Emerge Festival 2020 returns to Willoughby (in a COVID-safe way)


The Emerge Festival 2020 will run on the North Shore through spring from 1 September – 11 October, with a collection of colourful and creative COVID-safe community events to celebrate the emergence of the season.

This year’s festival features a series of smaller events including art exhibitions, workshops, food and drink, outdoor activities, digital events and plenty for the kids.

Willoughby City Council Mayor Gail Giles-Gidney said that while the larger events cannot take place, this year’s festival is your opportunity to discover the hidden gems on the Lower North Shore and to support local businesses and community groups.

“Emerge Festival is a time when the north shore comes alive and emerges from winter to enjoy the sunshine and outdoor activities and discover new groups and activities,” Mayor Giles-Gidney said.

“In these difficult and uncertain times, it’s all the more important for us to support local and I’m delighted that the Emerge Festival is providing the opportunity to do just that.”

Emerge Festival 2020: Highlights

  • Enjoy connecting with nature in a guided torchlight bush walk, pre schoolers bush scramble and orienteering taster sessions
  • Events for the body and soul include guided meditation, a health and wellness day and ageless Taekwondo
  • Food and drink lovers will delight in a virtual steak and Shiraz barbeque class, cask conditioned real ale festival and gin distillery tour
  • Kids can learn new skills in music, coding and baseball workshops
  • Culture vultures will enjoy exhibitions, films and ceramics classes
  • Other exciting events for children include STEM school holidays camps, family days, martial arts and a cultural celebration day
  • The popular Pet Festival has gone digital this year too!

Sponsored by Beyond Bank with media sponsors North Shore Mums, Northside Radio and Australian Chinese Daily, the Emerge Festival is a collaboration between Willoughby City Council, artists, organisations, local businesses and community groups.

Willoughby City Council is working with event organisers to ensure events are COVID-safe.

Emerge Festival: Events for kids & families

Come and Try Orienteering

Emerge 2020

There are four courses to choose from, catering for everyone, or simply drop in throughout the morning.

Explore the stunning environment of Willoughby City by trying orienteering, a navigation sport for all ages and fitness levels.

Orienteering combines a love of the outdoors with the challenge of finding your way with a map and compass .Come on your own or in a group. Starting at Willoughby Leisure Centre, there are four courses to choose from, catering for everyone. Drop in throughout the morning.

  • When: Saturday 19 September, 9am-12midday
  • Where: Willoughby Leisure Centre
  • Cost: $15 for adults and $12 for school students
  • More information

Preschoolers’ September Bush Scramble

Bush fairy

Your little explorer will love searching in all corners of this pretty park

Meet Patsy the Park fairy and help her look after the new spring babies. Children need a hat, drink and snack.

  • When: Thursday 24 September | 10am – 11.30am
  • Where: Muston Park, Eden Street, Chatswood
  • Cost: Free
  • More information

Creative Sounds Studio Open Day

Creative Sounds Workshop

Creative Sounds Studio Open Day will give you the spotlight at Emerge 2020

Unleash your inner performer with free music lessons in a special open day at Creative Studios in Willoughby.

Try playing the guitar, bass, keys and drums or vocals with expert coaches – all ages and ability levels are welcome! Creative Sounds is a music school that emphasises creative expression and personal connection through music.

  • When: Saturday 26 September 2020 | 9am-15pm
  • Location: Creative Sounds Studios, 128B Mowbray Road, Willoughby
  • Cost: Free
  • More information: Creative Sounds

Globalart Australia Art Exhibition and Activities

global art

Globalart Australia is an exhibition and lesson in one, where kids make small colourful pieces

Children are invited to visit Globalart at their Chatswood Studio to make a small handicraft, enjoy an exhibition of children’s artworks and take part in a free trial drawing lesson..

