Sixteen projects to boost City’s night-time economy

Sixteen projects to boost City’s night-time economy

West Best Bloc Fest will return in 2023 to showcase more than 80 local music artists as one of 16 projects awarded a share of almost $800,000 through the City Centre and Darby Street Special Business Rate (SBR) funding program.

Many of the projects complement the vision of City of Newcastle’s Newcastle After Dark Strategy, which is helping to guide the development of a safe, vibrant night-time economy in the city centre.

Despite the economic downturn, Newcastle experienced the highest increase in night-time establishment growth across Australian cities during the past 12 months according to the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors’ Measuring the Australian Night Time Economy 2020-21 report.

Deputy Lord Mayor, Declan Clausen said successful initiatives like City of Newcastle’s SBR funding program provided invaluable support for the city’s CBD business precincts and created vibrant, activated spaces for the community and visitors to enjoy.

“Newcastle’s night-time economy accounts for 13 per cent of its workforce, which is significantly higher than the national average,” Declan said.

“Supporting initiatives through SBR funding like West Best Bloc Fest are proven to not only attract a welcome influx of visitors into the city centre but also drive new and expanded economic opportunities for our local hospitality and arts and cultural sector.

“As highlighted in the Night Time Economy 2020-21 report, City of Newcastle has a track record of creating more vibrant, activated spaces at night through programs like Locally Made and Played, its interactive outdoor Night Time Galleries project and SBR program.”

On the back of delivering West Best Bloc Fest 2022 last month, organiser Dylan Oaks said the successful event would return in 2023 thanks to continued SBR support by City of Newcastle.

“Newcastle’s music scene is the healthiest I’ve seen it. We just delivered a sold-out event on 2 October showcasing 100 per cent Novocastrian talent,” Dylan said.

“The SBR funding received for West Best Bloc Fest benefits multiple hospitality venues around our local West End block. This roaming event increases the vibrancy of the West End by engaging visitors in an interesting way, which leads to increased visitation in the area and spending in many of our city’s hospitality venues.”

Special Business Rates are collected from businesses in Newcastle City Centre / Darby Street, Hamilton, Mayfield, New Lambton and Wallsend for the promotion, beautification and development of those precincts.

Other successful projects under this round of City Centre and Darby Street funding include the mouth-watering return of Newcastle Food Month, Summer Shakespeare in Civic Park, West Walk food, art and wine trail, a month-long live painting festival and the highly popular Chalk the Walk 3D art trail.


IMAGE | Councillor, Carol Duncan; Ty Brennock from Les Poetes Pop; Atlas Franklin Alexander; Holly Wilson from Leda Gallery; and West Best Bloc Fest organiser / The Family Hotel Owner, Dylan Oakes (L-R).

City of Newcastle

In 2030, Newcastle will be a smart, liveable and sustainable city.

Council developed and adopted a suite of strategic documents to guide delivery of Council's seven key strategic directions, outlined in the Newcastle 2030 Community Strategic Plan.

  •  A Connected City
  •  A Protected and Enhanced Environment
  •  Vibrant and Activated Public Places
  •  A Caring and Inclusive Community
  •  A Liveable and Distinctive Built Environment
  •  A Smart and Innovative City
  •  Open and Collaborative Leadership

This planning strategy has assisted in the delivery of a City Revitalisation Program that has encouraged a large investment in the City by both Government and private investors that are willing to prove that Newcastle is ready for change.   

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