Sydney Festival is quite simply the biggest cultural event in Australia. Held over the course of three weeks, this January festival helps to ring in the New Year in grand style. Some of the top fine arts performances in the world take center stage at the Sydney Festival, and there is more than enough on the side to keep patrons entertained. Thanks to the high-quality entertainment lineup, this biggest festival in Sydney Australia has had little trouble attracting patrons since it was first held back in 1976. In fact, approximately 1 million people flood into Sydney during the festival's run, and many of these people are repeat visitors.
The Sydney Festival generally gets under way the second week of January, and as such, it incorporates the dynamic Australia Day celebrations. These celebrations are held on January 26 and commemorate the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788. The First Fleet, for those who might not know, established the first European colony on the Australian continent, thus playing a key role in Australian history. As for other Sydney Festival events, they include a number of dance, music, and theater performances. Many of these visual arts events are held in The Domain, which is a park-like part of the city that is a precinct of the Sydney Botanical Gardens. The Domain is certainly the venue of choice for the Sydney Festival concerts, the likes of which feature some of the biggest names in the music business.
The most popular Sydney Festival events are arguably the concerts, and it's not hard to understand why. The music lineup is eclectic, and plenty of big name musicians dazzle the crowds. This festival in Sydney Australia goes well beyond concerts, however. Many local artists get the chance to light up the stage at one of the numerous venues that are used to host Sydney Festival events, and a healthy number of visitors come to see theater shows first and foremost. As is true of the Sydney attractions in general, there is something for everyone when it comes to the Sydney Festival events, and you'll be glad to know that many of them are free. Various community halls, parks, and city streets serve as venues. Larger scale events are held at places such as the Sydney Opera House, the City Recital Hall, and the Sydney Theatre.
When Sydney Festival patrons aren't taking in a concert or seeing a theater show, they might find themselves watching culturally rich dance performances and open-air cinema productions. A variety of interesting exhibitions also figure on the annual Sydney Festival events schedule, and it all gets under way with the Festival First Night. This first night of the festival sees a diverse range of celebrations going on all over the city, and some 1 million people watch it all on TV. For those who might be interested in knowing more about the Australia Day events, they include an awards ceremony that honors the Australian of the Year, a special address from the country's Prime Minister, and the popular AAMI Ferrython. The AAMI Ferrython is a boat race that sees scores of catamarans competing on the waters of the Sydney Harbour. Some of the best Sydney landmarks, including the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House are found at or near the Ferrython racing site, only helping to accentuate the fun proceedings.
The Sydney Festival has been known for its quality for some time, though according to some, it gets better every year. There are plenty of excellent hotels near the main events venues should you be planning on dropping by during the festival's run, though as you might expect, lodging can be hard to come by if you wait until the last minute. Various kinds of passes can be purchased for the Sydney Festival events that cost money, with the general day passes allowing holders to enjoy any and all events that are held on that specific day. The main place to purchase tickets for the Sydney Festival shows and concerts is the booth that can be found on Martin Place in the heart of the CBD (Central Business District).
Image: Daniel Boud