Mardi Gras in Sydney men in Speedos.

Sydney: A City of Festivals

August 3, 2011

in events, festivals

Another one’s tucked under the belt. Another festival, that is.

As I spent Sunday afternoon traipsing around the Aroma Festival, which features coffee, tea and sweets vendors, I realized a) I don’t remember this festival from this time last year, b) I’ve been to a lot of festivals since I came to Sydney because c) Sydney has a lot of festivals.

I’ve explored so many of these events because most are free, provide free samples (I like free) and give me regular doses of art and culture, which I sort of need to feel fulfilled. While the below covers the list of festivals I’ve attended, it by no means covers all the festivals in Sydney, especially when you consider events happening in the surrounding suburbs.

Sydney Festival

It’s like an arts orgy — music (much of it free), dance, art. It’s here that we met Arrested Development before they performed their free concert in Martin Place. You can pay to see extended concerts by some of the free acts and cabaret-style entertainment set up in Hyde Park. The January line-up of events is a good way to kick the post-holiday slump.ย 

Chinese New Year

This February holiday is a big deal given Sydney’s large Asian population. Red lanterns adorn the tree branches, and talent contests, food huts and shopping stalls and a parade make up part of the festivities, centered largely near Central Station.

Picture of red lanterns in tree.

Fringe Festival

Philly had a Fringe Festival and I went every year with a good friend. This one is a little less funky, but it still gives a good range of theater performances, music and art displays in the Inner West suburbs. The coolest thing I did at Fringe last year was take a “mystery bus” to a secret warehouse venue where a world music band played into the night.

Mardi Gras

Shirtless men in swim trunks, colorful costumes and elaborate floats make up this annual parade celebrating the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community on the streets of Darlinghurst.

Mardi Gras in Sydney men in Speedos.

Writer’s Festival

Naturally, I geek out on writing and writers, so this week-long May event had my name written all over it in 2010. Readings, panel discussions and interactive workshops featuring some well-known Australian and international writers fill up the program.


Pretty lights! Changing backdrops on spaces like the Customs Building, colorfully lit-up trees and glowing lighthouses and pop-up art sculptures attract young and old to this June happening.

Lit-up blue mini lighthouse.

Jazz and Latin Festivals

These are two separate, free Darling Harbour events where bands and dance troupes set up on different floats and stages to blow into their brass and sway their hips to the beat.

Winter Festival

Ice skating. On the beach. Not up my alley, but cool to watch. A cute little winter village, fake snow and free cups of Chai tea made this fun for me.

Ice skating on the beach.

What are you favorite festivals inย  the world?

7 Comments - Add Yours!

  1. Chris

    How did you find the Writer’s Festival? By the time I looked into it, every single interesting talk or class had been taken and I was left with children’s writing courses out in Penrith. Most frustrating ๐Ÿ™

    And no mention of the recently attended Aroma Festival? :-p

  2. Abby

    Fun! I liked living in Austin because of the festivals/activities/events. Always something new! Now I’m back in a tourist destination with no need… I miss it!

    1. Lauren Post author

      I’ve never been to Austin, but I’ve only heard great things. Maybe you can start your own festival in Vegas ๐Ÿ™‚


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