City centre to come alive with new events and activations

19 Nov 2019

Fifteen events and promotions ranging from a street basketball tournament to a public art festival will share in more than $820,000 in the first round of funding aimed at activating the city centre and other commercial areas.

The funding is delivered through City of Newcastle’s Special Business Rate, which uses a business levy paid by property owners in the CBD and Darby Street to drive visitation and vibrancy.

“Newcastle is set for a jampacked schedule of events, activations and promotional initiatives intended to attract tens of thousands of people to the city centre,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“From music and street art festivals, to a new interactive app showcasing our city’s iconic heritage buildings, this round of funding will inject regular and varied activity to the CBD, and help deliver two events in Hamilton and Wallsend.

“The second round of expressions of interest for local business districts, such as Wallsend, New Lambton and Hamilton, will open in the New Year and we’re looking forward to seeing what innovative and unique ideas are out there.”

Hundreds of basketballers will descend on Newcastle in January to contest an inaugural three-on-three basketball tournament, to be staged by successful applicant Playgrounds Park.

The tournament will see the teams and their entourages rotate between Wheeler Place, Customs House Plaza and Honeysuckle, where quick paced, 10-minute matches will be played on world-class temporary half courts.

“Our event will bring 3 on 3 basketball, which is the largest urban team sport in the world, into the heart of Newcastle’s city centre from January 18 to 19,” Playgrounds Park’s spokeswoman Sally Leacy said.

“We’re planning for Newcastle to become Australia’s home of 3 on 3 basketball, a phenomenon which has taken-off overseas and brought thousands of visitors to host cities across the world.”

Another grant recipient, Big Picture Festival, expects to draw 15,000 people to the city to see large murals painted by world-renowned artists and to enjoy a ‘block party’, tech installations and art projections.

In another drawcard, tourists, students and heritage buffs will explore the city’s history through the History Here initiative, giving smart phone users a look back in time at Newcastle Post Office, Civic Theatre and Bank Corner with an augmented reality experience.

The full list of SBRP funding recipients is available on City of Newcastle’s website here.