The NSW Government will partner with Willoughby City Council over the next two years to host three major festivals in the Willoughby area.

Member for Willoughby Tim James said that $980,000 has been provided to the council to host the Lunar New Year, Gai-mariagal and Emerge Festivals over the next two years.

“This is a great win for our local community,” Mr James said.

“We have a thriving and vibrant community and I know many people will be waiting to come from far and wide wanting to experience everything these three events have to offer.”

Minister for Multiculturalism Mark Coure said the partnership with Willoughby will help make Chatswood a bigger tourism attraction and provide a boost for our local community.

Grant funding of up to $500,000 a year for two years has been awarded to 15 local councils across the state’s Six Cities regions to host major multicultural events and festivals in partnership with the NSW Government.

“This funding will help Willoughby Council take their events to the next level,” Mr Coure said.

Willoughby is one of 15 local councils that has received funding from the NSW Government to host its event in 2023 and 2024. All successful councils will partner with the NSW Government and co-fund to host events. For more information, visit www.multicultural.nsw.gov.au  

Lunar New Year
The Lunar New Year Festival in Chatswood celebrates the traditions of all cultures that observe Lunar New Year.  The festival is a significant annual event for the local population and broader community; a chance to celebrate one’s own ancestry or explore other cultures.  The focus of the festival is a celebration of traditional arts and culture and contemporary creative expressions such as food, music, comedy and dance.  The festival also explores second and third generation stories and artistic expressions.
The 2023 program will feature headline free events Symphony in the Park: East meets West, large scale public art activation – Rabbit Trail, Food Trail, Art exhibition, Contemporary Music Performance, Lion Dances, Celebration Day and Lantern Parade.  The festival will host over 50 small lantern making workshops for attendees to participate in the Lantern Parade.  Ticketed events will include a Comedy Show and contemporary music concert.

Gai-mariagal Festival
The Gai-mariagal Festival was founded in 2001 and aims to raise awareness of First Nations People living in the Northern Sydney region.  The festival starts on Sorry Day, 26 May and goes through to the end of NAIDOC Week – mid July.   Gai-mariagal aims to create new relationships and understanding between the broader Australian community and the Original Peoples of this land.  The festival committee includes Local Government, First Nations groups, businesses and community groups.  Committee members contribute their own self-funded events, which include workshops, art exhibitions, performances, films, talks and more.
Willoughby Council will curate a series of art events, workshops and bush tours celebrating First Nations People.  A First Nations curator will curate an art exhibition in Chatswood.   A key focus is to share First Nations history with our multicultural population through art tours, workshops and bush tours in Chinese, Korean and Hindi.

Emerge Festival
Emerge is a six-week festival held annually in Spring featuring over 40 events and workshops.  Emerge celebrates the diversity across the local government area and features music, film, theatre, art, performance and workshops.  The focus of the festival is discovery, exploring different cultural activities and faith networks.  Headline events include the Matsuri Japan Festival, Moon Festival, Navutsav and StreetFair.   Workshops include Japanese ceramics, Tai Kwon Do, Lion Dancing, ikebana, folk songs, Korean drumming and Bollywood movie nights.

StreetFair attracts 20,000 people for the one-day celebration and offers religious, community and cultural organisations a platform to share their activities with the wider public.  Participants include Unidos de Sydney Brazilian Samba, Diramu Aboriginal Dance, Scottish Clan McLeod Pipe Band, International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Persian social group, Armenian Seniors Group and Nan Tien Buddhist Temple.  StreetFair offers an extensive world food market offering, featuring delicacies from over 15 different countries.