Sydney really turns on its charm in summer and with the cheerful, festive atmosphere already kicking in, you can be certain that next year will be no different. If you’ve already started crafting your summer bucket list, be sure to reserve a special spot for Sydney Festival 2024. For three weeks from January 5-28, this massive cultural celebration swings into town with a program of free and ticketed theatre, music, dance, visual art and immersive live performances. Festival director Olivia Ansell has curated a program of local and international performing arts superstars who'll be performing on all of Sydney's top stages and in some unusual locations as well. Here are 15 unforgettable events that you can book now.
Sydney Festival 2024 kicks off with a bang at Summerground, a loud and lively musical playground popping up in Tumbalong Park from January 5-7. Groove to a mix of deep soul, dirty funk, indie rock and more from the likes of Grammy nominated Afro-Cuban sensation Cimafunk, acid jazz and funk group the Brand New Heavies and Melbourne rock’n’roll siblings Josh and Sam Teskey of the Teskey Brothers.
If you’re thirsty for a big night or a culture hit then head to the festival’s newest summer hotspot at the beautiful wharves in Walsh Bay. You can experience more than 40 knockout events at the Thirsty Mile across eight stellar theatres and club spaces. Highlights includes Victoria Falconer and Hey Dowling's Smashed: the Night Cap featuring a world-class ensemble of cabaret, drag, circus and dive band performers; a cutting-edge dance performance of GöteborgsOperans Danskompani at Roslyn Packer Theatre; and an award-winning palindromic call to action, Are we not drawn onward to new erA.
Music fans can enjoy a free starlit summer concert by Sydney Symphony Orchestra; a theatrical tribute to the Warumpi Band; a standout show by one of the world’s finest sitar players Anoushka Shankar; a free large-scale Vigil featuring a choir of First Nations youth; and a free opera masterpiece on the harbour called Il Tabarro. The hotly-anticipated new musical from Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall (the team behind Muriel’s Wedding the Musical), Bananaland lands at Riverside Theatres from January 3-14, following the story of Australia’s least-loved punk rock protest band, Kitty Litter, and their unlikely turn as a children's act.
It wouldn’t be Sydney Festival without a show at Sydney Opera House including celebrated Brazilian choreographer Lia Rodrigues’ jubilant dance work, Encantado, and a thrilling multimedia murder mystery, Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World.
For something out of the ordinary, there is also the incredible Cambodian circus, White Gold at Seymour Centre, and a giant female octopus, Te Wheke–a–Muturangi: The Adversary, who will take up residence at Watermans Cover in Barangaroo throughout the festival from January 5-28.