Monday, 17 August 2015

Cronulla plugs into the Sounds of the Suburbs

Sounds of the Suburbs returns to Cronulla for the third year in a row.                    Image: Jack Bennett Photography.
With the third annual Sounds of the Suburbs slated for September, Cronulla is well and truly plugged into the Gen Z zeitgeist for the jam-packed festival with the "warm and scuzzy vibes". 

Forget, for a moment, any visual clich├ęs you have in mind about Cronulla.  Next, turn your back to the beach, don a colourful wristband and floppy hat and join the invading hordes at Sounds of the Suburbs, where it will be wiggle-room only in Wilbar Lane on September 27.

Sound of the Suburbs is the little laneway festival that dared to dream big.          Image: Jack Bennett Photography.
Everyone is welcome at the little laneway festival says Aaron Girgis, one of the co-founders of the music festival that showcases a growing alternative scene that has been bubbling up in Cronulla over the past decade or so.

Sounds of the Suburbs keeps the warm and scuzzy vibes alive.              Image: Jack Bennett Photography
"It's everyone's dream to start a big laneway festival isn't it? Three years ago, we were like, 'Let's do this' and we're so lucky that Sutherland Shire Council have been so super supportive and been behind the festival from day one. The community has also embraced us from the start," says Girgis.

'This is our opportunity to show the people of Sydney that there is another scene and another world that exists out here in the Sutherland Shire," he says.

Sounds of the Suburbs is one of the more intimate events on the festival circuit.                 Image: Jack Bennett Photography
Girgis and local street artist Jack Irvine are also behind Space 44, an independent gallery and creative hub that is now regarded as the community's space as much as it is their own. The pair have also teamed up with Geoff Trio and Jad Nahkle, co-owners of The Brass Monkey Cronulla and El Sol Mexican Cantina, who have been involved in the evolution of the local music scene for a decade.

A snapshot of Sounds of the Suburbs 2015.                                                   Image: Jack Bennett Photography 
It was after fielding feedback from the locals who attend their monthly exhibitions that the duo decided to stage an event that celebrates local musicians as well as international acts that will perform exclusively at the music festival.

Space 44 is on song with Cronulla's Sounds of the Suburbs festival in September.  Image: Jack Bennett Photography.
"People are starting to sit up and take notice of Cronulla. We knew after starting Space 44 that there were hundreds of people into art and boutique music and an alternative scene and we're so proud to bring some of these bands here for a big celebration," he says.

Sounds of the Suburbs is where art, music and fashion collide.                Image: Jack Bennett Photography.
At larger music festivals, 800 people might be queued to use the Portaloos. By comparison, with its at-capacity crowd of 800, Sound of the Suburbs feels more like a wild house party.

Sounds of the Suburbs is attracting party heads from all around the country.                       Photo: Jack Bennett Photography.
It's a formula the tightknit coterie of artists seem to appreciate with acts such as Brisbane indie duo Holy Holy sharing the stage with international acts such as The Garden, White Fang and The Memories presented by cult record label Burger Records and travelling all the way from Orange County in LA.

Celebrate the sunshine at Cronulla's Sounds of the Suburbs 2015.          Image: Jack Bennett Photography
With just three stages and 21 bands, the fact that the intimate festival is a nod to the Sound of the Suburbs song released by The Members in 1979 is reason enough to support Sounds of the Suburbs. "Sounds of the Suburbs has all the warm and scuzzy vibes to mark the perfect start to Australia's festival season," says Girgis.

Locals love the laidback beach vibe at Sounds of the Suburbs.               Image: Jack Bennett Photography

September 27, 2015
WHERE: Wilbar Lane, Cronulla
DON'T MISS: The three international acts The Garden, White Fang and The Memories as well as Brisbane indie folk band, Holy Holy. I Am Apollo and hip-hop act Citizen Kay are a few of the stellar local acts on the lineup.
PRO TIP: Catch a train to Cronulla and save your cash for beer and Mexican food from El Sol.
NEXT MONTH: Another sneak peek of Australian Music Week.

