Local and international audiences will be able to experience Sydney Opera House like never before with the launch of a new range of tour experiences, announced today.

A new Guided Digital Tour will give would-be travellers from around the world the chance to explore Australia’s most famous building from their living room. Hosted by one of the Opera House’s expert guides, the live online tour takes guests behind-the-scenes to discover one of the world’s busiest performing arts centres between the acts, waking up, in rehearsal and at rest.

For Sydneysiders and interstate travellers eager to discover their own backyard, the Opera House has launched its first ever Architectural Tour, revealing the story behind the creation of Utzon’s masterpiece. A new Beyond the Stage Tour also kicks off at the Opera House this month, giving visitors a rare opportunity to go behind-the scenes and into the domain of artists and staff, before relaxing by the harbour in true Sydneysider style, enjoying Australian-inspired cuisine at Opera Kitchen. Continue reading SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE LAUNCHES NEW RANGE OF TOUR EXPERIENCES


Event Summit 2020 has brought together the leaders of the events, live entertainment and technology industry’s to reveal the winners, losers and innovators of COVID 19 filmed at The Calyx, Royal Botanic Garden.

The Live Entertainment Industry Forum (LEIF) hosted by James Sutherland (LEIF Chair), Geoff Jones (CEO, TEG) and Roger Field (President, Live Nation Asia Pacific) and EY’s Matt Colston (Associate Partner Sports, Events and Venues Consulting ), headlined the discussion with the results of an industry-wide research piece conducted to measure both the contribution of live events to the Australian economy and the devastating loss it has suffered.

Geoff Jones, CEO TEG said“EY’s report demonstrates that when the live entertainment industry does badly, Australia loses. Almost all of our revenue disappeared overnight when COVID-19 restrictions closed down the industry in March and while the return of sport with limited capacities has offset some of that impact in EY’s figures, for commercial live entertainment operators both large and small, revenue in September/October remains at no more than 10% of 2019 levels.”

Whilst there’s no doubt that COVID has rocked the live entertainment world, there were glimmers of hope reflected with content creators, live streaming and the ability to adapt event sponsorships into new territories proving a recipe for success during a pandemic.

KFC’s Sally Spriggs said:

“We do rely heavily on tapping into Australia culture and live entertainment such as sport and music and it’s really important as a mass brand to be a part of that culture. We’ve tried to endure those connections – we’ve had to adapt. We started getting into music before COVID hit with the KFC truck going to festivals but during COVID we started sponsoring live stream events to continue that connection. Sport, we’ve had to think more about the at home audience. It’s really important to keep the momentum going but be adaptable to what you can do. The most important thing is to keep those passions alive in Australians because that’s what will endure.”

Twitch’s Ricky Chanana also weighed in on the debate with professional gamer and content creator Jessie James (Geekgg) who said that audiences had flocked to platforms like Twitch where they could still experience the thrill of live entertainment whilst interacting with talent they felt connected to, from the comfort of their own homes.

NEC’s David Borean agreed, saying: “During COVID both event organisers and venues alike have had to turn to technology to find new ways to access audiences and deliver content”

The Hon Stuart Ayres Minister for Jobs, Investment and Western Sydney showed support for the industry with a heartfelt opening address, ensuring the audience that an updated Visitor Economy Industry Action Plan would provide the road to recovery for the NSW Tourism sector with events as a key focus of the plan and where the NSW Government will invest tax payer money.

