Groups such as Junkadelic Brass Band, Les Femmes Fatales, Riff Raff Radical Marching Band and Rising Tide Street Band took to Wollongong's streets on Friday afternoon.
The street music bands, along with a dozens of other musicians took part in a grand street parade, part of the sixth annual HONK! Oz Festival of Street Music.
Mel Wishart is a member of Les Femmes Fatales, an Illawarra-based, all-female street-theatre protest band.
"We play happy music with a miserable theme," she told the Mercury.
Promoting messages of women's unity, climate change, collaborative action and arts funding, they've been involved with the HONK! festival since its inception.
"The best part is that the festival is bringing community together, and being able to talk with each other and build a supportive community," Ms Wishart said.
The free festival is taking place in Wollongong this week (January 9-11).
Bands and community groups gathered at Globe Lane on Friday afternoon in readiness for the community parade and performances.
Christine Carey, who plays piano accordion and snare in a few of the festival's street bands, as well as being on the organising committee, said festival acts and community groups were invited to join in the parade.
"We start in Globe Lane, then we go up to the top of the mall, then we parade down the mall to the Arts Precinct," she said.
"It's great just having joyous music in the mall.
"(The festival) brings together music, dance, circus and more.
"There's local people, and people from interstate and overseas all coming together to play free music on the streets."
Featuring a host of visiting bands from throughout Australia, the festival also includes many local favourites.
From bold brass bands to energetic samba, the HONK! Oz program showcases a diverse range of musical styles.
The festival finishes on Saturday with a more chilled selection of performances in the Arts Precinct from 10am-3pm.
HONK! Oz also showcases a collection of open participation bands that anyone can join throughout the festivities.
"We want to live in a place where people are getting out there and being a part of their community, enjoying themselves and playing music in the streets," music director David Rooney said.
"The result is a three-day street party that is raucous, fun, energetic and slightly irreverent.
"Organised with a slightly chaotic appearance, we want people to enjoy themselves as well as being active and socially progressive."
Run by volunteers and boosted by community donations, HONK! Oz is a free non-commercial music festival.
The festival takes its name and inspiration from Somerville's HONK! Festival of Activist Street Bands in Boston and Seattle's HONK! Fest West.
Read more: Things to do in the Illawarra this week