About Us


Every January, Sydney Festival enlivens and transforms Sydney with a bold cultural celebration based on the highest quality art and big ideas.

The Festival opens each year with the unique Festival First Night - a feast of music, dance and visual spectacle on the streets and in the parks of central Sydney, attracting over 200,000 people. This free event is the curtain raiser to a three week ticketed and free program that reaches an audience of around 1 million people. 

The program is kaleidoscopic in its diversity, from burlesque circus to New York rap to Russian theatre; from contemporary dance to family programs to traditional Indigenous arts practice. In all, the program comprises around 300 performances and 80 events performed by over 1000 artists in at least 20 venues each year.  Inclusive programming, a broad range of free events and accessible pricing policies for the ticketed shows means that Sydney Festival is open to all, welcoming Sydneysiders and visitors from wherever they live.

Tickets to all performances are available on the day for only $25 at the Tix for Next to Nix booth in Martin Place in the heart of Sydney's CBD and tickets to an eclectic range of short sharp shows collected under the About an Hour series are sold for only $30.

Festival First Night
is on the first Saturday of the Festival and the next two Saturdays offer more free concerts in The Domain precinct of the Botanic Gardens.  Summer Sounds has featured the sounds of Brazil, Gypsies, New Orleans and Mali and is followed the next weekend by the orchestral power of the Sydney Symphony.  Throughout January the Festival Garden is home to The Famous Spiegeltent with a capitvating program of burlesque and music which makes the most of the summer nights in the atmospheric setting of Hyde Park and the Beck's Festival Bar in the historic Hyde Park Barracks heaves with the energy of bands and DJs until late on most nights.

More than any other cultural event, Sydney Festival defines Sydney’s personality. For over three decades we have presented international artists who guarantee headlines, and whose presence in Sydney adds to the Festival’s buzz and prestige. Names like Björk, Brian Wilson, Grace Jones, Elvis Costello, AR Rahman, Cate Blanchett, Ralph Fiennes, Robert Lepage, Peter Sellars and Sir Ian McKellen alongside some of the world’s great companies - Wayne McGregor's Random Dance, Cheek by Jowl, Gate Theatre and the Schaubühne Berlin to name only a few – share the Festival with the most exciting artists and companies in Australia.

Sydney Festival’s audacious contemporary programming positions it at the forefront of arts practice in Australia and up there as one of the most wonderful festivals in the world.


Her Excellency Prof. Marie Bashir AC CVO
Governor of New South Wales


The Hon. Barry O'Farrell MP
Premier of New South Wales and Minister for Western Sydney

Clover Moore MP
Lord Mayor of Sydney


The Hon. George Souris MP
Minister for Tourism Major Events Hospitality and Racing, and Minister for the Arts

Monica Barone
Simon Corah
Matthew Melhuish
Sam Weiss
Geoff Wilson

Alternate Directors

Barry Buffier (for the Premier of NSW)|
Mary Darwell (for the Minister for the Arts)
Ann Hoban (for Monica Barone)

Quick Links
Site Map
Multilingual Festival
© Sydney Festival 2011 | Web Design: The Nest  |  Web Development: Tonic