This November, the annual Newtown Festival will celebrate its 37th year. Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham of Newtown’s very own Mary’s along with Oscar McMahon and Richard Adamson of Young Henry’s will be taking the festival to a new level with their curation of the festival’s bars. We had a chat with the guys to find out more on what this year’s festival has in store for us. 

Newtown Festival
Photo credit: Kyle Ford

What is the Newtown Festival all about?

Newtown Festival is and has always been the major annual fundraiser for the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre. The NNC offers a range of vital services to the less fortunate or needy in our community. The Festival itself is a day when Newtownians come together to eat, drink, laze on the grass and enjoy the various sights and sounds on offer in our colourful little neck of the woods. These days there are two live music stages with all acts performing for free to help raise funds. Festival entry is still just a gold coin donation at the gate.

What are you most looking forward to for this year’s festival?

Last year saw an amazing amount of local businesses getting involved in the festival with the determination of making this day truly about what makes us all proud to be Newtowners. I think this year will see this extend even further. I’m looking forward to seeing a bunch of my friends there.

What is it that makes Newtown special?

Newtown is the chosen home for the open minded. It’s where we are allowed to be and to express how we feel and are. Newtown has an actual heart and a community that will stand for it and by it.

What can we expect from this year’s festival? Are there any new additions?

This year’s festival will see the second ever outing for The Newtown Locals Collective, a crew of local businesses that come together to collaborate on a food and beverage offering for charity. A true collective, members of different businesses pool their talents and resources and work together on a unique food menu for the festival. 

Expect to see familiar faces from Bloodwood, Hartsyard, Oscillate Wildly, Brewtown Newtown, Rising Sun Workshop, The Stinking Bishops, Blackstar Pastry, Earls, Old Town Newtown, 212 blu, Bach Eatery, The Courthouse hotel, Mary’s and Young Henry’s.

All proceeds from this year’s Newtown Locals section will be donated to the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre’s First Response Program, a frontline emergency response service that provides appropriate housing for people in our community who are at risk of becoming homeless, rehabilitation and detox programs. The Newtown Locals section of the festival is on the Lennox St side of the park and is sure to be a lot of fun.

Tell us a little about Mary’s and Young Henry’s.

Mary’s and Young Henry’s are two proudly Newtown businesses. Both businesses are passionate about good food and drink and using local products wherever possible.

Why did you decide to curate the bars this year?

The idea of us curating the bars came from Jake from Mary’s who really wanted to see the festival serving as many local products as possible and thought that within our networks we could pull together a really great local offering.

Could you give us a sneak peek into which bars will be at the event?

Wine writer Mike Bennie will be selling his charity wine; For the Dandy in the Clos, all sales of which go to the Sam Hughes Children’s Trust. There will also be beers from Willie the Boatman brewery in St Peter’s, Batch Brewing Co in Marrickville and Sparrow & Vine winemakers. Spirits, craft beers and ciders will be provided by Young Henry’s

Where is your favourite place to drink in Newtown (other than Mary’s and Young Henry’s of course!)?

There are so many great spots! The Courty, The Union, Earls, The Stinking Bishops, The Gretz, Corridor, Camperdown Park, Kingston public, the botany view, the Carlisle castle, the Continental, 212 Blu, The Midnight Special… I could go on

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Newtown has become synonomous with quality when it comes to the drink and dining scene. I’m pretty sure we’ll see that all through this years mighty Newtown Festival! 

Newtown Festival 1
Photo credit: Kyle Ford

After almost four decades, each better than the last, this year’s Newtown festival will be an unmissable event full of great music, beer and food. For only a gold coin donation you can take part in the fun on November 8 at Camperdown Memorial Rest Park. If you’d like to get more involved in the Newtownian community, volunteer applications are now open at

37th Annual Newtown Festival
Sunday 8 November 2015
Camperdown Memorial Rest Park
Phone: (02) 9564 7333



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