Sydneyvision Song Contest is back for 2017. For those who don’t know it, what’s the concept?

It’s a music video contest where all entries have to refer to a Sydney suburb in the lyrics. The original motivation for creating Sydneyvision was that the Europeans had been beaming the Eurovision Song Contest at the rest of the world for over 50 years and no one had answered back. We thought Sydney, with its 500-600 suburbs, could outdo the paltry 50 countries of Europe. And it has certainly done that, covering everything from stop-action figurines of The Beatles wandering through Glebe to a science-fiction entry of aliens descending on Luna Park.

What makes this year’s contest the biggest yet?

Infinity! What could be bigger than that? Each year, we have a required element to the videos. In Sydneyvision’s first years, we were closely rivalling Eurovision cheesiness and tackiness: all videos had someone shamelessly winking at the camera or wearing sequins. This year we’re going profound and requiring a representation of the concept of infinity. This is open to wide interpretation – an allusion to the ego of Donald Trump, a graph of the curve of Sydney rental prices, the number pi stuck on the bass player’s T-shirt. It is up to the video maker.

How are the entries judged?

We get a panel of judges from different disciplines – music industry, filmmaking and journalism – and ask them to rate the songs in the Eurovision “Douze-points-pour-Burwood” style and we compile the results. The judges aren’t given a brief. They go with the song that works for them, whether polished professional or wildly enthusiastic amateur.

What is it about Sydney that lends itself so well to creativity?

First, it is the diversity and depth of the talent out there. Secondly, it is the willingness of Sydneysiders to give it a go. I always have a soft spot for the extras; the friends of the video makers persuaded, begged, bribed into helping out with the entries, sometimes in embarrassing costumes in very public places. Sydneyvision taps into the affinity we have with our own neighbourhoods. Whether you are from Croydon or Killarney Heights, there is something about your suburb to sing about.

When will the winner be announced?

The winner is announced on the night of the Grand Final, Wednesday August 16 at the Dendy Opera Quays. ■

[Dweeb City, 2016 Sydneyvision winners: photo by Diana Shypula/Prema Photo]

Sydneyvision Song Contest 2017 entries now open until Thursday July 20. For more info head to newtowncentre.org.

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