Mobile protest-ival Reclaim The Streets returned to Sydney today, embarking on an epic journey from Town Hall to The Star in protest of the NSW State Government’s Lockouts Laws and Mike Baird‘s ongoing support of them.
Following on from the group’s previous events last year in September and December as well as the recent rally held by Keep Sydney Open, the crowd were not only excited to be making their voices heard, they were having a good old time doing it.
Whereas many protests can get bogged down in lengthy speeches, expert testimonies and invested parties being trotted out to deliver the same frightening and depressing facts, Reclaim The Streets felt like a loved-up running of the bulls. Excepts the bulls were slow-moving and somewhat unwieldy mobile DJ set ups.
A wide range of Sydney’s party crews and promoters were present including Stereogamus, Pelvis, Vibe Positive and some dudes pumping some serious gabba, as well as many more. Stoney Roads also fielded a float of priest-robed DJs, while former Strathfield Councillor and Sydney”s beacon of love and joy Danny Lim lead the march/dance from the front.
The sheer variety of music on offer across the march was one of the most inspiring parts. From deep house bangers to world music, to hard style and trance, r&b and hop and mainstream pop, walking from the front to the back there was something for everyone.
Standing on the corner of Liverpool St and watching the sound-systems come past one after the other, each with their own devoted following of dancers, hands in the air and cheering, it felt like a Mardi Gras for Sydney’s dance music community. More than anything else, it was an act – not just of defiance – to a city shutting them out, but an act of sheer joy in getting to shut down the streets and do what they love.
Don’t get me wrong though, there was still plenty of protest in this protest-ival. There were all the good staples: a speech at the start, some great chanting (“Mike Baird’s a wanker!” was my fave) and of course some grade-A signs and slogans.
For instance, there were your classic song references:
There were the obligatory puns and plays-on-words of course:
(Some of them were pretty shitty to be honest:)
Dancing their way through Darling Harbour and right to The Star, things ended with a laugh and then a dance after the massive fake turd from above was placed atop the sign for The Star, with a banner reading “Star Shitty” held up in front of it.
Whoever said reasoned political debate is dead in this country?
Everyone then wheeled their rolling rave stations up the road for one last cacophonous dance, with all the sound-systems firing off against each other, leaving just enough room so you could have a kind of 360 degree rave experience.
Surround rave. It was epic.
More than just a good time though, Reclaim The Streets was a show of strength by Sydney’s nightlife community, and what better way to do that than by exercising our rights to party in the streets. Such exercise will be necessary if we are to have the strength to win the fight against the Lockout Laws after all, but if it’s this much fun, I for one am happy to work up a sweat.
Gallery: Reclaim The Streets Rally – Sydney 2016 / Photos By Brandon Matich