Solange Is Returning to Australia for a Huge New Festival at the Art Gallery of New South Wales

Volume will celebrate music, film and performance, with Sampa The Great, Mount Eerie and Sonya Holowell also on the lineup.
Sarah Ward
Published on June 20, 2023

Whether it celebrates music, performances or film, every arts festival is a gift. When it's brand new and combines all three, it's like Christmas. And, when it also boasts Solange's return to Australia, it's the adult equivalent of scoring the pony or bike that you always wanted when you were a kid. The event ticking all of those boxes? Volume, the newly announced fest that'll take over the Art Gallery of New South Wales this spring

When it debuts from Friday, September 22–Sunday, October 8 at the Sydney gallery, Volume will hero the cutting edge and the contemporary in all of its chosen artforms — and, given that it's calling itself a festival of sound and vision, that's where it'll be focusing. Solange has the headline slot, but the Grammy–winning R&B singer-songwriter has ample company, including Sampa The Great, Mount Eerie and Sonya Holowell.

Max Hirschberger

Also taking to the stage: everyone from Black Belt Eagle Scout, crys cole, Datu Arellano, Fuji|||||||||||ta and Hamed Sadeghi to Jeff Parker, Joe Rainey, Kim Moyes, Lonnie Holley and Maissa Alameddine, and the list keeps going from there. Via Dean Hurley, KMRU, Lea Bertucci, Loraine James, Megan Alice Clune, R Rebeiro and salllvage, Volume will also host the world premieres of seven new music recordings, all commissioned by AGNSW.

All up, the fest will showcase 27 local and international musicians, with the venue's music and community curator Jonathan Wilson putting together the impressive roster of talent behind the microphone. That program includes an experiential live music performance series called Play the Room, plus local and international composers creating and playing new scores courtesy of the fest's Playback sessions.

Jordan Munns

And, thanks to the gallery's new North Building, the setting is as stunning as the lineup. The Tank, which is a former-WWII oil tank-turned-art space, will host shows — and give its acoustics a workout — as will the 13-metre-high atrium and sculpture gallery spaces.

Volume's film and performance lineups will be announced in August, with AGNSW's film curator Ruby Arrowsmith-Todd picking the moving-image works and the venue's curator of contemporary art Lisa Catt doing the honours with the dance performances.

Expect 50-plus music, film and performance events in total — some free, some ticketed, and with the program running during the day and into the evening.

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Jenni Carter

"While the visual arts have traditionally been the Art Gallery's focus, our expansion, through the Sydney Modern Project, has created an exceptional opportunity for us to extend our programming as part of our new curatorial narrative to include more cutting-edge live music, film and performance. Volume is the manifestation of this vision," said Art Gallery of New South Wales director Michael Brand, announcing the new festival.

"Featuring some of the most compelling artists of our time, Volume sets a new standard for music curation in public art museums and is the most exciting performative live music and art festival to be staged in Sydney."

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Iwan Baan


Sampa The Great
Mount Eerie
Sonya Holowell
R. Rebeiro
Toni Muñoz
Datu Arellano
Lonnie Holley
crys cole
Maissa Alameddine
Sumn Conduit
Loraine James
Jeff Parker
Kim Moyes
Joe Rainey
Mourning (a) BLKstar
Lea Bertucci
Black Belt Eagle Scout
Hamed Sadeghi
Megan Alice Clune
Oren Ambarchi
Naretha Williams
Dean Hurley

Volume runs from Friday, September 22–Sunday, October 8 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, with ticket pre sales from 10am on Tuesday, July 18 and general sales from 10am on Wednesday, July 19 — head to the festival website for further details.

Top image: Ibrahem Hasan.

Published on June 20, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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