All Venues
4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art
Art Gallery of NSW
Belvoir St Theatre
Campbelltown Arts Centre
City Recital Hall Angel Place
Enmore Theatre
Eugene Goossens Hall at ABC Centre
Hyde Park Barracks Museum, Keystone Festival Bar
Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre
Old King's School Site
Parramatta CBD
Riverside Theatres
SBW Stables Theatre
Seymour Centre
State Theatre
Sutherland Entertainment Centre
Sydney CBD
Sydney Harbour
Sydney Opera House
Sydney Theatre at Walsh Bay
Sydney Town Hall
The Concourse Chatswood
The Domain
The Famous Spiegeltent, Honda Festival Garden
The Idolize Spiegeltent
The Jagermeister Hunting Lodge, Honda Festival Garden
Tin Sheds Gallery
University Art Gallery
Wharf 1 and 2, Sydney Theatre Company
$30 and under
$31 - $70
Over $70

Festival First Night - About

FESTIVAL FIRST NIGHT - Saturday January 7, 2012

Manu Chao La Ventura / Washington / Gurrumul / Holly Throsby presents See! / Trocadero Dance Palace / Norman Jay / The Jolly Boys and so much more!


The heart of the city is again transformed for Festival First Night – an extravaganza that invites everyone to experience Sydney in spectacular and surprising new ways. All are welcome, big and small. And it’s all free.

It's a huge night in The Domain. Starting with a special Welcome to Country, and followed by the enigmatic Gurrumul Yunupingu. The gorgeously idiosyncratic Washington is up next and to top it off, international musical globetrotter, Manu Chao.

Enjoy kids’ fun in the afternoon with Holly Throsby performing her children’s album See! from top to toe, plus Caspar Babypants with his very cool rockin’ sing-a-long. Share the shade with Erth’s puppets (if you dare) or get all tangled up in Polyglot’s bouncy sculpture. Hosted by Melbourne’s madcap Listies, this is one afternoon the kids won’t want to miss.

The good times roll on with DJ Norman Jay parking his iconic double-decker bus in Hyde Park, keeping Sydney dancing from 3pm with a marathon eight hour set of idyllic summer tunes. Meanwhile, one of Australia’s leading contemporary artists, Brook Andrew, presents an all-embracing spectacle that brings the buildings and streets around Hyde Park to life with massive projections and street performances amid a bevy of handpainted caravans.

As the sun sets prepare yourselves for the breathtaking aerial performance As The World Tipped on College Street, telling a powerful tale of eco-crisis. Combining dramatic film and visuals with stunning aerial agility, the stage literally tips skywards as performers cling on for dear life.

The Art Gallery of NSW stays up late on Festival First Night with music, film and performances for the whole family. Inspired by Picasso’s native Spain and his adopted home of Paris, My Sauce Good, Monsieur Camembert and more perform inside the Gallery until 11pm. Entry to the Gallery is free, the major exhibition Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris is ticketed.

Pull on your retro threads and dancing shoes and head to Elizabeth Street to catch Jamaica’s mento masters The Jolly Boys. These dance hall legends get things swinging before The Sirens Big Band open an explosive outdoor Trocadero Dance Palace. The 40s and 50s jive and hop into life as Sydney’s swingsters and rockabillies fill the streets in all their fabulous finery.

Download a schedule and a map.


Leave the car at home.
For detailed public transport information visit or call 131 500 closer to the event. For information on road closures, alternate traffic routes and parking restrictions visit or call 132 701 closer to the event.

Cycle to Festival First Night and enjoy free bike parking at The Domain and Hyde Park. The bike parking at the Domain is located behind the back stage compound thanks to the Office of Environment and Heritage. The nearest street intersection is Corner of Art Gallery Road and Hospital Road.

Venue Access information

Festival First Night Access to the City and Hyde Park
All areas of Festival First Night are accessible. We recommend travelling South along George Street to arrive at the managed access point at the corner of George and King Street, from here a traffic controller will guide you eastbound on King Street then left into Pitt Street for set down and pick up. There is a small area for vehicles to pull into, and for passengers to disembark. Wheelchair access is available from this point to the CBD and Hyde Park.

Access at The Domain
The Domain is wheelchair accessible. An accessible viewing area for patrons with a disability and their guests is located on the eastern side of The Domain between tower 6 and 7.

Limited spaces will be available for RTA Mobility Parking Scheme Permit Holders and must be booked before the event on 02 8006 5700.

No BYO alcohol. No glass.

Food and beverages will be on sale throughout the event at the Domain, Hyde Park near St James, Bar Europa on Elizabeth St, and also at St Mary's Cathedral Forecourt.

Festival First Night Logos


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