Things to do

9 Vivid Music events under $30 (and lots of freebies)

From soul to slam, barbershops to corner pubs, cheap nights rock.


Vivid isn't all about the epic, the luminescent and the glitterati. If you want to dig into the underground cool of Sydney (and avoid the mega crowds), take yourself to one of these gigs.

1\. Women in Music Salon Sessions @ Ziggy's Barbershop

Recline in an ultra comfy barber shop chair (yep, you're allowed) while drinking up music from some of Sydney's most talented female performers. The Women in Music Salon Sessions hosts performers as varied as popsmith Lupa J to crooner Abby Dobson, so every taste is accounted for. From $25.

2\. Extra Silky Extravaganza @ Freda's

Pick up hair styling tips and have a boogie thanks to the folks at Extra Silky, who put on events that combine music, self-care, and visual art. $20.

3\. Homage to Hollywood @ Hollywood Hotel

If cabaret and showgirl wit is your wheelhouse, sashay in to the velvet bosom of the Hollywood Hotel for a dazzling tribute to the Doris Goddard, the pub's legendary 89-year-old owner. $22.91.

4\. Godlands @ Oxford Art Factory

Turbo-charged dirty beats and fractured bluster your thing? Check out trap superstar Godlands and raise sweaty hell on the dance floor. $18.25.

5\. Light Qualities @ St. Stephen's Uniting Church

St. Stephen's is a particularly cool venue in which to soak in an experimental performance. If you're intrigued by what sounds and scapes Sydney's emerging composers are crafting – euphoniums, electro acoustics, quartets and audio visual works included – take a pew. Free.

6\. Funk da Bass @ Venue 505

Witness the future of bluesy experimental soul wrought in fire and fury with a set from saxophonist and guitarist Bella Fiorentino. $15.

7\. Sound and Sense @ East Sydney Community Arts Centre

A thrilling, distinctly scuzzy combination of poetry, art, performance and music, Sound and Sense sees boundary pushers The Flying Nun rattle preconceived notions of what a night out in Sydney can be. $20.

8\. Goldheist @ The Vanguard

Imagine Kate Bush meets Debussy and you're somewhere close to the music of Goldheist. Refuel your soul with this voice of liquid gold. $11.

9\. TOO RAD @ The Potts Point Hotel

Riff on the flows of 3 artists shaking-up the Australian hip hop scene right now - Jesswar, Miss Blanks and Tasman Keith. From $17.67.

Free! Free! Free!

Splurge account looking particularly bare? It's possible to do Vivid well without spending at all. There's free music nights at The Dock, an intimate Redfern hideaway; rollicking weekend parties at the Kings Cross Hotel; a shizz array of banging nights at Harpoon Harrys; and a whole heap of soul, folk and pop gigs going down in the inviting confines of The Soda Factory. You won't regret getting out.

For more live music talent hitting small clubs and pubs, check out the full Vivid Music in our villages program.

All of these gigs are part of Vivid X|Celerate, a partnership between the City of Sydney and the NSW Government. The City provides cash support to small, local venues to enable them to curate, promote and market their own live music programs.

#VividMusic #SydneyLocal

Published 21 May 2019, updated 28 February 2024