Eight arts and culture festivals transform Australian cities this winter
Australian cities host a number of impressive citywide festivals this winter. The all-new Rising and Illuminate gives established festivals like Dark Mofo and Vivid Sydney a run for their money, and smaller events like the Darwin Festival and Brisbane Comedy Festival prove that local talent can be even more impressive than a series of international headliners. If you’re already in town, make sure you don’t miss the action. If not, we think these winter parties are worth a visit (don’t blame us if you know what’s ruining your plans).
For 17 days in July, Adelaide hosts large-scale installations, immersive virtual reality works and the return of the Adelaide Ideas Festival in the very first Illuminate program. The festival includes more than 150 installations, performances and events, including 41 world premieres. There’s a mix of paid and free things to do, plus a giant party in the West End taking over Lion Arts Factory, Nexus Arts, Ace Open, Jam Factory, and more. July 16-August 1.
Melbourne’s New Winter Festival has an ambitious program of works by some 750 local artists. Visitors can see a seven-meter-high moon sculpture levitating above a temporary bamboo forest; sound bathing experience in the bush; enter an abandoned ballroom for an exhibition by Patricia Piccinini; and savor a decadent selection of yum cha put together by renowned chef Tony Tan, with offerings from Shandong Mama, Dainty Sichuan and more. Taking place over 12 days, Rising is set to become the “preeminent Asia-Pacific cultural festival”, replacing White Night and the Melbourne International Arts Festival. May 26-June 6.
rising. from Melbourne
This new 10-day festival, created by Destination NSW, features midnight yum cha, moonlight kayaking and a street party in Eveleigh. Sydney Solstice offers over 200 experiences spanning all kinds of interests, from ice skating in Darling Harbor to the new country music festival in Newtown. Highlights include the Queen’s Feast, with a selection of all-female conductors at Sydney Town Hall, and a world premiere by composer and didgeridoo virtuoso William Barton and violinist Véronique Serret under the stars at the Observatory in Sydney. Sydney. June 8 to 20.
The 11-day Top End Festival makes the most of balmy nights with outdoor performances from a selection of the country’s top arts and culture organizations. The lineup includes the all-new Hannah Gadsby stand-up show; Opera Australia’s Carmen; breathtaking acrobatics from Gravity & Other Myths; and an interpretation of the traditional songs, dances and paintings that inspired Gurrumul’s latest album, performed by Yolngu dancers and singers alongside the Darwin Symphony Orchestra. Let go of the cold and head to the NT for your arts and culture. August 5-22.
The Sydney-wide festival of light, music and ideas has moved from its usual May / June slot to August, and although we know there will certainly be screenings on the sails of the Sydney Opera House (it wouldn’t be Vivid without them), we don’t know much more at this point. Until now, Sampa the Great is the first act to be announced for Vivid Live, and Commissioner Ben Marshall says one of the underlying themes of the event series is to showcase Australia’s multi-faceted music communities. Keep an eye out for more details in the coming weeks. August 6-28.
The Midwinter Festival in Tasmania features live music by Confidence Man and Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth; a cathedral of nightly blessings from Pope Alice; a parade of earth deities by Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran; and artist Jonathan Schipper slowly pulls a living room through a small hole in the wall. So the usual antics. The difference this year is that much of Dark Mofo’s 2021 schedule is free. There will also be art installations, live music, and pop-up bars from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. across town, along with festival favorites, Nude Solstice Swim, and communal parties every night. June 16-22.
Brisbane humor festival
Need a good laugh? Tom Ballard, Nina Oyama, Ross Noble, Nat’s What I Reckon, Karen From Finance and Dilruk Jayasinha are all showing at this year’s live comedy festival. Based largely at the Brisbane Powerhouse, as well as a few venues in Fortitude Valley, this year’s Brisbane Comedy Festival features a mix of stand-up, improv and sketch shows alongside storytelling nights like Queerstories and Frocking Hilarious. . Many tix cost less than $ 50. July 16-August 8.
Melt: Festival of queer arts and culture
OK, so this is not a winter festival – but Fall Melt is well worth a look if you are visiting Brisbane. The LGBTQIA + theater, arts and storytelling festival takes over Brisbane Powerhouse for 11 days in May. Melt aims to generate visibility and inclusiveness in the community, and this year’s program includes Colored people – a theatrical blend of words, movement and music addressing patriarchy and under-seasoned food. May 20-30.