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This free 24-hour arts and cultural festival is taking over Macquarie Street.
By Libby Curran
January 04, 2023
By Libby Curran
January 04, 2023

Sydney's got a brand-new free festival to tempt night owls, culture lovers and everyone in between. Set to light up Macquarie Street for 24 hours from 6pm on Saturday, February 4, the inaugural Mopoke fest will deliver a luminous program of art, music, food and creativity well worth staying up late for.

Named after Australia's smallest owl variety, the round-the-clock celebration of arts and culture will transform the inner-city precinct into a playground for inquisitive souls and curious minds, sprawling from Shakespeare Place through to Hyde Park Barracks.

The eastern stretch of Macquarie Street will become pedestrian-only for the festival's duration, playing host to a smorgasbord of pop-ups, activations and artistic offerings, all linked by black-lit paths. Wander through to discover theatre performances, gigs, live art, magic shows, a 10-strong multicultural rotation of food trucks and more.

You can unleash your own creativity in a glow-in-the-dark Playdough Garden, while Hyde Park Barracks is set to keep the gates open all night long, playing host to an art and design market featuring everything from ceramicists to tattoo artists.

The Mint and its surrounds will light up with a glowing after-dark garden, as well as a native-flower market set to a soundtrack of classical music.

Meanwhile, the Sydney Eye Hospital courtyard will be reimagined as an artists' plaza filled with magicians, theatre shows and live art — with its fountain glowing in the dark and its building facades lit up through the night.

Also shrouded in black light will be Hunter Lane, where you'll catch a DJ and silent disco jamming long into the evening, while the rest of the State Library of NSW grounds will feature an art installation, live jazz and a pop-up bar. You'll want to venture up to the new-look Library Bar for cocktails, spoken word poetry and astronomy chats, too.

And in The Domain, a fiery affair awaits visitors, with a luminous white piano soundtracking a troupe of fire twirlers, which you can watch from the comfort of your own picnic lounge. Sticking to the theme, the site will also host a pop-up bar slinging smoke-forward sips and cooking stations dishing up an array of flambéed desserts.

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