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Friends partying | Image: Drew Farwell

‘DuskDown’: Reason Behind NSW Government’s Bizarre New Districts Revealed

Break out the party hats. Sydney’s night scene is about to go from good to “why am I seeing the sunrise from this side again?” level of extraordinary, courtesy of the NSW Government’s newly announced Uptown Grant Program.

Related: Sydney’s Grand Delay: Town Hall Square Pushed to the 2030s

Bartender pouring a cocktail | Image: Stanislav Ivanitskiy
Bartender pouring a cocktail | Image: Stanislav Ivanitskiy

Twenty-one precincts across Greater Sydney are set to receive up to a whopping AUD$200,000. This massive funding boost aims to inject vitality into the city’s night-time economy, allowing business owners and creatives to transform their visions into tangible precincts with their own distinct offerings.

In the wise words of Minister for Music and the Night-time Economy John Graham, this is an “exciting opportunity” for groups to create well-known precincts for locals and tourists to revel in.

Picture this: An evening stroll through Koreatown in Eastwood, savouring kimchi and Bulgogi BBQ, before you pivot to the vibrant hues of Darlinghurst’s LGBTQIA+ Rainbow District. Then, you might fancy a sonic adventure through the budding music and youth culture scene in Blacktown. Imagine the buzz of the arts district in Brookvale and the rainbow of experiences waiting at every neon-lit corner. 

Restaurant interior | Image: Carson Masterson
Image: Carson Masterson

Each district boasts a unique vibe, from a posh wine bar in Paddington’s Paddo Collective to a riveting live performance in the heart of the Chippendale Collective, every bit as diverse and dynamic as Sydney itself.

But that’s not all, gents. The Uptown Grant Program comes off the back of the successful Uptown Accelerator, which saw over two dozen district teams participate in capability and vision-building workshops. And, as NSW 24-Hour Economy Commissioner Michael Rodrigues enthused, these grants empower districts to bring their visions to life and “deliver brilliant experiences that celebrate what’s best about their community.”

Musician playing onstage | Image: Sam Moghadam Khamseh
Image: Sam Moghadam Khamseh

Consider it a step up from your usual night out. It’s Sydney turning up the dial on its 24-hour economy strategy, encouraging collaboration, branding, and storytelling within districts. The Uptown Accelerator program is also back for another run in 2023, offering an expanded eight-week series of workshops scheduled from August to October.

Who benefits? Just about everyone who loves a good time. The initiative encourages partnerships between businesses, which is a tried-and-tested way of attracting more locals and tourists. It’s a win-win situation, opening up new revenue streams while offering Sydneysiders and tourists a diverse range of unforgettable nocturnal adventures.

Nighclub | Image: Aleksandr Popov
Image: Aleksandr Popov

Each district team includes local businesses from various sectors, such as arts and culture, accommodation, hospitality, retail, live performance, tourism, and sport. From the Haymarket Precinct to the Green² at Green Square, the scope is as vast as it is varied. 

Check out the full list of the 21 recipients of the Uptown Grant Program below:

  1. Balmain Rozelle
  2. Brookvale Arts District (BAD)
  3. Chippendale Collective
  4. Eddy (Central Station and Eddy Avenue Precinct, Sydney) 
  5. Green² (Green Square) 
  6. Haymarket Precinct 
  7. HQ Sydney (Hollywood Quarter Sydney – Precinct of Commonwealth, Campbell and Wentworth Streets, Surry Hills) 
  8. KXQ (King’s Cross Quarter, Kings Cross) 
  9. Koreatown (Eastwood) 
  10. Paddo Collective (Paddington) 
  11. Stanley Street District (North Darlinghurst)
  12. YCK Laneways Association Inc (Sydney CBD) 
  13. Rainbow Precinct (Darlinghurst) 
  14. Pyrmont+Ultimo24/7 – Powered by Pyrmont Ultimo Chamber of Commerce (Pyrmont, Ultimo) 
  15. UpTown Sydney CBD 
  16. Walsh Bay Arts Precinct 
  17. 2077 A.D. – Hornsby After Dark 
  18. DuskDown (Freshwater) 
  19. New Sydney Waterfront Company District Team (Sydney Harbour) 
  20. Little India Harris Park Business Association Inc (Harris Park)
  21. The Gathering (Blacktown)

So get ready, Sydney; nightlife is on the comeback. Here’s to vibrant nights and neon lights!