A $500,000 program of free events is set to revitalise Newcastle and encourage the community to experience the cultural, retail and hospitality heart of the city.

Councillor Carol Duncan with performers, musicians, and local small business representatives at the Autumn Alive program launch on April 13.

More than 40 free night-time events will be delivered across Newcastle’s city centre between April 29 and May 21.

Coordinated by City of Newcastle under the banner, Autumn Alive, the eclectic mix of events has received funding support of more than $500,000 from the NSW Government’s CBDs Revitalisation Program.

Autumn Alive will kick off at Pacific Park on April 29 with electronic music, DJs, food trucks, a silent disco and performances by Curious Legends and Catapult Dance Artists.

New interactive lightbox installations will be unveiled on the night, displaying iconic artworks from Newcastle Art Gallery’s collection. 

The month-long program also features an outdoor cinema experience at Museum Park, alfresco dining at Civic Theatre, a pop-up drag bar at Newcastle Library and night-time walking trails to highlight the city’s restaurants, venues and boutique retailers.

The final night will see a street party hosted on Laman Street across from the Newcastle Art Gallery.
Newcastle Lord Mayor, Nuatali Nelmes, said the Autumn Alive program would provide a much-needed economic boost to small businesses and the city’s arts and cultural sector.  
“Newcastle’s city centre is our cultural heart, and a thriving CBD is the key to attracting people to help stimulate the economy,” Cr Nelmes said.

Autumn Alive program highlights: 

Launch night at Pacific Park 
Friday, April 29
Autumn Alive will kick off at Pacific Park with electronic music, DJs, food trucks, a silent disco and a performance by Curious Legends and Catapult Dance Artists.

Library After Dark 
Thursday and Friday nights, 5 to 9 pm 
Newcastle Libraries and Newcastle Art Gallery will present Library After Dark – an eclectic series of evening pop-up events.

Bad Art Party  
Thursday, May 19, 5 to 9 pm 
Bad Art Party is a social art event filled with kitschy craft-making and is a fun celebration of the underrated art forms taking the world by storm.  

Night-time Walking Trails 
Friday and Saturday nights
City of Newcastle has partnered with the city’s restaurants, galleries, bars and boutique retailers during Autumn Alive to bring curated Night-time Walking Trails.

Pacific Nights 
Saturday and Sunday nights
Produced by Newcastle’s best-emerging programmers, enjoy live music, spoken word, dance and interactive lighting in Pacific Park each Saturday and Sunday night throughout Autumn Alive.
Movies at Museum Park 
Thursday and Friday nights, 6 to 9 pm 
Newcastle Museum will celebrate their latest exhibition, Alice’s Wonderland – A Most Curious Adventure, airing classic Disney movies under the stars in Museum Park.
East End Party  
Saturday, May 7
Local businesses invite locals to taste and see all that the new East End Stage 1 offers with boutique wine tasting, dumplings, an alfresco art exhibition, stringed musicians, contemporary dance and operatic vocals. 

Closing Night: Laman Street Party 
Saturday, May 21
Autumn Alive’s final night party on Laman Street has live music, dance, an art installation by Newcastle Art Gallery, local food stalls and more.

“City of Newcastle is delivering a jam-packed program of free events and activations that will cater to everyone, thanks to $500,000 in funding from Investment NSW.” 
Minister for Enterprise, Investment, and Trade, Stuart Ayres, said Newcastle had transformed significantly during the past two decades and was now home to amazing cultural offers with fantastic liveability.  

“Initiatives like this one in Newcastle send a clear message that our CBDs are buzzing and back to business,” Ayres said.  

“We are doing all we can through our $50 million CBDs Revitalisation Program to encourage and entice people back into our CBDs, as this will help create jobs, drive our economy and showcase NSW as a vibrant place to live, work and visit.”  

Newcastle Councillor and Community and Culture Advisory Committee Chair, Carol Duncan, said the Autumn Alive program had wide appeal and spotlighted the city’s local businesses. 

“The Autumn Alive program has reinvented the way we use our city’s cultural facilities and venues,” Cr Duncan said.

“It’s wonderful to see a venue like Newcastle Library remain open at night and transform into a drag bar featuring local performers like Timberlina and Foxxe Faux.

“I’d encourage Novocastrians to explore the city centre this May to rediscover Newcastle at night in support of small business and the arts and cultural sector.” 

Visit whatson.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/autumnalive for event details, dates and times. 

Hayley McMahon