Mad Racket: A Joyous Celebration Of House Music At Vivid Sydney

  • Written by  Cooper Flick
  • Tuesday, 21 May 2019 16:40
Published in Music  
Mad Racket By The Harbourside takes place as part of Vivid Live (24 May). Mad Racket By The Harbourside takes place as part of Vivid Live (24 May).

One of Sydney’s biggest dance parties, Mad Racket returns this Friday (24 May) to the Sydney Opera House's Northern Boardwalk with massive performances from Chicago house legends Larry Heard (aka Mr Fingers) and Robert Owens.


After 20-plus years of partying, Mad Racket has cemented itself as an integral part of Sydney’s EDM scene, being the city’s longest running dance music institution.

Running in conjunction with Vivid Live's 2019 programme, Mad Racket By The Harbour is set to be 'mammoth open-air party'. “Outdoors... at the Opera House... when they turn the lights on, it will be a pretty special moment,” Simon Caldwell, one of the four founders of Mad Racket, says.

“We normally do our events at a bowls club in inner-west Sydney and now we’re getting the chance to do something much bigger. It should be a joyous celebration of house music and of two of the most amazing house musicians ever.”

Simon has spent his fair share of time working within the EDM scene, being a long-time DJ himself. For him, Mad Racket has evolved into something he never could have foreseen.

“When we first started [in 1998] we just wanted to put on a night where we just played the music we wanted and have a really nice sound system, and not worry about nightclub venue owners and other people interfering with a good night.

“We hadn’t envisioned what was going to be happening in 20 years.”

Simon isn’t ready to let go of the reigns anytime soon, but admits the blessings of youthfulness continue to slip away. “I think we’re pretty happy to be where we are.

“We’ve probably been doing fewer parties in the last five years than we used to because nobody’s getting any younger. I think it’s about trying to pick our moments.”

The night will kick of with sets from the four Mad Racket DJs leading into a set from American singer-songwriter/ DJ, Robert Owens, one of the most celebrated voices in house music.

Headlining the show is Larry Heard, a pioneer of deep-house music and one of the most talked about names in the scene. “This time he’s got an all new line-up,” enthuses Simon.


“[He has] a vocalist from the UK called Fatima, who is a really amazing artist in her own right and a French guy, Paul Cut playing keys; he’s a pretty famous jazz player from Paris. I’m really interested to see the new set from Larry.”

The night's performances will be accompanied by some extra-special visuals.

“We’ve arranged for a friend of ours to arrange some amazing visuals for the night using modular video synthesis, which is the same kind of technology as modular sound synthesis but running videos instead; so it’ll look kaleidoscopic but also quite crunchy and analog looking.”

Mad Racket By The Harbour takes place at Sydney Opera House 24 May.

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