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Chalk the Walk, Big Picture Fest returning in 2024

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The ever-popular Chalk the Walk will return in 2024 after gaining funding from City of Newcastle’s (CN) SBR initiative.

Fifteen projects, including the pavement 3D art event that featured an artist competition and walking tours, are set to share in almost $1 million following the latest round of the City Centre and Darby Street Special Business Rate program.

Also making a reappearance next year is the Big Picture Fest, its third edition, and the successful West Best Bloc Fest music showcase.

Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen with Big Picture Fest Newcastle director Katerina Skoumbas in front of Goya Torres mural from Big Picture Fest 2022.

Tariffs are collected from businesses in Newcastle City Centre/Darby Street, Hamilton, Mayfield, New Lambton and Wallsend for the promotion, beautification and development of those precincts. 

“Council’s SBR program creates vibrant, activated spaces for the community and visitors to enjoy,” Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen said.

“For example, the West Best Bloc Fest will see more than 100 local musicians perform in venues across the city.

“Events like that are proven to not only attract an influx of visitors but also drive new and expanded economic opportunities for our local hospitality venues, arts and cultural sector.”

Big Picture Fest Newcastle director Katerina Skoumbas said organisers were excited to extend the program into the East End in 2024.

“Our roaming event increases the vibrancy of the city centre by engaging visitors in an interesting way, which leads to increased visitation in the area and spending in many of our city’s hospitality venues,” she added.

Successful City Centre/Darby Street SBR projects

  • West Best Bloc Fest – an annual block festival curated to showcase 80-plus emerging and established local musicians spread across supporting venues around the local West End block
  • Kindle Winter Wellbeing Festival – this festival will unite the community via a calendar of bespoke events co-designed by businesses, artists and wellbeing practitioners to connect the community during winter. From music, kids’ discos, light activations, comedy and digital sensory spaces, this all-age event promotes community well-being and supports local businesses
  • Chalk the Walk, Newcastle 2024 – 3D artwork trail in key City centre and Darby Street outdoor locations
  • Newcastle Food Month – returning in April 2024, this month-long project promotes what makes Newcastle and the surrounding precincts a gastronomic playground
  • Stories – Women of the Hunter in Photography will share the stories of more than 30 local storytellers during a six-week curated exhibition, coinciding with International Women’s Day 2023, with public art installations, talks and practical workshops
  • Newcastle ALIVE! Winter Festival – a multi-event program featuring 100% local creatives to attract more trade to precinct businesses
  • Devonshire St Laneway Activation Project – three events will be activated in Devonshire Street Laneway, to link into and support events and celebrations important to Newcastle and LGBTQIA+ communities. Each activation will run for three to four days and include visual art light projection displays, plus activities unique to each event such as pantomime theatre productions, markets, art exhibitions, and outdoor dining experiences
  • Sculptures @ Scratchley – a free public outdoors sculpture exhibition at Fort Scratchley open to all artists
  • Procession of Giants – Curious Legends will deliver two large scale events, Luminous Creatures and Whale Song, to engage the community in a series of fun and inspiring activities
  • Shakespeare Under The Stars – Whale Chorus will deliver a third season of Shakespeare Under The Stars with the beloved comedy Twelfth Night in Pacific Park and will bring an estimated 3,600 visitors into the city centre during the summer months
  • Big Picture Fest 2024 – locals and visitors are invited to watch local and international artists paint large-scale murals in real time over three days. In its third edition, this free festival program will extend into the East End through an outdoor exhibition in partnership with Iris Capital, a mentor program with The Lock Up gallery and projections on the University’s Q building
  • Newcastle Bar Awards – in recognition and celebration of bartenders, mixologists and brewers who are moving Newcastle’s drink culture forward. The awards will run in conjunction with a program of consumer events, hosted by Newcastle venues in its lead up, together with a People’s Choice Award that will ask the community to vote for their favourite local bar
  • Reasons to visit Hunter Street Mall and Eastend Village – Ka fey café will boost local businesses in Hunter Street Mall by incentivising patrons through coordinating discounts, loyalty offers and events
  • City of Newcastle Activation Project – this project will be delivered by Newcastle Tourism Industry Group to leverage significant major events that come to the city ensuring the economic benefit is spread beyond the event itself. The funding will activate and showcase local businesses creating an excitement and energy that ensures locals and visitors alike have an enhanced experience that involves preshow specials, after party drinks, theming and branding that builds hype and showcases the City of Newcastle as a cohesive major event destination
  • Reactivation of ‘Live Spots 2023 / 2024’ – activating spaces other than live music venues and pubs

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