“No sector has been affected more that the Tourism, Accommodation and Hospitality sectors. It is critical that we establish confidence back into this market and we get people back out, into our cities and regions” 

  • The Hon Stuart Ayres, Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney: Event Open.
  • Qualifying the contribution of the live events industry – Matt Colston- Associate Partner Sports, Events and Venues Consulting, EY
  • Live Entertainment Industry Form – James Sutherland – Chairman, LEIF, Roger Field – President, Live Nation Asia Pacific, Geoff Jones- CEO, TEG
  • Craig TileyCEO Tennis Australia: The Australian Open 2021.
  • David Borean General Manager Brand and Customer Experience NEC Australia: Biometrics and AI, CX game changers for venues and events.
  • Nicola Lewis, Chief Investment Officer GroupM, Sally Spriggs KFC South Pacific Marketing Director, Shannan Quinn, PRISM MD: Event Sponsorships in a COVID World and beyond
  • Johnny Little, Vice President Spartan Race Inc: Driving Global Participation Engagement
  • Luke Anear, Chief Executive Officer Safety Culture: Helping Organisations build immunity to risk.
  • Andrew Waddel, General Manager, Tourism New Zealand, Lewis Mitchel Partnership Lead, Twitch AUNZ , Jessie James (Geekgg), Twitch content creator, Ricky Chanana Head of Sales AUNZ Twitch: The future of live streaming and content.
  • Richie McNeill – CEO Hardware GroupJohn Curtin – Director Curtin ConsultingFrank Cotela – CEO and Founder OneLove Music Group, Kim Friedlaender, Business Development Director Live Nation Australasia Festival XLaunching a new music festival brand, building and retaining new audience.

The Summit Event ran from 9am to 2pm on                         Wednesday 14th October 2020


West HQ Chief Executive Officer Richard Errington has announced that Grammy and ARIA Award winning global star Keith Urban will officially open the Sydney Coliseum Theatre, West HQ on Saturday 21 December with a headline performance. The venue’s Official Grand Opening Performance, a special ‘Keith Urban and Friends’ concert, has been created especially for the Sydney Coliseum Theatre and will feature performances by special guest Australian artists.

Urban last performed in Australia in January and February this year as part of his GRAFFITI U World Tour Australia, and is the reigning ACM and CMA Entertainer of the Year. Urban’s concerts, critically praised the world over, feature his highly unpredictable, electrifying stage show along with his best-known hits, from his multiple #1 albums.

The performance follows the recent release of Urban’s new single ‘We Were’, a reflective mid-tempo ode to mischievous youth.

Sydney Coliseum Theatre’s announcement is seen as a major coup for the region with an international star such as Keith Urban agreeing to launch the $100M venue as the new centre for arts and entertainment in Greater Western Sydney.

West HQ CEO Richard Errington said: “The announcement of such an incredible opening act is just the beginning of a long-term plan to bring the very best artistic and entertainment content to Greater Sydney. We are thrilled to be able to launch Sydney’s new world-class venue with an Award-winning performer of Keith Urban’s calibre and can’t wait to see him light up the stage at the Sydney Coliseum Theatre, West HQ for our Grand Opening in December!




Over the long weekend I could not spread myself to the extent of attending the Grand Final of the National rugby League competition. What with covering the Cosplay convention and the Manly Jazz Festival the only way I could cover grand final activities was the circus would have to come to me. And so it did…

Around the corner from where I live is the Easts Rugby League club and at 1.30am to thousands of ecstatic fans the victorious Sydney Roosters team appeared on the rooftop brandishing the Grand Final victory trophy. A trumpeter blew, drums banged, flags waved, and over a loudspeaker system Queen’s song ‘We Are the Champions’ soared into the night sky. Fans stayed with the proceedings until 2.30am. There was a large police contingent which was not used due to the happy and good spirited nature of the fun filled proceedings.


Kirsten Siddle

A MIDNIGHT VISIT  is Sydney’s first large-scale immersive theatre experience.  Sited in Newtown, it opens to Previews soon and we caught up with Kirsten Siddle one of the Creative Producers.

A MIDNIGHT VISIT  draws on the works and worlds of the macabre master Edgar Allan Poe as inspiration, inviting Sydneysiders into an immersive playground.   From the creative minds of director Danielle Harvey (Festival of Dangerous Ideas, Antidote festival, All About Women), creative producers Kirsten Siddle and Simon Hayward,A MIDNIGHT VISIT brings together influences from experiential work Sleep No More and escape rooms, to the pop culture worlds of David Lynch and Stranger Things .

