By Jacob Pumphrey.
When we landed in Sydney on Saturday afternoon the weather was terrible, cold, windy, sad and grey. Waking up Sunday morning, King Street was a completely different scene. Newtown was dressed in its Sunday best as we walked through those pain in the ass small streets - that I will never for the life of me understand why you would ever own a car if you lived on - and everything was looking pretty quiet.
The quiet did not last long – Pist Idiots rolled into our new shop (spoiler, 212 King Street Newtown will soon be the place to hang) around 11am for soundcheck and immediately what felt like every shop owner’s head snapped around at breakneck speed. Luckily for us a brief chat the day before with the owners (and very dangerously, our new neighbours) of Newtown’s iconic Clem’s Chicken shop – a simple smile, head nod, and a thumbs up later it turns out this was something they were all expecting. Our first ever King Street Crawl Pop-Up show was in full swing by 12:30pm and the punters wasted no time trying to put as sizeable a dent as possible into the free alcohol. After a solid run of crowd favourites, some half rehearsed iconic covers and a narrow brush with the boys in blue, we figured it was time to call it quits as it was clear no run of charming fast talk was going to save us a second time.
With our first (and possibly the first?) event of the day done dusted it was onto the next one. We kicked everyone out the doors and down King Street to Kelly’s. This was my first time in the Irish pub but what seemed like a nice wholesome time escalated very quickly until I was mid-set staring at the back of our singer’s head trying to pinpoint just where the blood was coming from – he was ok, I think, I mean I helped him get ice on it and that generally fixes those things. I don’t know if the guys from Psyched As did it intentionally or completely by accident but it did seem to me that Brad and Millsy had set out to book just about every rowdy band and fan combo they possibly could. As the windows in the venue fogged for the 5th time that day, 100 took to them to tag their name across them and instantly wipe from history the 4 bands before them. The condensation had almost subsided when Shady Nasty kicked off and the venue packed out to the back – with all of the hype around these guys it was clear the inner west might have a new crowd favourite, people scrambled to the tops of tables and chairs to get a better vantage point and the crowd didn’t stop moving for the next half an hour. The completion of this set seemed to mark the culmination of the day and for a few hours following it seemed that almost everybody we knew went their own separate ways, meeting back up just in time to realise that every venue was closed and we should probably accept our fate.
King Street Crawl has definitely earned its title as one of the best free festivals in Sydney and, to be honest, it is well and truly deserved. I can’t really think of too many others in the country, so maybe they can just have that, too? There you have it, “King Street Crawl = best free music festival in the country” – as stated by 1st-time attendee with limited other free festival experience.