As if Sydney’s live music industry needed another hurdle to leap over, we are now in the era of Covid-19, where going out to live shows is now a serious health risk. In 2020, artists and creatives are having to innovate to survive. Sometimes, though, out of immense disruptions come some pretty great initiatives.

What was meant to be Surry Hills Live – a coalition of venues, artists, promoters and filmmakers collaborating to drive attendance at live music venues – is now Surry Hills Live Streaming. It’s the same idea, local creatives getting together and bringing musicians into local venues for a unique live experience. But now it’s all online.

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The streaming series has already showcased the likes of local legends Andy Golledge and Caitlin Harnett, Jesse Redwing and Sloan Peterson, and August Auzins – with many more in the works.

Surry Hills Live Streaming is a partnership between the non-profit Music For Trees, the Surry Hill Creative Precinct and local production company JJ Splice. Streaming on Facebook, isolated folks can get a live music experience without leaving their living rooms.

“When the COVID-19 crisis hit, we pivoted our small council-funded live music promotion project into a full-scale weekly live streaming initiative – and the response has been huge. Our streams have entertained more than 10,000 people – in just 3 weeks,” said Dean Francis of JJ Splice.

To keep the music going for as long as possible the team has started a Go Fund Me, to keep the artists and crew paid and delivering live shows weekly to everyone stuck at home.

“The best thing about moving to streaming would have to be the love and enthusiasm coming from the audience via comments and social interaction,” said Dean.

“It’s a space where everyone can “talk” silently in the background without missing the music – and it’s a lot of fun! Plus we get to work with local musicians who find themselves in different parts of the world – last week we had a set from Ray Mann all the way from Berlin!”

Australian musicians have a proud track record not only of connecting local communities but also working to promote global causes, especially climate change. A portion of proceeds from Music For Trees events goes to LandCare and helps trees get planted around the world.

“The world needs more trees, music builds communities and communities make things happen” says Rob, founder of Music For Trees.

More than ever we are being forced to adapt to new ways of living. Surry Hills Live won’t be online forever. The goal is to get people back into Surry Hills pubs and music venues for true live music experiences once this lockdown is a thing of the past. But for now, every Thursday at 7:30pm you can enjoy the best local musical talent streamed straight to your living room.


The Surry Hills Live initiative, co-funded by the City of Sydney, will produce weekly shareable documentary content to add momentum to Surry Hills’ new wave of live music.

Join the action at Surry Hills Live Facebook page and Instagram page.