SAG:                      So you must be fairly busy about now with the event opening to previews on September 19. 

KIRSTEN:              (laughs) We have been bumping in for months now!  We’ve been in the venue for over 3 months and we have built over 34 sets.

SAG:                      It’s big picture artmaking isn’t it?  What are the inspirations for such a big undertaking?

KIRSTEN:              That’s a really good question, why are we so crazy enough to do this?  Danielle Harvey and I have been curators and programmers for some of the country’s biggest performing arts organizations and centres and we felt that there were things missing from our arts scene. Continue reading A MIDNIGHT VISIT IS COMING: INTERVIEW WITH ONE OF THE CREATIVE PRODUCERS


Hatz Fitz & Cara
Hat Fitz and Cara can in no way be mistaken for a dainty duo. They are festival favourites throughout Canada, Australia, Europe, and the UK and it has been said they pack more energy into one song than most have in an entire career. A unique combination of hill-style Gospel blues with old timey flavourings and stripped down to just voices, guitar and vintage drums, Hat Fitz & Cara embellish impeccable rootsy originals with soulful vocals reminiscent of a time once forgotten.

The little coastal village of Culburra Beach is two hours from Sydney and every May it plays host to a celebration of music, culture, art, food, craft, surfing and fun.  This year the festival runs across the Mothers’ Day Weekend (11-13th May) and it’s the perfect way to spoil mum. Continue reading BURRADISE MUSIC FESTIVAL: GIVEAWAY PASSES


The Sydney Royal Easter Show was first held in 1823 and was granted use of the word Royal by Queen Victoria.

Over the last century the show has survived and thrived due to its move from Moore Park to Homebush.

Many of the fixed pavilions at Moore Park have become sound stages for Fox Studio.

When one says that the show is an institution on Sydney’s cultural calendar, the word calendar is not the Gregorian version. As Easter is determined on a lunar basis, the show’s duration moves around the months of March and April, revolving around the fixed days of Good Friday to Easter Monday. Continue reading SYDNEY ROYAL EASTER SHOW 2018


Chris Blanchflower blowing harp

Come and celebrate the life and times of one of the great harmonica players, Chris Blanchflower – best known for his contributions to Greg Quill’s band, Country Radio. He played in many different ensembles over the years and also did some great sessions work. Chris passed away in February this year.

Chris was also a walking encyclopaedia of Country, Blues, Folk, Rock and Jazz.

Always ready to lend a hand to a friend in need or “have a blow” with any musicians that were playing any place, any time. No gig too small. Having Chris play harp in your band was like having Eric Clapton sit in on guitar. Continue reading “WAILING FOR CHRIS” @ THE BRIDGE HOTEL, ROZELLE


As part of next month’s 40th anniversary Mardi Gras and for the first time in the parade’s history, an Opera House float will roll up Oxford Street.

Titled Out at the House, the glittering Sydney Opera House float will feature a 10-metre sparkling replica of the famous sails and a 70-strong group of marching ushers, dancers and orchestra members, led by the legendary Dame Joan Sutherland, played by long-time Opera Australia employee Bobby McKenzie.

The float will also feature comedian Gerry Connolly playing Queen Elizabeth II and ‘a Maestro’ from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra ‘conducting’ the marching group.

With just over a week until Mardi Gras, the Opera House today gave a sneak peek of the float design by parade veteran George Savoulis, together with the costumes to be worn by staff and performers on the night, designed by Academy Award-winner Tim Chappel.


Vivid Sydney Lights Dinner Cruise

Ringside seats to Vivid Sydney lights, a relaxing dinner cruise and a spectacular cabaret show! Captivated by the idea already? Touted as one of the best Vivid Sydney Lights cruises, this authentic paddlewheeler treats you to a visual Vivid spectacle on the harbour as well as to a jaw-dropping show on the inside! You really don’t have to think twice; book a Vivid Sydney Dinner any day between 25 May and 16 June 2018 cruise into the lights on Sydney Harbour! A promising time you won’t forget anytime soon, the mouth-watering dinner & a touch of bubbly is sure to elevate your Vivid Sydney dinner cruise experience!

