Reviewed on Saturday February 24 (photo by George Gittany)

The residents, businesses and musicians of Parramatta came together on Saturday for a fantastic community event with the purpose of proving to the higher political powers – and indeed Sydney residents at large – that live music will never wilt in the face of the lockout laws. Live And Local Parramatta set out to showcase a diverse range of Western Sydney artists across mixed-use venues in the CBD, ranging from the conventional – like restaurants and bars – to less traditional spaces, such as boutiques and salons.

An afternoon of varied entertainment kicked off in Centenary Square with a performance by the Live And Local Choir, a group specially formed for the occasion and led by The Voice star Darren Percival. With great enthusiasm, Percival and his choir engaged the gathering crowds in a round of song, triggering a pattern of interaction and fun that would be found in the city for the rest of the day.

Live And Local’s concentrated venues made it very easy to walk from one to another, and to catch the many different styles of music and performances on offer. If you were leaving Jamie’s Italian after the wonderful (and the day’s standout) blues rock performance from Simon Meli, and heading to the University of New England campus for an electric performance of keys and vocals from The Sons Of Fitzrovia, you were likely to soak up a few other performances along the way, unable to avoid the steamy Latin swing of Son De Caña at Coco Cubano, or the titillating oom-pa-pa of The Glorious Sousaphonics as they roamed Church Street.

Though the weather was at times unpleasant, the sun could have been shining for all the excitement and joy felt throughout the afternoon. Parramatta’s Live And Local initiative demonstrated a great strength of community and revealed an eclectic mix of musical talent in Western Sydney that will surely set a precedent for other such (and much-needed) events in locations right across greater Sydney.

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