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Sydney’s Small World Festival Is Where All Your Favourite Things Meet

Handpicked local bands, gourmet food and craft beer.

If you were a group of mates that suddenly achieved wild success with your micro-brewed beer, what would you do? If you’re the team behind Newtown’s favourite brewers Young Henrys, you throw the biggest party you can. Enter Small World festival: where handpicked local bands, gourmet food and craft beer come together for the kind of festival aimed at party people too old to rock cut-off Daisy Dukes but too young to rock up with granola bars and foldable picnic chairs.

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Young Henry’s launched their micro-festival Small World last year, taking over a street in Marrickville for a single stage festival serving their own beer and with food provided by the hipsterati of Sydney’s chefs (namely the Mary’s team, The Oxford Tavern’s industrial slow-cook BBQ, and affordable festival offerings from revered Americana and Argentinean joints Bloodwood and Porteño).

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In 2015 Small World stepped things up a notch, moving proceedings to a natural amphitheatre in Sydney Park where, miraculously, the forecast rain kept its distance. As befits a “boutique” festival, the drinks were top notch: Young Henry’s Real Ale and Hop Ale by the tin, and cocktails of their home batch gin with fresh grapefruit and thyme. Meanwhile, the food trucks dished out everything from Porteños roast pork belly rolls to Mary’s outrageously decadent burgers, café Cornerfish smoked fish and slaw pockets, and Bloodwood’s polenta chips with gorgonzola sauce.

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This year, Small World stepped up the bands in a big way, too. Last year’s inaugural festival featured hype-worthy local names like Bloods and Delta Riggs, but this year brought late afternoon star power in the form of PVT (playing their first live show in living memory – and sounding incredible), the heavy-riffing dance-punk-thrash of DZ Deathrays, and heir-to-the-Nick-Cave-throne Jack Ladder with his super-group live band the Dreamlanders (featuring Sydney’s-sexiest-man Donny Benet on bass and Kirin J. Callinan doing strange things to his guitar).

But the piece de resistance was landing pioneering ‘80s art-rock band The Church, playing their last local show for the year in support of their recent reformation and latest (24th) album. They may have been appropriately late to the stage, leaving just enough time for six songs, but they made the most of it: frontman Steve Kilbey still has the lungs of a post-punk demigod, and the band even managed to sneak in their accidental pop anthem ‘Under the Milky Way Tonight’.

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Here’s hoping the not-quite-capacity crowd delivered enough funds for Young Henrys to bring the festival back next year; with the demise of Harvest Festival, Small World is the kind of party that Sydney needs.

(Photos by mrwigley.com.au)

Qantas flies to Sydney.