25-May-2018 to 17-June-2018

For more about Vivid Sydney Lights Dinner Cruise, visit https://www.sydneyshowboats.com.au/sydney-harbour-cruises/vivid-sydney-festival-cruise
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This year the rock and pop chicks decided to go glamorous and the blokes wore the traditional grunge. Although the headline acts did not walk the carpet, the presence of so many up and coming musicians gave the Red Carpet a very special buzz.  Featured image is of Samantha Jade. All images by Ben Apfelbaum (c).


A Festival of Fraudulent Facts

Recently  the Bondi Pavilion hosted a talk with the title of FRAUDULENT FACTS, HOAX HEADLINES AND MALICIOUS MEDIA.

 Jan Fran, Alex McKinnon,Sandra Sully, John Barron

Images by Ben Apfelbaum

Presented by the Mark and Evett Moran Nib Literary Award and  the Walkeley Foundation, it an expert channel of journalists including John Barron, Sandra Sully, Alex McKinnon, and hosted by journalist  Jan Fran.

The consensus of the Panel seemed to be that in order to keep reporting quality stories the panelists relied on tried and tried sources and in local crime news, police media reports rather fantastical social media.

The panelists lamented that some people in the community held misguided views such as the denial of climate and the link between autism and vaccinations.

The more you presented these people with objective facts and scientific studies, the more they doubled down on their prejudices.

The panel sought to present quality news to their target audiences who hopefully were sufficiently open minded to receive their accurate news reports.

More information about Fraudulent Facts, Hoax Headlines and Malicious Media :  http://www.waverley.nsw.gov.au/recreation/calendar_of_events/events/fraudulent_facts,_hoax_headlines_and_malicious_media



The latest talk presented by Useful Box for sewists and textile fans was held at the exclusive elegant Boronia Tea Rooms at Mosman. Jennifer Irwin was the fascinating guest speaker who has us all enthralled.

Irwin is the recipient of the 2017 Australian Dance Award for Services to Dance. She is perhaps best known for her work designing for Bangarra Dance Company, Opera Australia and Sydney Dance Company.

Her career spans 36 years designing for drama, opera, dance & ballet as well as the largest spectacular events ever staged in Australia -the opening and closing of the 2000 Sydney Olympics and the official ceremony commemorating the FEDERATION OF AUSTRALIA 2001.

Irwin was nominated for Best Costume Design 2016 AACTA Awards for her work on SPEAR the feature film with Bangarra .Irwin also designed the costumes for Dirty Dancing, the musical, still playing to packed audiences worldwide after 16 years. Continue reading FROCKS, TALES AND TEA : A LOOK INSIDE THE WORLD OF COSTUME GREAT JENNIFER IRWIN


Beautiful. Not only was the musical beautiful but so were many of the celebs who walked the Red Carpet. Here are some of the best pics that Ben Apfelbaum took. Enjoy!

Featured image. Left to right- Director Marc Bruni, Writer Douglas McGarth, Producers – Michael Cassel and Mike Bosner.


Aboriginal art, crafts, bush foods and entertainment will fill Sydney’s spectacular harbour headland park as the iconic Blak Markets return to Barangaroo Reserve.

The open-air market will feature more than 20 stalls selling unique handmade items, accessories, jewellery, art, photography and bush tucker by Aboriginal makers and food producers from around NSW, plus paintings from South Australia’s highly awarded APY Art Centre Collective.

Soak up family-friendly entertainment with live music by singer-songwriter Rebecca Hatch, dance workshops with the Ngaran Ngaran traditional dancers, hunter-gather performances by Larry Brandy Storytellers and a bush tucker cooking demonstration with celebrity chef, The Black Olive (Mark Olive). Continue reading BLAK MARKETS @ BARANGAROO RESERVE


Photography by Ben Apfelbaum.

Sydney’s sweet tooth shone brightly at the recent Chocolate Festival in the Rocks.

