WHERE? Various Sydney locations

WHEN? January each year since 1977

Embarking upon its illustrious journey in the scintillating summer of ’77, the Sydney Festival burst onto the scene, a vibrant celebration of the city’s multifaceted soul, and an unabashed homage to the joy of revelry. This festival, a kaleidoscope of global and local artistic flair, has since metamorphosed into an event of international acclaim, a true embodiment of Sydney’s cultural heartbeat.


As January unfurls, marking the apex of the Southern Hemisphere’s summer, Sydney undergoes a mesmerizing transformation. The city, fondly dubbed the Emerald City, becomes a pulsating hub of global culture. Tourists and Sydneysiders alike are magnetically drawn to this cultural fiesta, as the city’s very fabric seems to dance to the rhythm of the festival’s eclectic beat. This serendipitous timing, coinciding with the zenith of summer, presents the perfect backdrop for an array of indoor and outdoor spectacles, inviting attendees to delve into a cornucopia of programs scattered throughout the city.

At its core, the Sydney Festival is a testament to a commitment to excellence. It’s a celebration of Sydney’s unique character, woven with the threads of inclusivity and accessibility. The festival stands as a beacon of diversity and equality, offering a tapestry of art forms and artists. It’s a welcoming haven, a melting pot where every voice finds resonance, every expression a canvas.

From the grandeur of theatre to the rhythmic poetry of dance, from the soul-stirring arias of opera to the symphonic whispers of classical music, from the visual feast of the arts to the communal spirit of free outdoor events, the festival’s program is an orchestration of the traditional and the contemporary. Both burgeoning talents and established maestros find their stage here, creating a harmonious symphony that resonates with Sydney’s ethos.

Jurrungu at Sydney Festival 2019. Photo credit Aby Murray

Notably, the festival is renowned for its grand outdoor events, staged against the backdrop of Sydney’s iconic landmarks. These experiences, free and open to all, are the essence of the festival’s mission – to make art accessible, to make culture inclusive. In recent times, the festival’s reach has expanded to Parramatta, a move that echoes the growing dynamism of Sydney’s western suburbs, ensuring that the festival’s embrace is as wide as it is deep.

Over the years, the festival has played host to amazing international talent. Icons like Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, the enigmatic Grace Jones with her Jamaican-American flair, and the avant-garde Icelandic virtuoso Björk have graced its stages. Each artist, in their unique way, has contributed to elevating the Sydney Festival to its revered status in the global cultural lexicon.

For more information about the Sydney Festival, its programming, tickets, and schedules, visit the official website.