Newcastle’s CBD set to come ‘alive’ with $500,000 injection into vibrant program of free events

13 Apr 2022

More than 40 free night-time events will be delivered across Newcastle's city centre between 29 April – 21 May, to encourage the community to experience the cultural, retail and hospitality heart of the city.

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, in response to the impact of the pandemic on the hospitality, event and arts and culture sectors.

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, pop-up drag bar at Newcastle Library, night-time walking trails to highlight the city’s restaurants, venues and boutique retailers, culminating with a final night street party on Laman Street.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the Autumn Alive program will provide a much-needed economic boost to small businesses and the city's arts and cultural sector.

“City of Newcastle is committed to delivering and supporting community programs and events like Autumn Alive, as they are critical to our city’s post-pandemic recovery,” Cr Nelmes said.

"Newcastle’s city centre is our cultural heart, and a thriving CBD is the key to attracting people to help stimulate the economy.

“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 has transformed significantly during the past two decades and is now home to cutting-edge industry and has 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,” Mr 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 has wide appeal and shines a spotlight on the city’s cultural venues and local businesses.

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

“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 for event details, dates and times.

Autumn Alive program highlights:

Launch night at Pacific Park
Friday 29 April

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

Library After Dark
Thursday and Friday nights, 5-9pm

Newcastle Libraries and Newcastle Art Gallery present Library After Dark - an eclectic series of evening pop-up events. There will be Crime Canapes & Cocktails with Barry Maitland in conversation with Jamie Lewis, The Library is Open drag bar featuring Timberlina and Foxxe Faux, and a Bad Art Party featuring local artists Jen Denzin & Joanne Back.

Bad Art Party
Thursday 19 May 2022, 5-9pm

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. Leave your art skills at the door and see what you can come up with in our artist-led workshop with local artists Jen Denzin and Joanne Back. Bookings are essential and for adults-only.

Night-time Walking Trails
Friday and Saturday nights throughout May

City of Newcastle has partnered with our city's restaurants, galleries, bars and boutique retailers during Autumn Alive to bring to you curated Night-time Walking Trails. Download the City of Newcastle App to discover the hidden, and not so hidden gems of our city.

Pacific Nights
Saturday and Sunday nights throughout May

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. Bring a picnic rug, pick up a takeaway meal from one of our local business partners and celebrate the emerging creative scene.

Movies at Museum Park
Thursday and Friday nights, 6-9pm

Newcastle Museum will celebrate their latest exhibition, Alice's Wonderland - A Most Curious Adventure, airing classic Disney movies under the stars in Museum Park. Bring a picnic blanket, grab some popcorn, ice-cream, or enjoy a drink from the bar whilst watching Disney favourites. Newcastle Museum will stay open late during Autumn Alive for guests to explore after dark.

East End Party
Saturday, 7 May 2022

The newest part of Newcastle’s CBD is open for business and this is your opportunity to check it out in style. Local businesses invite you to taste and see all that the new East End Stage 1 has to offer with boutique wine tasting, dumplings, an alfresco art exhibition, stringed musicians, contemporary dance and operatic vocals.

Closing Night: Laman Street Party
Saturday, 21 May 2022

Come along to Autumn Alive's final night party on Laman Street with live music, dance, an art installation by Newcastle Art Gallery, local food stalls and more. Follow City of Newcastle's social channels for the headline act announcement!