It was a celebration of Newtown’s finest, as the Keep Newtown Safe and Weird festival rolled into King Street in April. Now in its third year, the event is a freaky street party spreading love in defiance of gentrification and homophobia. The weirdness and queerness of Inner West community members was reflected in an eclectic parade which marched from King Street to Sydney Park. “It’s a reminder that the city is meant for everybody,” said Blair Bennie, from Reclaim the Streets.
Featuring bands, DJs, and a fashion show, the march of music and mirth was a display of the area’s wackiest and best dressed. “This year we’re also making a pilgrimage to the St George, that was graffitied over by homophobes after last year’s plebiscite, and will chalk it messages of love,” organisers said. The festival is a direct response to the bullying, harassment, and beatings on Inner West streets, reasserting Newtown’s special identity as a treasured communities of “queers, weirdos, freaks, hippies, goths, punks, ferals, migrants and everyone else who doesn’t fit in elsewhere.”