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You know spring has sprung when the Emerge Festival begins! A month long celebration of all Sydney’s North Shore has to offer, head to the incredible street parade, enjoy live music and performance or take part in workshops and events for all ages…

Come one, come all! The North Shore’s largest festival, Emerge, is back on the horizon for another year and will transform the villages of Chatswood, Willoughby, Northbridge and Artarmon into a hub of cultural activity from September 1 to October 7. Whether it’s live music immersion, vibrant parades or a fun workshop, you’ll want to immerse yourself in this colourful calendar of community spirit and creative energy.

At the heart of Emerge Festival is the Chatswood StreetFair on Saturday, September 2. More than 120 market stalls will line the roads for this vibrant carnival offering everything from unique crafts to delectable treats. But the StreetFair is more than just a market; it’s a celebration of culture and talent. The event will kick off with a colourful 1,000-person street parade that winds its way through the heart of Chatswood, showcasing a diverse range of cultural groups and local school marching bands.

With three massive stages, the air at StreetFair will be filled with melodies that cater to every musical taste. The Rhythm and Rock stage will host the neighbourhood’s most talented musicians including the crowd-favourite Police Band, Willoughby Girls Jazz Ensemble and Northern Youth Symphonic Wind.

The Bubblegum Stage sets the scene for emerging local talent as they perform toe-tapping dance routines, including The Jazz Factory Dance Company and North Shore Dance Academy. Finally, The World Fusion Stage is a testament to the multicultural essence of Emerge festival, featuring performances that span the globe, from Samba and Bollywood to Chinese folk and Flamenco.

Emerge Festival extends from Chatswood to Willoughby with a month of opportunities for creativity, learning and connection. Willoughby City Council will host over 30 events covering everything from creative workshops and artisan experiences to outdoor sports and leisure activities.

Willoughby City Mayor Tanya Taylor says the Emerge festival is a great way to celebrate the suburb’s vibrant community and to get out and reconnect with neighbours and friends.

“This iconic community festival marks not only the fact that Spring has sprung, but also celebrates the people of Willoughby.”

“For five weeks, we will come together and celebrate our vibrant culture and the best entertainment that Willoughby has to offer,” Mayor Taylor said.

Party with the crowds at large events like the Matsuri Japan Festival, Chinese Moon Festival, Multicultural Spring Fair or Tastes of Naremburn trail. Alternatively, get hands-on with more intimate experiences including a Mandal Dot Painting workshop, Food Swap, Repair Cafe, Crafters and Makers Group Meet-Up, Spring Wildflower Walk and more.

Arts and culture lovers can also enjoy a pumping program of performances including North Shore Theatre Company’s production of The Addams Family and The 60 Four in concert, or exhibitions like Wasted Opportunities and Entwined Within. The little ones can join the fun too with a puppetry performance by The Jeral Puppets and Hello Kitty and Friends live.

Some of the other highlights include:

Live at Lunch – a series of music concerts curated by famed flutist Jane Rutter. The concerts take place on a Wednesday at lunch time at Chatswood’s beautiful Concert Hall with the novelty of joining the performers for lunch afterwards! (click here for details) 

Photo by Robert Catto, @robertcatto @robertcattophotographer

The Hen House – a new music theatre work weaving extraordinary, humorous and tragic multi-lingual stories of European-Australian female migrant factory workers. Paired with distinctly live and loud original music played by an electrifying all-female rock band. A fierce, funny, and electrifying experience. (click here for details)

Image: AnnaKucera-Josipa-Draisma

Personal – It wasn’t until Jodee Mundy was five years old and lost at Kmart that she realised the rest of her family was deaf. Told using a captivating blend of performance, storytelling, multimedia and animation, Personal is a smart, touching and often humorous exploration of growing up ‘coda’ – a child of deaf parents. (click here for details)

While some of these events are paid, many are free to attend including Emerge Live at Night – which features live music sessions in the Artarmon, Northbridge and Willoughby village centres from September 21 to October 8. Sydneysiders can enjoy the upcoming warmer months while listening to a diverse group of artists and connecting with friends or neighbours every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 5-8pm.

Check out the exciting full program for Emerge 2023 here.

Emerge Festival 2023

When: September 1 – October 7

Where: Chatswood, Willoughby and Artarmon

Website: https://www.emergefestival.com.au/Home