important funds and support flowing into the sector by engaging more than 40 local artists for the event so far, and this number will continue to grow as the festival approaches.

“We’ve also been fortunate to secure support for the event from the NSW Government, with two grants from the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet.

“I look forward to revealing more details about the New Annual at the official program launch next month.”

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