An extraordinary party is coming to Sovereign Hill this Friday

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An extraordinary party is coming to Sovereign Hill this Friday

Words by Jacob McCormack

After a successful rendition last year, Sovereign Hill have again this year curated a night of food, drinks, music and entertainment to provide some fun and comfort amidst the icy throes of winter.

Late Night Wonderlights will be held on Friday July 14, reinventing the historical site at Sovereign Hill, situated in the west of Victoria, just near the township of Ballarat. With DJs, mesmeric snow and the famous winter lighting display, all your preconceptions or expectations of the popular excursion spot will be challenged.

The lineup is extraordinary – Harvey Sutherland, Rona and Sweat Dreams are at the forefront of the local music scene – while catering from Peter Rowland Group ensures a delectable experience. But first…

The magic of Sovereign Hill

Children and adults alike across Victoria and Australia have beloved memories of Sovereign Hill.

Throughout primary school the location acted as a magical destination, often frequented, rightfully holding its place as a must-see excursion experience for children across the state.

Lessons in Australia’s gold mining history, panning for gold (the lucky ones stumbling upon flecks, or even a nugget), and colonial history with all its many aspects, inclusive of the opportunity to dress in the attire of the time and have a photograph taken were activities and elements of the Sovereign Hill experience that so many of us have been exposed to over the years.

For countless people who have walked its grounds, the most significant facet of the Sovereign Hill experience was venturing into the Lolly Shop. The walls littered with jars hosting innumerable varieties of hard-bollied lollies and other confectionary.

The famous raspberry drops assumed a prominent status amongst folklore, almost as influentially so as the stories that are housed in the edifices and premises of Sovereign Hill. Interest in the sugary, berry-like spherical nuggets of deliciousness weren’t the only option that punters flocked to the store for. Looking back today, perhaps the true gold resided within the walls of Sovereign Hill itself.

That reverant nostalgia is part of why Sovereign Hill, as a phenomenal party destination, is an unmissable event.

The extraordinary music

The evening has been entitled Late Night Wonderlights – in conjunction with their staggering winter lighting display – and will host three different DJs soundtracking the nights entertainment.

Featured on the lineup is the one and only Harvey Sutherland – a local legend and self-professed crate-digger – whose bubbling and neurotic machine funk has established an international following from his singles released early last decade to his most recent album, Boy, shared with the world last year. Sutherland is obsessed with vinyl and occasionally dabbles in the club scene in any given urban-scape he might find himself in. The music he plays remains as eclectic as anything, genre-bending across the likes of dub, disco, post-punk, oddball techno, and the entire kit and caboodle of UK electronic sounds. Think funk and jazz, drum and bass, garage, grime and all that holds space between those styles. The one certainty is you will always find a groove in his musical arrangement.

Also, spinning the ones and twos at Late Night Wonderlights are Sweat Dreams. The DJ duo are living on Wadawurrung Country defying clean-cut and straight forward categorisation. Their selection of music, or track IDs can be sourced back to anything from Balearic, deep disco, tech house, breaks, Afrobeat and Arabic electronica. What’s more – you might come to expect them to confine themselves to these styles of music, but their aversion to pigeon-holing means they play anything else that fits into a set outside of the aforementioned sounds. Expect to sweat, a perspiration that will take you into a transcendental and surreal-like dance reverie.

Rounding out the musical talent is Rona, the synth extraordinaire and Kaytetye producer who’s blending the sound of Indigenous Australia with the melodic hardware that wanders between multiple worlds. Hailing from Mparntwe in the Central Desert, the uncanny overlap between industrial club inspired rhythms of urbanity and melodies of country establish poignant and punchy musical meanderings. Rona will stir you into a dancing meditation through her immensely powerful, musical storytelling.

A culinary journey

In conjunction with the live performances from some of the finest DJ’s Australia has to offer, Late Night Wonderlights will be catered for by the Peter Rowland Group who will be providing a specific curation of hot food and drinks, alcoholic or otherwise.

The hot food on offer will include burgers, baked potatoes and hot dogs. Alongside a range of cocktails teaming with eccentricity, mulled wine, Irish coffee and the famous, and incredibly unique Sovereign Hill beer, all of which will be served throughout the iconic buildings and the set-up that is to be installed outside for the event.

The evening is shaping up to be a wintry, yet warming affair. Not only will the event allow an opportunity to showcase the winter lighting display currently installed at Sovereign Hill, but the organisers will be ensuring that fake snow is omnipresent for the entirety of the evening. A true celebration of winter.

Running from 8-11pm the event is strictly 18+ and is designed to provide an opportunity for adults to enjoy the space at Sovereign Hill, without children present or in tow for its duration.

So, in celebration of winter, lights and the support of Australian musicians, grab your favourite people, or an interested stranger and head west to Sovereign Hill, where you’ll find a truly golden experience.

Find your gold (tickets) here.

This article was made in partnership with Sovereign Hill.