With the lifting of dancefloors across the Greater Sydney region, the return of live music and nightclubs has proven a boon for the city’s hospitality venues.

The crown jewel of Merivale’s entertainment portfolio, the ivy, is leaning into this hunger for dancing with the announcement of a new weekly festival lineup. Each weekend, the CBD dining and entertainment precinct will be partnering with cultural outfits such as Lost Paradise and POOF DOOF to transform their dancefloor into a super club space that channels the energy of a festival, offering everything from drag performances to disco to big room house.

From 30 May, the creators of cultural festival Lost Paradise will take over ivy for a weekly Sunday dance party called Lost Sundays. Taking inspiration from global music festivals, the event will welcome a host of DJs with a focus on house, disco and techno.

Every Saturday night, ivy will be taken over by LGBTQI+ events company POOF DOOF for an unashamedly gay dance party, featuring performances from the likes of superstar drag queen Courtney Act, Sneaky Soundsystem, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under stars Coco Jumbo and Jojo Zaho, and resident POOF DOOF drag queens Sia Tequila and Jimi the Kween.

There will also be new music concepts every Thursday and Friday night.

“One of my favourite things is going to a festival,” says Merivale CEO Justin Hemmes. “I love the energy of moving through a crowd, dancing en masse with an incredible sound system and production. That’s why the focus on ivy is so important. We have a huge space with few limitations. That gives us amazing potential to create these wonderful, mini festival experiences. The ability to do that in the heart of the city is a unique proposition: we want to really deliver.

“Covid has made people realise how important social connectivity is and appreciate what it feels like to dance and celebrate in a crowd. There’s a real positivity towards other people, which is what you need in a nightlife environment.

“We’re so invested in Sydney as a city and take our responsibility in driving its future seriously. We’re giving our team the tools, space and permission to go big, and create experiences that can fulfill the passion and exceed the expectations of the city. We need to keep this excitement alive.”

While the precinct’s entertainment offering will be elevated every weekend, food and drink remain its foundations. As part of this new chapter for ivy, there will be a new rollout of bars and restaurants to invigorate ivy’s laneway and George Street presence. The first of these will be Jimmy’s Underground, a late-night disco bar set to open next month.