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Sydney Festival :: Australia

November 9, 2009 by  
Category: Festivals

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While those of us north of the equator are settling our brains for a long winter’s nap there is a summer party like no other pounding the streets Down Under. Welcome to the annual Sydney Festival in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Started in 1977, this three week celebration of everything Sydney is the biggest event in Australia; attracting upwards of a million visitors every year. If you want to immerse yourself in the culture of this energetic, vibrant city, look no further.

Held each January and culminating on Australia Day, this festival is the epitome of summer in the city. The Sydney Festival is all about style and spectacle and nothing embodies that spirit more than the fabulous street party known as Festival First Night. The downtown streets are cleared and blocked off to make way for local artists and international stars like Grace Jones, Al Green, Philip Glass, and the National Theatre of Scotland. The best part of Festival First Night is that the entertainment costs you nothing. First rate fun and free of charge; what could be better? While the musicians, dancers, and artists are playing all around, be sure to check out the Spice Garden at one of Sydney’s most beautiful settings, Hyde Park. With mouthwatering foods and a circus-like atmosphere, it’s great family friendly enjoyment. If you are going with children, be sure to check out Kids Kicks with lots of great activities for the little ones and parents alike.

But the fun doesn’t stop with Festival First Night. The city is packed with indoor and outdoor attractions at theatres, galleries and concert halls like the Sydney Opera House, the Carriage Works, and the City Recital Hall. Outside there is the Festival in The Domain which boasts two free jazz and symphony concerts, often attracting up to 100,000 revelers each. As this is a celebration of Australian culture, expect to see lots of amazing local performers showcasing their talents in the visual arts, music, dance, and theater each conveying a little bit of the character and style of this vibrant city. In fact, Sydney Festival has now become famous for it’s premiers of up and comers becoming the jumping point for many of Australia’s hottest talent.

Make sure you dress for the weather, as it is the middle of summer you will need light clothes, sunscreen, and plenty of water for all of the outdoor activities. Also, plan ahead. Many of the attractions and performances require tickets in advance and these can and do sell out quickly. There are lots of hotels within walking distance of the different events, many of which offer special discounts to some of the shows; definitely enquire with the concierge. Wherever you end up, you are guaranteed to have the time of your life at this three week extravaganza of food, music, and fun!

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