As the arts begin to navigate their way out of the devastation of the pandemic, musicians are thinking outside the box of the concert hall when it comes to presenting live music experiences. In Melbourne, composer Cat Hope has just launched a music series in a cinema complex, while in Sydney a new festival by Backstage Music, curated by Lamorna Nightingale, Bree van Reyk and Damian Barbeler, will open in a shop front at Sydney’s World Square.

Rainbow Chan Rainbow Chan will be one of the artists featured in Now You Hear Her. Photo supplied

The festival, Now You Hear Her, kicks off on International Women’s Day on 8 March and runs into April, and includes free events featuring artists such as Z’eadala, Aunty Marlene Cummins, Rainbow Chan, Bree van Reyk, Freya Schack-Arnott, Sumn Conduit, Liza Lim, Brenda Gifford and many more.

The unusual venue was born of the perennial challenges of finding small performance spaces in Sydney. “Sydney CBD was looking like a bit of a ghost town for much of 2020 and the City of Sydney was offering grants to artists...