Twilight at Taronga

I love the Twilight at Taronga events and try to attend at least one concert every season.

Now in its 18th year, Twilight at Taronga is a series of open-air concerts held in front of the concert lawn inside the grounds of Sydney’s Taronga Zoo.  In the line-up over the past few years there has been an emphasis on tribute bands however this year there’s a return to featuring original artists.

The entrance to Taronga Zoo

The entrance to Taronga Zoo

Over eight weeks there will be 18 concerts featuring a range of talent including Irish group, The Commitments, and local legends including Jimmy Barnes, James Reyne, Richard Clapton, Jenny Morris, Daryl Braithwaite and Ross Wilson.

This year’s season began on February 1 with The Whitlams led by singer and songwriter, Tim Freedman.  We were fortunate to have tickets to see The Whitlams.

The Heritage Listed elephant house.

The Heritage Listed elephant house.

It was a perfect summer’s evening where it was beautiful and warm with not a breath of wind.  We arrived at the Zoo at around 6.30pm and walked through the gates then along the paths of the zoo that led us to the concert lawn.  You’re not going to have a lot of space to roll out your picnic rug as there will be more than a few tickets sold and so you’ll be sitting ‘cheek by jowl’ with other ticket holders.

Most people pack their own picnic hamper or you can buy food at the venue.  We were a party of six and chose to bring our own food.  I made meatballs and macaroons,  my sister brought an antipasto plate with some dark chocolate goji berries and my mother brought figs wrapped in prosciutto and some nougat.

Part of the concert lawn.

Part of the concert lawn.

Then we come to the drinks and this is where it unfortunately gets silly.  You used to be able to bring your own alcohol but new rules (there’s always new rules) have been put in place and BYO is now banned and all bags are checked on entry.  You have to queue to buy drinks and the range is limited and the prices fairly steep.  Carl tried to buy a bottle of wine and a couple of beers but was told that isn’t allowed.  He could only buy either the wine or the beer so he came back with the beer and I went down and bought the wine.  Ridiculous.  Anyone would think Carl was staggering but if you’ve been reading my blog for a while you will know that Carl always has issues with security.

The Whitlams

The Whitlams

Whoever wrote the new rule book should actually have it thrown at them because the other rule is that if you buy a bottle of wine they open it for you and give it to you without the lid.  I said, ‘Where’s the lid?’  And the woman said, ‘You’re not allowed it’.

‘Why can’t I have the lid to the bottle of wine?’

‘You just can’t have it’.

‘But I’m sitting on a lawn and if I put the bottle down it will fall over so I need the lid.’  I won’t tell you what happened from there because it just became more ridiculous.

Tim Freedman

Tim Freedman

Anyway, I made it back to our picnic spot and then we bumped into friends we hadn’t seen for years except on facebook.  We had a good chat to them and I instagramed a few images then another friend sent me a comment on one of the images saying she was there as well so it was like a reunion.  And everyone was dressed in either shorts or a pretty summer floaty dress and there was a great atmosphere (except where you buy the alcohol!)

As Carl was wandering around the front of the stage there was a professional photographer on stage taking a few images.  He saw Carl and said to him, ‘Are you singing tonight?’  And Carl looked a bit confused and said, ‘Uhm, no’.  Then the photographer said, ‘Well you should be.  I was on the same cruise and I heard you singing karaoke.  They should let you sing on this stage’.

Unbelievable.  What were the odds!

We enjoyed our picnic as the sun began to set and just as we had polished off the nougat and goji berries the support band started.  We took our seats on our picnic rugs and settled down to watch the show.

Just loving the show

Just loving the show

The Whitlams came on at around 8pm and played for over an hour with an encore performance.  Tim is very witty and tells funny stories yet a lot of his songs have sad lyrics.  It was a sold-out concert with enthusiasts leaving their picnic rugs to dance in front of the stage.  After an encore, The Whitlams left the stage at around 9.30 and we headed back up the hill to the Zoo’s main entrance.

It was a fantastic evening filled with good company, great weather and a fantastic concert and we hope to be back again before the season ends.

Tickets are selling out fast so here’s the link so you don’t miss out.

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  1. What a great night out, Charlie! And so close for you! We haven’t been to Taronga for years, but we used to be members and go all the time, back when the kids were small! xx

  2. I wish I’d been there, I love The Whitlams and of course the beautiful setting…thankfully such a lovely evening was not spoiled by these ridiculous alcohol rules. And what an amazing coincidence about Carl and that photographer.

  3. What a nice compliment to Carl and his singing! I love these sorts of summer outdoor concerts and it sounds like the Taronga series has great music lined up. You picked a lovely night and other than the odd rule about the lid to the wine (?!) it sounds like a great time.

  4. I think that they take the lid so you don’t take the bottle with you (in case there’s any wine left in the bottle). But not being able to buy both wine and beer baffles me!

  5. Beautiful posts you did, I watch them all. This is amazing… Thank you dear Charlie, love, nia

  6. No lid for the wine? That’s just nuts. Is that to keep someone from taking it home? Bizarre! The concert sounds like a lot of fun though.

