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Sydney Festival

What's on at the Sydney Festival?

You might think that, after all the Sydney New Year's celebrations and world famous fireworks, things might calm down a little bit in Sydney. Well, you'd be right, they do, but not for long. The Festival takes a hold of Sydney on 9th January and doesn't let go until the Australia Day long weekend.

The most popular cultural festival in Australia

The Sydney Festival draws in around a million people from far and wide making it the most popular cultural festival in Australia. Many top Australian and International artists will attempt to dazzle and mesmerize you with an array of high quality offerings of dance, theatre, music and visual art.

Dido and Aeneas Sydney AustraliaDido and Aeneas

The first show to be announced for 2014 is an opera, Dido & Aeneas, a classic tale of the power of love to uplift and destroy. Surprisingly it will be staged at the Sydney Lyric at The Star - not the Sydney Opera House. We hope for bigger and better things to come from our iconic Opera House in 2014.

So Frenchy, So ChicSo Frenchy, So Chic.

The University of Sydney is supposedly going all European on us with "So Frenchy, So Chic in the Park". This amounts to lots of classy music, fine food and wine. Is this a slight on Australian Culture? I doubt it. There will be plenty of fine Australian music, food and wine to enjoy as well.

Not what it was?

In the past, much of the Festival was free, then we went through a period where it was more about making money, then we switched back to the free stuff, particularly with the Festival First Night.


In 2014 there appears to be less for free including still a few 'stolen' free events such as the Ferrython on Australia Day. Never mind, the big inflatables are free like Stonehenge and last year's big Rubber Duck, albeit further down the river. Perhaps the best free event is the Parramatta Free Opening Night. See the links below for more information about Parramatta's party and the free stuff at the foot of the page.


Musically speaking, or singing, headline acts including Chaka Khan a 19s something (as in 1900s) 'Queen of Funk' (Donna Summer would have been a better choice if still alive), Mike Mills ex R.E.M, Jody Stephens (Big Star) and Ken Stringfellow (The Posies) and Punk Cabaret artist Amanda Palmer.

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Program of Events

The best way to approach this is to flick through the program (link below). If you intend to see a few different things make use of the planner on the Festival website.


I Love the Nightlife - The Festival Village in Hyde Park

As you might have guessed, Sydney will be alive and buzzing during the festival and it doesn't stop till... well I'm not sure it does stop actually. Anyway, the Festival has its own bar in Hyde Park complete with all kinds of entertainment to keep you in a festival mood including "The Famous Spiegeltent".


During the day, "The Famous Spiegeltent" is family friendly but after dark however it is a different story. As kids go home to bed the grown-ups come out to play.

Festival Village

Paradiso at Town Hall

The Paradiso at Town Hall is open for ten nights straight with performances from international and Aussie bands. Once the performance is over, you can keep on dancing to two in the morning.

Paradiso Bar

As well as hosting events, the Sydney Town Hall boasts the Paradiso Bar on the terrace. The intention is to feed you, as well as ply you with alcohol. The bar opens at 5.30pm.

Paradiso at Town Hall

Parramatta Festival - 10th to 19th January (mostly)

Parramatta hosts its own opening party on 10th January with 'free events galore'. Maybe Parramatta is taking over the festival as there appears to be some pretty cool things happening in the middle of Sydney.

Parramatta Festival

Free and Top things to do

There are a myriad of things to do in and around Sydney which are not part of the program. Once you have planned your outings, fill in the gaps with some top things to do in Sydney:

Best of Australia

Festivals & Events January,2015 February,2014 March,2014 April,2014 May,2014 June,2014 July,2014 August,2014 September,2014 October,2014 November,2014 December,2014

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