COOKING ON SATURDAY'S
It's rare to get summer weather a week out from June. Even rarer to be able to party to rhythmic house and techno in the outdoors on the banks of the Cooks River in inner Sydney. And that's exactly what happened on Saturday.
It was the third instalment of COOK'D. A now monthly daytime-rolling-into-the-evening event put on by All Talk, a group of Sydney DJ's, Travis Lavdaras, Ben Green, Nick Aguirre and Pat Turbit. They not only brought the music, but also VB tinnies and sausage rolls which all were welcome to for a small donation placed into the unlocked, and mostly unaccompanied wooden money box. A system of mutual trust upheld by all.
The speakers started early in afternoon and carried on well after the sun fell and turned the clouds in the sky a rustic pink. Some boogied on the pebble dance floor inside the arch of the pipeline bridge. Others reclined on the hill behind basking in the sun. Others still threw frisbees in groups which sometimes soared astray, striking passers by. A few sore heads, but no hard feelings. What was constant was the ongoing, energetic pulse of kick drums, high hats and synths mixed by Trav, Ben, Nick and Pat throughout the day and night.
Finding that music in Sydney isn't difficult. Across the city are numerous venues that cater to those like us with a burning need to dance to four to the floor tech house. What makes COOK'D different is that it takes that music out of dark, smoky clubs into a beautiful public space for all to enjoy. On a fundamental level, all that was happening was groups of friends gathering on a Saturday afternoon to listen to great music in the great outdoors. The great outdoors in a city context, at least. Most there knew of the event already, but there were many walkers, cyclists, kids, mums and dads who stopped as they were passing by to see what was happening and join in.
And this is exactly what Sydney and other cities around the world need in order to make them alive – a creative use of public, suburban space. It was a day of great music shared with great company, but it was only these things because of the way the space – that would otherwise be an empty, unused dingy patch of grass – was used.
The VIVID lights will illuminate the CBD for the next eighteen days and transform the harbour and it's buildings every night into a visual three-dimensional spectacular. It's an event that's developed greatly and done wonders for the City of Sydney since it began in 2009. It was named as Australia's Event of the Year in 2013 and contributed $20 million into NSW's economy. Like COOK'D, VIVID is also a creative use of public space.
The difference between the two lay in scale. VIVID is macro. COOK'D, micro. Sydney is abound throughout the year with macro creative events, but it is micro ones found in public domains which we lack. And this is significant, for ongoing, micro creative events like COOK'D compliment the annual macro ones like VIVID. How? Because they're a reminder – a much more intimate and constant one – that we live in a city that's supportive of creativity.
To be clear, we do live in a very creative city – both in a macro and micro sense – already, but most is cooped up inside the walls of galleries, clubs and theatres. We need more of it in public spaces. Not only does it make the city funner for all, but it makes city residents much more aware and engaged with their urban environment.
Anyway, regardless of that, who doesn't want more days where they're able to dance and listen to music in the open with friends? Be sure that there'll soon be another COOK'D to come.
By Drew Rooke