Meet the minds behind Go Here Go There, a multi-venue festival coming to Kings Cross

As any Sydneysider will agree, Kings Cross has been through its fair share of hard knocks lately. Yet that hasn’t stopped the precinct from flourishing, and today the Cross hosts some of the best food drink, and nighttime events in all of Sydney.

One such event is Go Here Go There, a music takeover of five iconic Kings Cross venues on October 20th. Featuring talent the likes of Bad // Dreems, Mezko and Moaning Lisa, it’s set to be the kind of invigorating live event that the suburb has long been synonymous with.

Ahead of the festival, we spoke to Steve Ward from The World Bar and Chris Williams from Canvas Events to find out what’s in store.

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Heading to Go Here Go There, the newest multi-venue festival hitting Kings Cross this October? Meet Chris and Steve, two of the legends making it happen.

HAPPY: Hey, how’s it going? What are you up to at the moment?

STEVE: We’re working hard pulling everything together, no one’s panicked yet.

CHRIS: Things are always quite hectic around the Cross – as an entertainment precinct there is always something happening adding to our already busy ‘business as usual’ weekly events. At the moment it’s the Sydney Fringe Festival – so much creative talent in this town!

HAPPY: I imagine that organising a multi-venue festival would be pretty stressful. How’s it all coming together?

CHRIS: It’s actually working surprisingly smoothly at the moment! I think we had all the hard lessons last year when we did the initial Meet Me In The Cross event – it became clear pretty quickly that the awesome collaborative festival culture we strive for starts with the festival management team and flows through the event. We’ve learned from difficult experience to weed out the non team players at the start! This collective programming and marketing effort is not something that suits everyone, but we know now who the right people are, and from there things tend to flow in the same direction!

STEVE: Slowly, but it’s gathering pace, everyone’s been super positive and really generous with their time and resources which has made it so much easier.

HAPPY: Kings Cross went through a bit of a rough period post-lockout laws. Do you feel like the area has recovered from that blow yet? Or is there still regrowing to do?

STEVE: Yeah, the Cross has been given a pretty big shake up, but we’re starting to see new entrants coming back into the market and thriving. Chula, Flamingo Lounge, Honkas have all opened fairly recently and are seeing really good trade. The old guard have dusted themselves down and are throwing some awesome content out there.

CHRIS: Historically Kings Cross has shown to be remarkably resilient over time – there is something in the area’s unique DNA that sees green shoots of creativity springing up after every Government attempt to crush the artistic effort. If anything, post-lockout the local entertainment eco-system has evolved even stronger as artists and venue staff feed off the attempts at oppression and injustice to produce even better music, art, food, and beverage experiences for patrons. The short term, fly by night politicians and regulatory authorities tend to only stick around for a few years at a time before they get exposed and removed by the system checks and balances, but the underlying landscape of ever changing music, art and culture we produce in Kings Cross will be here forever! There always was and always will be regrowth in what we do though, and this current period is no different.

HAPPY: Kings Cross definitely seems to have a different vibe now than it did a couple of years ago. How do you think The Cross has changed in the past couple of years, and do you think it has been for the better?

CHRIS: Time is the best judge of change of course, and one of the key observations we all are aware of is the evolution of Kings Cross has happened at a much more rapid pace than has been seen in the past. We’ve probably gone through twenty years of gentrification in three years! When a lot of these recent high density residential developments are completed in coming months, there will be thousands more young people living in the area, and this is a great new market for the night time economy we thrive in.

As Go Here Go There demonstrates, there are an incredible amount of intimate venues still around Kings Cross – for this festival we are programming over a dozen 200+ person rooms across five venues – most of which have decades of music heritage, and plenty more memories to come. We’ll leave it to the people who come out and get amongst it to judge whether it is for the better or not, but we are pretty excited by the proposition – you’d still be hard pressed to find any precinct in Australia with so much to offer by the way of venue space, and the creative community who embrace this space are as good as any on this planet in our views!

