What's on in May

En avant! Your city awaits.

02 May, 2024    Sydney Festival


Vivid May Music highlights 

Our wintry sister-fest Vivid Sydney is just around the corner, so let’s kick off with music highlights from the festival's first week.

If you’re down for a dance, the iconic Sydney Opera House studio parties are back. Our picks of the studio sessions are House of Mince takeover featuring The Illustrious Blacks (who blew the roof off Club 77 last time they were in town) and the Astral People takeover feature UK dub legend Mala. Different BPMs, same big vibes. Throwing down nearby in the Utz-Utzon room, ferocious up-and-coming rapper Vv Pete, whose nasty bass lines featured in our New Sounds of Sydney playlist last month.  

For something grand, beautiful and full of emotion, Texas, Townsville and NZ collide when Spunk Records celebrate 25 years featuring Explosions in the Sky, The Middle East and Aldous Harding in one night. Finally, the inimitable Jonti presents new album Moonblades.  

More music 

And there’s plenty more music across Sydney, like Festival-favourite Cumbiamuffin and Midnight Tea Party at Leichardt’s beloved dive, Crowbar, which will also host the legendary You Am I a week later – if you can get your hands on a re-sale ticket that is. 

Aussie rock duo Polish Club hits Spiegeltent, whilst fabulous local funk fixture Thunderfox is up north at Avalon RSL. In the inner west, violinst and William Barton collaborator Véronique Serret (who featured in Sydney Symphony Under the Stars: Pictures in the Sky) hits the Great Club.  

Our picks for dance music: Eden Burns at Ambercrombie this Saturday and The Wharehouse Project featuring recent Sydney Festival alumni Kelly Lee Owens and Bonobo, plus techno queen HAAi, Paula Tape and more.  

Our pick for classical music: Mahler’s Song of the Earth, directed by Richard Tognetti and performed by Australian Chamber Orchestra at City Recital Hall. Set to be *chef’s kiss*.  


A wonderfully eclectic selection of dance this month. Martial arts meets Chinese dance when Hong Kong Dance Company hits Seymour Centre with Convergence, whilst Bangarra presents a bold First Nations collaboration at Sydney Opera House, Horizon. Sydney Dance Company presents contemporary excellence with Momenta, whilst Vivid invites you to Shifting Perspectives, an immersive dance and light installation experience where dancers glide mysteriously around mirrored plinths, and around you.  

Finally, dance lovers must check out Études / Circle Electric, an Australian Ballet double-bill exploring traditional technique in its first half, and a contemporary upheaval by Stephanie Lake in the second.  

Event fruit salad 

And in your monthly mixed bag, May brings the convergence of beautifully expressed ideas that is Sydney Writers’ Festival, where you can hear from a host of fantastic authors and thinkers, and of course pick up your next read or ten.  

Vivid offers unusual immersive experiences like A Thousand Ways: An Encounter, where you and a stranger across the glass follow instructions to create an experience bespoke to the two of you.  

Anthony LaPaglia stars in the Arthur Miller classic, Death of a Salesman, at Theatre Royal Sydney, and two family-friendly exhibitions closing this month are worth a look: Ocean Photographer of the Year at the Australian National Maritime Museum, and Ramses & the Gold of the Pharaohs at the Australian Museum.  

Finally, Australia’s annual National Reconciliation Week is almost upon us. “Now more than ever” is the fitting theme for the first Reconciliation Week to fall since the referendum vote for a Voice to Parliament, and we hope to see many Festival-goers getting involved.  




Register Interest