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The Headphone Project

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by Jane Wong (subscribe)
My dogs and I are kind of a package deal. www.instagram.com/eddythepughuahua
Published February 9th 2017
Designed to help local musicians be heard
big headphones, busking, darby street, newcastle, music, street music, street art, big things, the headphone project, boutique music, free
Sam and Eddy at The Big Headphones.


With over 150 loosely related set of large structures scattered across all 8 states, Australia is no amateur when it comes to 'Big Things'. The state of New South Wales is no exception to this rule - it is home to the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour, the Big Golden Guitar in Tamworth, the Big Prawn in Ballina, and the Big Merino in Goulburn, all of which are considered the most well-known and popular Big Things in the country!

big headphones, darby street, newcastle, music, street music, street art, big things, the headphone project, boutique music, busking, free
Some of the Big Things that Eddy has visited.


Being a popular phenomenon to the extent that that some actually consider it a 'cult' of sorts, there are constantly new Big Things popping up here and there, so keep an eye out for them, because you never know if one might magically appear in a place you've visited countless of times! One of the newer Big Things in New South Wales is the Big Headphones, which was completed in May 2015. Standing at 3m tall, the Big Headphones is part of The Headphone Project, a joint initiative between Darby Street Traders Advisory Group, Urban Exotic, Newcastle Now and NCC Make Your Place Grants. The idea came about during the 2013 Urban Surge competition from Mark Tisdell, an urban designer, who then worked with a fabricator, an electrical engineer and graphic designer, in order to bring his design to life.

big headphones, busking, darby street, newcastle, music, street music, street art, big things, the headphone project, boutique music, free
More information on The Headphone Project.


The Big Headphones is one of the few 'Big Things' that serve the same function as the original object that it was modelled after - that's right, The Big Headphones is actually a large amplifier from which you can play music for everyone to hear! "Designed to help local musicians be heard", The Big Headphones allows musicians to plug in and play at no cost - yes, for free! The reason why The Headphone Project does not charge a fee for use of The Big Headphones is because it's maintenance is generously funded by the Darby Street Traders Group.

big headphones, busking, darby street, newcastle, music, street music, street art, big things, the headphone project, boutique music, free
What music would you like to hear at The Big Headphones?


Specific details on how to "plug in and play" can be found under the 'About' section on their Facebook page:

Email headphonedarby@gmail.com with 'BOOKING REQUEST' in the subject field. As this project is run by volunteers, The Headphone Project do extend their apologies if there is a delayed response - they endeavour to check the email every couple of days.

There are 6x channel mixers and leads that allow artists to connect to the installation at a cost of $25 for up to half a day (or you can bring your own)

Musicians need to bring their own microphone, guitar, and other leads (including a 10m extension cord) - no additional amps other than the Big Headphones are to be used, to ensure compliance with the NCC busking regulations (i.e. so that it is not too loud!)

Once your booking is confirmed, head to Ramjet Assortments (78 Darby Street) with photo ID and cash (EFTPOS not available), "grab the keys, plug in, and get your tunes pumping!"

There is a key security deposit of $50, which is fully refunded upon return of key (and equipment if applicable)

big headphones, busking, darby street, newcastle, music, street music, street art, big things, the headphone project, boutique music, free
Photo taken from The Headphone Project's Facebook page.


Finally, it's worth noting that: "This is not a profit making project. The Headphone Project was created in a collaboration between many members of the Newcastle Community.
Thank you for supporting this project!"


big headphones, busking, darby street, newcastle, music, street music, street art, big things, the headphone project, boutique music, free
Loving the design on the Big Headphones.


big headphones, busking, darby street, newcastle, music, street music, street art, big things, the headphone project, boutique music, free
And don't forget to check out this awesome street art located just behind The Big Headphones!
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Why? Play for free at The Big Headphones!
When: Anytime
Where: Darby St, Cooks Hill NSW 2300
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Nice article and an interesting project by the looks of it
by RC (score: 3|1138) 35 days ago
Really good news for music lovers. Fantastic👍👍
by lokyl (score: 2|304) 30 days ago
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