For something that is supposed to keep music confined to one person, the Big Headphones in Newcastle do a terrible job! Created to promote local music and bring people together to listen to live artists, The Headphone Project is becoming a cultural icon in the Newcastle area.
Music in Newcastle
Newcastle usually plays second fiddle to their southern neighbours in Sydney, but the city has been a breeding ground for many great Aussie musicians. Silverchair was massive in the 1990s, and everyone can recognise Anthem for the Year 2000 with it’s simple an impactful drum beat, sci-fi intro and music video featuring the future-brutalist MLC Centre.
The Last Kinection are hip-hop trio of Indigenous Australians. Their lyrics are heavily influenced by political sentiments held by many indigenous people. They have a powerful and creative rendition of the classic Aussie song, I Still Call Australia Home. If you are just looking for a cool beat, check out Find A Way.
While Silverchair was dominating the rock scene and The Last Kinection in hip-hop; Charli (Delaney) Robinson was entertaining children as a founding member of Hi-5, and Tiffani Wood took on the pop scene as a founding member of girl-group, Bardot. Screaming Jets produced a few Aussie classics like Better and Catherine Britt has become a successful country artist in the US.
To any Novocastrians reading this: what is your favourite local artist? Anyone up and coming we should look up? Are you in a band? Comment below!
The Headphone Project
Don’t just stand and look at them, walk between the ear pieces, you will be pleasantly surprised. Motion sensors pick up when you are near and music is played through the ear pieces. This makes it one of the few functional “Big Things” in Australia. What you hear is a local artist who have submitted their music to the Headphone Project.
Artists can even plug-in and play their music live. The headphones become a PA, how awesome is that? It becomes a real community event when people gather to support a local artist in a free street concert. Follow this Facebook page for upcoming bookings.
The Headphones provide a place for local and emerging artists to promote their music. Best of all, this promotion is free! Artists are often faced with financial struggles before they get their payday, especially when creating their own original work which might not have an audience. This is a fantastic way for artists to promote and test their music at a time where cash doesn’t always flow.
It is run completely by volunteers, so the only reason the headphones exist is to make Newcastle a better place to live.
Experience the headphones
The headphones are located on 90/96 Darby Street, Cooks Hill. It’s about 10-15 walk from Newcastle Museum and Queens Wharf. For piped music, it’s always open, just walk through. Live music usually happens on the weekend, but not every weekend so double check Facebook to see if anyone is booked. Maybe you want to perform your own music? Because that will be awesome! Contact the organisers on the same Facebook page. Break a leg! (Send me video it or didn’t happen 😉)