Chocolates of all shapes and sizes and ethnicity were consumed by happy hordes of of cocoa nuts.

Our photographer Ben Apfelbaum took a large photographic bite from the Festival.


The Sydney Fair (25-28 May 2017) at the Royal Hall of Industries Moore Park will be the largest International quality event for 10 years.

Over 50 of Australia’s outstanding dealers will be exhibiting (and selling) Furniture, Decorative Arts, Jewellery, Art, Prints and Posters, Books, Vintage Fashion and Couture and Luxury Vintage goods from all eras, Antique through to Contemporary Art.

The Event includes a Couture Exhibition showcasing Evening Dresses from 1920’s to 1990’s from Chanel, Dior and many designers from the Hollywood era, runway parades of vintage couture, film of the Paris catwalk parades from the 1950’s and much more.

The Royal Hall of Industries is situated at 1 Driver Avenue Moore Park Sydney N.S.W.

Opening night is Thursday 25th May 6.00 pm to 9.00 pm, followed by Friday 26th and Saturday 27th May between 11.00am to 6.00pm and Sunday 28th May 11.00am to 5.00pm

Tickets can be purchased online or at the door:-
$30 Opening night
$15 everyday of the fair
$10 Concession (not opening night)

For more information about The Sydney Fair, visit http://www.thesydneyfair.com.au

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Being in the Mardi Gras Parade?  One word … chafing.  Maybe too words … sore feet.  Possibly three words… rain and drizzle.

So why do it?

This is what my photographer friend and I set out to explore in the 3 hours we were wandering in the float assembly area before the off.  I know why I do it.  Despite the weather, forgetting the very tender balls of my feet this morning and in spite of a wet weather plastic uniform which would simply not behave and stay away from exposed skin!  I march with the SES because it is an inclusive organisation that welcomes all people and who helps anyone in the community who needs us. Continue reading SYDNEY MARDI GRAS PARADE 2017 : A GREAT CELEBRATION


Marketing consultant, management guru and author Simon Sinek, is back in Australia for his latest speaking tour.

In a press conference that was held at the Melbourne Convention Centre ahead of his sold out Start With Why Leadership forum, organised by The Growth Faculty, that also includes Sydney and Auckland, Simon, a former advertising executive, told the media crowd that he was thrilled to be back in Australia and New Zealand for the 3 day engagement. Leadership consultant and executive coach, Peter Docker, will also be joining him in the all-day event that includes speeches, workshops, networking lunches and training development seminars. Continue reading SIMON SINEk MAKES LIGHTNING SPEAKING TOUR TO AUSTRALIA


Featured image – Mark Speakman SC and Attorney General addressing the congregation. All photos by Ben Apfelbaum.

Although Church and the secular judiciary are supposed to be constitutionally separate, it is a tradition that the various religions bless the judiciary so that their decisions are wise and just.

On the 8th February it was the Jewish faith’s turn to place a benediction on the legal fraternity at the Great Synagogue, in the presence of the Chief Justice of New South Wales, the Hon. T.F.Bathurst AC.

Justice Stephen Rothman, President of the Great Synagogue, welcomed the legal profession to the service and outlined the contribution Jewish lawyers had made to New South Wales.

Mark Speakman SC, Attorney General, representing the Premier delivered a message on behalf of the Government of New South Wales, emphasising how the rule of law sustains democracy. Continue reading THE GREAT SYNAGOGUE SERVICE FOR THE OPENING OF THE LAW TERM


The Chinese community usually holds a huge parade down George Street but due to the construction of the light rail their substitute cultural expression is manifested in a display of lanterns depicting the Chinese signs of the Zodiac.

As it is the Year of the Rooster the lantern took pride of place by the Opera House and there have been various sculptures of the Rooster throughout the city including the QVB.

The Rooster always has its beak facing east towards the dawn and so Chinese people born under the sign of the Rooster look to the future with optimism and confidence.

Images by Ben Apfelbaum (c).