  • When: Sunday 27 September, 4 & 11 October | 10am – 4pm
  • Location: Globalart, Suite 1 430 Victoria Ave, Chatswood
  • Cost: Free, but bookings required
  • More information

Moonlight River Spotlight Walk

Moonlight Spotlight River Walk

Look out for shining eyes and silent swooping from above. Bring a torch to spot critters!

Look out for nocturnal activity while walking alongside the Lane Cove River at night.

Bring a torch and meet in the Rotary Athletic Field car park, western end of Mowbray Road, Lane Cove West.

Note: this activity is only suitable for children 8 years and up. You will need to walk up some steep bush stairs.

  • When: Friday 11 September | 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm
  • Location: Meet in the Rotary Athletic Field car park, western end of Mowbray Road, Lane Cove West.
  • Cost: Free
  • More information: Moonlight Spotlight River Walk

Emerge Festival: Events for adults

Health and Wellbeing Open Day

Try Reformer Pilates, circuit training, Yoga, and Barr, plus healthy cooking workshops

Experience a day of fitness and wellbeing at a special open day hosted by the Leap Health and Wellbeing studio in Chatswood.

Enjoy 15-minute mini classes in Reformer Pilates, circuit training, Yoga, and Barre.  Have a 10-minute consultation with accredited Exercise Physiologists and take part in 30-minute nutrition and healthy cooking workshops and a 30-minute health and wellness seminar.

This event is organised by Leap Health and Wellbeing. Leap Health & Wellbeing is registered as a COVID safe business.

  • When: Saturday 19 September, 2pm-4pm
  • Location: Leap Health and Wellbeing Studio, Ground Floor, Tower A, 799 Pacific Highway, Chatswood 2067
  • Cost: $5
  • More information

Finders Distillery tour and tasting

Discover something new or find comfort in tradition with our take on the classics at the distillery

Discover Finders, the North Shores newest distillery, and enjoy a tour and tasting event.

Learn about the history of gin, how spirits are made, and how Finders’ products are made. Finish off with a tasting session carried out in the Finders working distillery right here in St Leonards, Sydney.

  • When: Saturdays at 1pm, from 5 September – 10 October.
  • Location: Finders Distillery, 12/6 Herbert Street, St Leonards 2065
  • Cost: $30. Book tour

Cask Conditioned Real Ale Festival

Emerge Festival 2020

Drink up! This is traditional English ale, from the way it is made, the ingredients and packaging

Join the Flat Rock Brew Café’s Cask Conditioned Real Ale Festival to experience their range of English style ales served direct from the cask!

Brewed onsite, the beer is cask conditioned and therefore classified as real ale – a term used for beer that is not forced carbonated as most modern beers are. This is traditional English ale, from the way it is made, the ingredients and packaging used.

  • When: Saturday 12 September 12-6pm
  • Location: 290 Willoughby Road Naremburn NSW 2065
  • Cost: Free More details

Steak and Shiraz – Live Streamed BBQ Cooking Class

Emerge Festival Willoughby 2020

The class is focused on getting the most out of your BBQ and skills to achieve the perfect steak

Join BBQ School for a “Steak and Shiraz” class, designed to provide confidence when cooking, grilling or smoking the perfect steak.

Appropriate to all cooking levels. The class is focused on getting the most out of your BBQ and gaining all the skills to achieve the ultimate dish – the perfect steak. Make “to die for” Red Wine Jus and learn to appreciate the importance of serving the right wine.

Introduction to handmade pottery

This Introduction to handmade pottery can be the start of a new passion for pottery!

Visit this delightful open studio specialising in exquisite hand-made Japanese ceramics to try your hand at making your own pottery in classes for all levels. No experience necessary. Just come and enjoy a discovering new appreciation for handmade craft.

  • When: Daily from 3 September, Thursday – Sundays
  • Location: Ceramic Studio En, 28 Elizabeth Street, Artarmon 2064
  • Cost:  $50 and to book call 0423 393 726
  • More information


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