  7. What a fun night out. Well you can leave a good bottle of wine go to waste, you had to finish that off. LOL Take Care, BAM

  8. Except for the rule ridiculousness, this sounds like a lovely evening with friends, family and music. We have outdoor concerts at a park in my community every Thursday evening during the summer. Nothing like this one. Just simple with local music enjoyed in the company of friends.

  9. Sounds like a fun night was had by all and what a small world it is. 🙂

  10. Carl is famous! That was incredible that he had fans from the cruise at the concert!

    You think that they don’t give you a lid so if you happened to spill that wine, you would have to buy more?

  11. What a great venue Charlie. We have similar absurd rules. Our zoo is in the way outside the city proper and they do not allow any outside food; what makes it worse is that they ONLY sell McDonald’s food! Admission is also robbery!

  12. I love The Whitlams but I’m stressed out because I’m now going to be singing “And I wish, I wish I knew the right words / to blow up the Pokies and draaaaaaaaag them away” all day. All week, probably.

  13. What a fantastic evening with good food, family and friends. I can guarantee Pete would have snuck some scotch in.
    Have a super day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  14. What a beautiful venue for concerts. What kinda crap is that about no lid for your wine. I think I woulda slapped her. Haha. I mean, come on. It sounds like you had a good time despite the ridiculousness! 🙂 xo

  15. Haha I love how Carl met up with people from the cruise, who would have thought 😛
    Great time must have been had!

    Choc Chip Uru

  16. Hi………what better way to celebrate a beautiful Sydney evening. I understand the “grog” rules stem from legislation relating to “RSA” (responsible serving of alcohol) whereby if people bring their own wines etc. and crash on the way home the Zoo would be liable for not supervising the consumption via the sales. Well, that’s one reason! We now have a few second hand caps/lids satisfyingly secreted away in our picnic gear for such purposes and so far these have not been picked up during the dreaded bag search on entry…………..Thems the rules!……………….lovely post……….Elsie……

  17. Have you not learnt to take your own chilled wine inside a stainless steel sports bottle yet Charlie? It’s so handy for these type of events, stingy restaurants, movies theatres, school functions etc. It sure makes for a fun time at the gym too 🙂
    We love the Whitlams, and I agree that Carl would have been a great support act as well xox

  18. I love outdoor concerts…we have many in the area during Summer…it sure seems that it was a fun night, except for the wine incidence…
    Have a wonderful week Charlie 😀

  19. That’s a lovely compliment to Carl on his singing voice. It’s funny how our big city can be ever so small sometimes.
    As for the bottle without a lid?…still confused about that one. I do like Elsie’s suggestion though.

  20. What are the odds??! That’s so funny, goes to show it is a small world. Open air concerts are the best, you get fresh air, picnic, silly alcohol rules, but it’s so much fun! Glad you had a good time.

  21. I hate silly rules that make no sense. Sounds like a perfect evening under the stars with friends, food and The Whitlams.

  22. Illogical rules are so frustrating. I always argue, always in vain, but it makes me feel better! Much to the man’s disgust he hates a scene, he would have felt at home with Carl singing karaoke! Plus I always have issues with security, every airport I am pulled to one side and my luggage searched. Melbourne zoo do similar twilight events, its so nice to be able to do such lovely things like this. How lucky are we.

  23. Really, Carl met someone from your cruise? That’s so random, especially in a big crowds! I wonder what’s the reason behind no lid for wine. Such strange rules make me insane… I want to know why! 🙂

  24. Balmy nights with family, views, a beautiful picnic, great music and a few vinos under your belt – sounds like a perfect night that you will always remember! I heard that the concert was sold out – how lucky you all were to be there.

  25. Ok here’s my prediction. Carl enters Australia’s Got Talent, wins it and becomes very famous due, to his age and late blooming etc etc etc. Kind a Susan whatever her name is, thingy.

    Then you can throw your own party and have him sing and invite the Whitlams and who ever else you damn well like to perform. You can serve wine in bottles with the flippin lid or allow guests to bring their own if they so desire. I mean they are grown ups and should be treated as such, right?

    Honestly the regs in this country drive me completely nuts. They do the same thing at our yacht club and often we can’t get through the bottle between us. We are both cheap drunks. I have to sneak it out in my bag without a lid. How dumb is that.

    Rant over
    PS I would love to know what the bar person said…….no doubt it was completely laughable.

  26. I think it’s really nice that the zoos are now doing more twilight sessions and not just limiting to day time events 🙂 Because with longer daylight saving I think it’s good to give people more options!

  27. It’s these kinds of events that make me homesick! My husband and I moved overseas in 1998! Strange though that we didn’t miss Sydney at all until we returned a few years ago to work on some stories and now I miss it dreadfully when I read about events like these. Lucky you!

  28. What a lovely night out! Wish i could be there with you! 🙂 Dancing!

  29. Evenings like these are so much fun! Our zoo hosts “Jazz under the Stars” during the summer and we love going. Your venue looks quite a bit bigger. Thanks for the list of musicians. I’ll be checking them out for sure because I love finding new music. Thanks!!

  30. I thought the photographer-Carl encounter was hilarious! One of those great moments!

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