Sydney Outsider is proud to present, in association with its sponsors*, a festival that fosters contemplation and connection.

Sydney is choking on festivals. The writers’ festival has come and gone, the Biennale just finished and Vivid is in full swing. It’s great news if you love gabfests, cutting-edge art and bright lights but it won’t make you a better human being. That’s where the Sydney Outsider Festival of Nothing picks up the slack. Festival events are listed below; get along and improve yourself.

Opening Day
Stare at the ceiling in the darkness before dawn and contemplate life – and by extension, death. Consider the tens of thousands of festival goers doing the same – a scattered community of souls adrift in a cold, uncaring city. Take comfort knowing you aren’t alone. Listen to the dawn chorus of the garbage truck emptying bins. Remind yourself that you’re not ready for the trash heap, breathe deeply, and prepare to make the most of the day.

Morning Meditation
Sit in front of the television with your breakfast. Look at your reflection in the blank screen. Realise how much more easily your Weet-Bix go down without the maddening soundtrack of the fuckwits on morning television. You are enough.

Public Art
Join the improvised work of performance art that is the peak-hour commute. Squash your head beneath a fellow commuter’s armpit as your train edges slowly towards its destination. As you’re pressed against strangers like the loose chunks of pork shoulder and ham that are pressed into a tin of Spam, boundaries will be broken and special bonds formed.

Tune-out Sessions
Turn off your phone for four hours. Okay, check Instagram, Facebook and Twitter first, but then turn your phone off for at least three hours. Once your anxiety wanes, enjoy the sense of freedom that comes with being out of reach. When you turn your phone back on after two hours, enjoy the sense of humility that comes with realising that nobody needed you.

Informative Talks
If you want to learn about burning issues of the day from an expert, read a book. If you want to be part of a conversation that is valuable, call an old friend you haven’t spoken to for years. You’ll remember after five minutes why you haven’t spoken but it’s still a nice gesture.

Gourmet Experiences
Open your fridge and eat the last, lonely pickle bobbing about in a jar of brine. Consider: this humble pickle provides calcium that strengthens your bones, iron that becomes haemoglobin to carry oxygen in your blood, and salt that goes into your sweat and tears. In a sense you, the pickle and the universe are one.

* Sponsors are yet to be confirmed.