Yours and Owls Festival is set to go ahead in Stuart Park next month, with Australian artists the main headliners for the regional festival.

This will be the first time in two years the festival will be held without capacity or dancing restrictions. With Stay NSW vouchers now available, the festival is expected to attract local tourists in the coming weeks.

In preparation for the annual festival, promoter, event organiser, venue booker, and live music consultant company Yours and Owls hosts weekly Sunday Sessions at the North Gong Hotel.

General Hotel manager Toby Wiedemann said the live music sessions attract huge crowds and business for the hotel, especially in the month leading up to the annual festival.

“Sundays are our biggest day, the cancellation of Sunday Sessions due to COVID last year caused us to lose a lot of business.” Mr Wiedemann said.

“Yours and Owls does all the organising and promoting, they’re really on top of the music scene here in Wollongong.”

The Sunday Sessions shine a spotlight on up-and-coming local bands and provides an opportunity for them to perform live again after COVID-19 lockdowns and pandemic restrictions and to engage with a professional promotions company.

South Coast/Sutherland Shire-based band Tawny Port played their first Sunday Session at the end of last year when NSW’s second COVID-19 lockdown ended.

Lead guitarist Jackson James said the sessions were an important first step for many bands.

“Yours and Owls are super cool. The festival goes a long way in promoting the [live music] scene down here, and the little local gigs, like North Gong Sundays, are awesome for letting smaller bands get their foot in the door,” Mr James said.

“We’ve had our fair share of cancelled gigs with COVID, so even though the gig was to a sat-down audience I’m glad it happened.”

Yours and Owls and music review site don’t bore us have teamed up to pick a local band to play the festival in 2023 and have asked the public to vote on the local artist they would like to see open for big names, such as Ruby Fields.