Blog & Insights

Sydney’s Festival Guide

Sydney is a city of festivals.Year-round, the city comes together to celebrate everything from art to food. Iglu has rounded up some of the best ways to celebrate the city – whatever the season!

Autumn: At the beginning of March each year, Sydney celebrates its gay and lesbian community with the flamboyant Sydney Mardi Gras, one of the world’s biggest Mardi Gras celebrations. In 2013, the street party and parade is headlined by pop starlet and gay icon Kylie Minogue, who will lead the way for a wild night of sparkles, dancing and fun.

Get into the spirit of things with a costume, and if you head along to Oxford Street in Darlinghurst for the parade, be prepared to get up-close-and-personal with other party-people as everyone squishes close to get a good view of the dancers and floats – expect lots of very skimpy costumes (read: bare bum cheeks)!

Winter: Get cosy during winter with popcorn and some of the world’s best movies. Each June, Sydney cinemas invite you to snuggle up at the Sydney Film Festival. With cheap student tickets, red carpets and once-in-a-lifetime screenings, make sure to book your tickets early! It’s the perfect winter first-date option – we recommend doing your research on the film before heading along so you can have some impressive conversation starters at dinner after.

Spring: Spring brings more international music to town, with the huge dance and indie fest Stereosonic taking over Sydney Olympic park. Acts have included Calvin Harris, Major Lazer and Diplo.

If you want to get to know your neighbors better in spring, head along to Sydney’s 2 biggest suburban festivals, Surry Hills Festival and Newtown Festival. Whole day events held in local parks, these aren’t your local market day – instead, expect big headliners like King Tide and up and coming local acts, along with stalls, food and dancing, every October/November. Entry is by gold coin donation! Sydney Food Festival also takes place over the month of October, bringing over 500 food-based events to town, including “Night Noodle Markets” in Hyde Park, foodie film screenings and more. Check out the website and book in for wine tastings, and experimental cooking nights. Don’t be afraid to lurk around the markets waiting for free samples – some of Australia’s best chefs are often there giving away snacks – yum!

Summer: Summer is festival season in Sydney, and you’ll never be without something to do – just open a newspaper or check out street posters to find a treasure trove of fun.

One of the warm weather highlights is Sydney Festival, a month-long celebration of music and arts that takes over the city and outer suburbs like Parramatta in January. With many free events, Sydney Festival is an opportunity for the city to see some of the world’s best performers. Past Sydney Festivals have featured international superstars Grace Jones, and Bjork, street parties and more. Another great summer festival is Big Day Out, Australia’s best known music festival, which happens at the end of January each year and attracts big-name international music acts, with everyone from Kanye West to Rage Against The Machine taking the stage. The whole day music-fest is held at Sydney Olympic Park. Two tips though: make sure to purchase your tickets to Big Day Out early (if the headliners are good, it will sell out fast) – and remember to take sunscreen or a hat so you don’t wind up bright red and delirious with mild heatstroke at the end of the night. That’s never fun (we know from personal experience).

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