To read more of my articles visit or subscribe to the Visit the Shire blog.

Sounds of the Suburbs is so intimate it has the feel of an off-the-chain house party. Image: Jack Bennett Photography.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Cronulla joins the music festival circuit

The Brass Monkey will be in the spotlight during the inaugural Australian Music Week in Cronulla.

Cronulla will crank up the volume this summer when it presents the inaugural Australian Music Week and HiFi Days Festival from November 18-22. One of the organisers of the event, Geoff Trio, says the five-day festival will culminate in HiFi Days, which includes internationally renowned act UB40, as well as Australian acts The Bamboos (with Tim Rogers), Phil Jamieson (Grinspoon), The Snowdroppers, Caravana Sun and indie four-piece Fripps & Fripps.

UB40 headlines the bill at HiFi Festival, presented by the inaugural Australian Music Week in Cronulla. Image: Supplied

As the co-owner of two of the best live venues in the Shire - the Brass Monkey and El Sol - Trio has been instrumental in the growth of the Shire's live music scene. But despite his industry knowledge and connections through his role running a music label and touring company for local and international artists, Trio says the response he has received has still come as somewhat of a surprise.

"The response and support we have received has been overwhelming. We want this to be an annual event and the plans are to grow it every year and to eventually take it to the world stage and the feedback we have had has been so incredibly positive that we are confident we can achieve that," he says.

Trio believes Cronulla's chilled-out picturesque vibe of beach and bay will provide the perfect backdrop for a week of grooving in the sunshine, with up to 150 local and international artists appearing everywhere from the Brass Monkey, to the Sting Bar, JDs and El Sol as well as the centre mall stage and several cafes.
The stage will be set at El Sol to host a diverse range of acts during Australian Music Week. Photo: Carla Grossetti

Trio says the celebration of live music also doubles as a mega music industry conference designed to spark conversation and connections between everyone from industry executives and recording professionals to up-and-coming artists and music lovers.  

Do The Stomp with the Snowdroppers during Australian Music Week's presentation of HiFi Days.  Image: Supplied
As well as bringing together musos from a multitude of genres such as contemporary soul, rock, blues, indie, country and folk, there will be a series of interactive Q&As and workshops featuring speakers such as Andy Cassell, co-owner and founder of Winterman & Goldstein (Jett, Empire of the Sun, Something for Kate, The Preatures) and Chloe Goodyear, head of programming at the Woodford Folk Festival.

Sutherland Shire band Fripps & Fripps has been invited to perform during HiFi Days. Image: Supplied
Trio says artists are invited to showcase at Australian Music Week in front of some of Australia's most influential and successful agents, venue bookers, managers, labels. Applications close on August 14, 2015. All bands that apply to AMW will be able to opt in for automatic consideration for Captured: Australia, a short film festival pairing up eight emerging filmmakers with eight emerging artists. 

The event will also feature food stalls that have sprouted in the Shire with pop-up coffee bar from Grind Espresso, Arabian-inspired cuisine from Yalla Sawa and pizza from AVPN-accredited Queen Margherita of Savoy.

Phil Jamieson, who is a founding member of Grinspoon, and is now flying solo.
Conference passes: 2 DAY Conference & 3 NIGHTS Showcases - $93.50 + booking fee
November 21 Saturday Youth Conference only - $34.50 + booking fee


November 19-21

November 19-20, 20-21 or November 19 and November 21

Thursday, November 19
Friday November 20
Saturday November 21

GOLD PASS TICKET - costs $175 and includes full access to conferences on November 19 & 20, showcases November 19-21and general admission to HiFi Days November 22. Tickets on sale now from For more information on Australia Music Week visit

WHEN: Sunday November 22 from noon-8pm.
GETTING THERE: Gunnamatta Park is located 50m from Cronulla Train Station.
TICKETS: Adults: $89 plus booking fee; kids aged 3-13 $45; on sale through