NightQuarter, a concept inspired by European night markets, combines culture, cuisine, arts, crafts, street performers and music, to deliver an entertainment experience for the local community and travellers to immerse themselves in.
The award winning NightQuarter originally operated on the Gold Coast from 2015 to early 2019, and was a renowned food and entertainment destination – and was touted as 'a cultural revolution' for the area.
Last Friday (6 November), after much anticipation and hard yards, a re-imagined NightQuarter was birthed on new turf flanking the Stockland Birtinya Shopping Centre in Kawana Waters (Sunshine Coast).
Like its predecessor, NightQuarter is constructed mostly out of 40 up-cycled shipping containers.
To welcome the very first patrons, Sarah McLeod sang and played solo on keys, high up on scaffolding outside the NightQuarter entry. I got to catch her sing 'Gravity' and an awesome version of Elton John's 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' – that one gave me goosebumps.
Sarah McLeod - image © Clea-marie Thorne
Once inside you are in the Enchanted Garden, adorned with fairy and party lights and intertwined with leafy decorations around the area. It has a giant swing, a Botanical cocktail bar and vendors that offer savoury eats and late-night sweet treats.
Greeting visitors are roving stilt walkers, infectiously happy bubble-blowing fey who spread joy and reminded visitors to maintain social distancing.More photos from opening night.
A selfie booth, vintage arcade games and retail stalls are scattered about, but it doesn't take long before your nostrils are assaulted by the magnificent aromas of food.
Hawker Street hosts most of the vendors serving up global eats under a giant hangar with light installations and faux palms dressed in strings of lights. There's everything from burgers to pizza; gozleme to dumplings; and cronuts to caramel apples.
At the top of the street is the Sirromet Wine Bar and Eumundi Backyard experiences. Dan Horne performed on the Eumundi Backyard mini stage. There was foot-tapping action and gentle head nods as people kicked back to enjoy his tunes with a drink or two.
Image © Clea-marie Thorne
For the kiddies and young at heart, a mini sideshow alley awaits complete with carnival games, dodgem cars and a teacup ride.
As the precinct filled, the air buzzed with chit chat, laughter and good times.
People commented on the quality and variety of cuisine, the diversity of entertainment and the venue embellishments that showed attention to design detail, like the Hollywood gold stars painted on the asphalt to the two creative cassette installations painstakingly put together. Murals were gazed upon and these effectively tied the venue elements together.
Adjacent to the entry is NightQuarter Live, with its main stage, the new place for regular events to the Sunny Coast. This stage sits beneath a domed roof and hosts a Jack Daniels bar, old NightQuarter art and The Gallery, a private mezzanine and bar – all within a chilled atmosphere.
Doolie - image © Clea-marie Thorne
Intimate spaces such as The Gallery are camouflaged within the precinct and have been created so that you can have your own event or gathering in an exclusive space or a sectioned area.
For its opening, NightQuarter Live hosted DOOLIE, SAMETIME and Toxic Fox. DOOLIE gave a low-key electronic R&B styled set.
SAMETIME - image © Clea-marie Thorne
SAMETIME, who performed during the opening ceremony, played another set of indie pop and new low-fi alternative disco songs.
Well known and locally-based headliners for the night were five-piece Toxic Fox performing a set list that had their boisterous fans singing along.
Toxic Fox - image © Clea-marie Thorne
NightQuarter will operate two main programmes year-round: Fridays and Saturdays (4pm-10pm) for its NightQuarter experience, with stallholders, family-friendly fun, live music, immersive performances, bars and market shopping; and Sundays (12pm-6pm) for relaxed vibes, food, bars, vintage and designer markets and blues music, plus it becomes a canine-friendly venue for the day.
I'll be back to experience the Gin High Tea with my mates in the Enchanted Garden and discover more of the design detail I am sure I missed amid all the opening night excitement.
Get along at least once; and if you do, I bet you'll become a repeat offender.