STEVE: The issues have certainly moved elsewhere with the shift in city’s nightscape. Kings Cross is now regarded as one of the safest areas to go out in Sydney. What’s starting to emerge are the facets of the area that were masked before. Six boutique theatres with full programmes, many of Sydney’s hatted restaurants and a thriving small bar scene. Some of the current larger developments are all but finished so we’re seeing some positivity coming back into the area.

HAPPY: Was it difficult to get all these different venues on board for the festival? Or was everyone really keen to see it happen?

STEVE: Not hard at all. There’s a sense of camaraderie born of hard times and everyone jumped in with both feet.

CHRIS: Everyone is pretty excited to be working together on such a great event. All the participating venues have been wanting to do more collaborative events for a while, and Kings Cross has such a cultural heritage that precinct marketing alongside individual venue or event marketing makes absolute sense. Managed in the right way, the entertainment value of the whole Kings Cross precinct will always be greater than the sum of the individual parts. The challenge has always been finding the natural owner of these efforts. If any individual venue looks to take the lead, there is always a perception of self interest or at least conflicted interests to address.

The big difference addressing this issue over recent years has been the City of Sydney backed Villages of Eastside Sydney Partnerships Association (VESPA) who are a collective of local business owners passionate about the area representing a membership base in the hundreds through Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Kings Cross and Woolloomooloo. They have stepped up to be the natural owner of these efforts and are doing a great job so far given their resource constraints – in this case they have set up the festival team to include key people from all the venues and it is working really well.

HAPPY: You’ve roped together a really great lineup… are there any particular acts you’re really looking forward to?

CHRIS: We won’t single out any individual act because the array of talent across the precinct is incredible – as with most events of this nature you need to make clones of yourself to be in front of three stages at once! What is even better here is we are seeing some acts that would usually only be playing at thousand person plus stages around Australia bringing a set into an awesome intimate setting with the smaller rooms we have around Kings Cross, that is such a unique experience and we’re really looking forward to this. People are still talking about some of those sets from Meet Me In The Cross last year, those memories will be with us forever and have gone down in Kings Cross music history – and there will be more of the same on October 20.

HAPPY: For people heading out to The Cross who aren’t familiar with the area, can you recommend the best spots to grab a feed?

STEVE: We’re lucky we’re pretty well looked after by some awesome grab and go joints plus some superb dining outfits. Thirsty Bird do miracles with chicken, Frigattoria for Roman street food, Harajuku Gyoza are a favourite to grab a few beers and gyoza. Potts Point Hotel have a mean smokehouse kitchen and the Kings Cross Hotel deliver every time with their casual menu. If you’re really serious then drop down Macleay Street where you’ll find Apollo, Cho Cho San, Paper Bird, Monopole and Yellow House. Llankelly Place has some great restaurants and is always a vibe.

CHRIS: We have a few of our favourite eating venues like Thirsty Bird coming on board the festival support, where you can show your wristband for great deals. We’ll be announcing a complete list in coming weeks so stay tuned, needless to say there will be some great options.

HAPPY: It may be thinking ahead… but are there plans yet for a Go Here Go There 2019?

STEVE: Yes. One step at a time though!

CHRIS: It’s looking pretty good – the resilience of music in Kings Cross will live to fight another day! We are already seeing some great parties that have been forced underground to the warehouses of the suburbs over recent years emerge back into the venues as organisers recognise the benefits a dedicated entertainment precinct has to offer, and it would be fair to say a 2019 event will feature a few of these great parties alongside some established headliners who love getting amongst it at the grass roots level from time to time in such an iconic location.


Go Here Go There Festival takes place on Saturday 20 October across multiple Kings Cross venues. Check out the music lineup below, and head to the festival website for more details.


Alex Dyson
Bad Deep DJs
Bad // Dreems (DJ set)
Coda Conduct
DJ Frank “Dr Rock” Cotterell
Ebony Boadu
Jesse Redwing
Moaning Lisa
Mowgli May

Grab your tickets here.