New Annual wraps up with weekend of free festival fun

29 Sep 2023

First Nations culture will take centre stage this weekend as City of Newcastle's 10-day New Annual festival wraps up with a host of free events.

Museum Park will be filled with the sights and sounds of the Awabakal people as part of Ngiarrenbumba Burrai (Our Country), featuring a program of dance, native food and language workshops and special performances.

The same location will tonight play host to This Land, a free musical showcase of nationally renowned and local First Nations artists presented in partnership with the University of Newcastle, headlined by Kamilaroi-Samoan R&B sensation, Becca Hatch.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the last weekend of New Annual offers great value for families.

“Around 50 percent of performances and activities at this year's New Annual festival are free or under $25," Cr Nelmes said.

"This weekend’s amazing events taking place across the city, also include live music and workshops, the exhibition by internationally renowned South Sudanese photographer Atong Atem, as well as the popular Chalk the Walk 3D art trail across the streets of Newcastle.

"Global Gathering at Museum Park on Saturday is a celebration of diverse traditions, food, art forms, and cultural expressions by people from all over the world who now call Newcastle home."

Wheeler Place will host Shaun Parker's Found Objects across the weekend, an epic outdoor, family dance theatre work utilising everyday objects. Following each performance there will be a 20-minute workshop giving the audience the opportunity to connect with the performers.

On Saturday, 20 artists will turn Wheeler Place into an urban canvas as part of the Easel'd Live Paint Jam.

Museum Park will also be taken over by up to 70 local drummers, who will feature in Dancenorth's epic production, NOISE, with shows tonight and tomorrow.

Councillor Peta Winney-Baartz said New Annual gives Novocastrians an important platform to showcase their talent.

"Half of the New Annual program is local, including singers, actors, dancers, artists and playwrights," Cr Winney-Baartz said.

"It's so exciting to see local talent on the bill alongside world-renowned arts and cultural practitioners from across Australia.

"Following a few tough years, the festival offers a vital economic boost for Newcastle’s recovering creative arts and live music sectors that were heavily impacted by COVID-19."

Visit for more details about the full program.