What could possibly be more Sydney than gathering seven of the city's most diverse musicians on the rooftop of a Parramatta carpark, and asking them to combine their music with dance, video projections and art installations for an epic one-off multimedia performance? Not much, really. And, as such, this is precisely what the Sydney Sacred Music Festival plan to do with a brand new work called Worlds Collide, which will be premiered atop said rooftop this September.
In conjunction with Riverside Theatres, the festival's artistic director Richard Petkovic has gone about finding some of the best (and most culturally distinct) musicians in Sydney in an effort to take Australia's multicultural roots to the mainstream after he recognised a noticeable lack of diversity in the local music scene. "We've got these fantastic artists from different backgrounds — amazing DJs, amazing world musicians — and this is a great new work that represents us all," says Petkovic. "I do a lot of work in Western Sydney, and there I was able to find these hidden treasures in our community."
So the choice of location — the rooftop of Parramatta's Wentworth Street carpark — was a natural choice. It's a unique venue and, according to Petkovic, represents where real people live. "I've always wanted to do an event on a carpark roof and when I looked at it I thought, 'this is not a gig that is going to suit people in a seat'," he says. "I want people to move, dance, get excited and really engage with the event."
Musically, styles will span everything from world music to dance; meditative drones and sacred African chants will combine with the hip hop rhymes of Mt Druitt's Esky the Emcee and South Asian underground beats of Coco Varma's Sitar Funk. Art installations from Khaled Sabsabi, Marian Abood and Ghasan Saaid will also be featured.
Sydney Sacred Music Festival begins on Friday, September 2 at Pemulwuy (Prospect Hill) with a performance from internationally acclaimed artist William Barton. Worlds Collide will kick off from 7pm the following night on Saturday, September 3 on the rook of the Wentworth Street carpark, Parramatta. You can buy tickets here.
Image: Jens Thekkeveettil.