Published in Attractions on 6 January 2016

The Top 10 Free Events at Sydney Festival 2016

Sydney Festival is turning 40 this year, and boy do they know how to throw a party. This year, the Festival boasts a huge 40 free events around Sydney this summer. We’ve picked our top 10 free events that you really don’t want to miss.


The Flaming Lips put on a show like no other. It’s psychedelic pop, overwhelming good-feels and balloons galore, all in The Domain, for free! Don’t miss out on the spectacle happening on Saturday 9th January, but get in early as the venue will reach capacity fast.

5:00pm – 5:30pm: DJ Misbehaviour

5:45pm – 6:30pm: Hermigervill

6:45pm – 7:30pm: Royal Headache

8:00pm – 8:45pm: FM Belfast

9:00pm – 10:30pm: The Flaming Lips

View more information here.

performs on the main stage during day 2 of the 2010 Free Press Houston Summerfest at Eleanor Tinsley Park in Houston, Texas.


Sydney Harbour turns spectacular with Ferrython, one of Australia’s most popular and iconic free events. See our beloved ferries in this hugely popular Australia Day tradition, as they venture from Circular Quay to Shark Island and then back to a glorious finish at the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Pack a picnic and gather on the foreshore to barrack for your favourite ferry.

Don’t forget to enter our Ferrython competition!

View more information here.


In between the construction and demolition of The People’s Tower, children are invited to get creative in BOXWARS’ free cardboard workshops. Kids will build and decorate their own cardboard costumes to wear them home! Or grab a map online and head off on the BOXWARS cardboard Discovery Trail.

View more information here.

BOXWARS Kids Workshops at Darling Harbour Sydney Festival 2016


In celebration of Sydney Festival’s 40th year, see the festival’s history come to life in this fantastic portrait series. Eva Vermandel, a London-based photographer captures beautiful portraits and has done so with many Syd Fest alumni such as David Byrne and Kate Champion, but also manages to capture behind-the scenes staff, volunteers and audience members, paying homage to this historic Sydney event.

Visit the photographic exhibition at UNSW Galleries, or take a walk around Sydney’s CBD to see the public exhibition.

View more information here.


Love funk and soul music? So does Soul of Sydney, a creative family of DJs, musicians, producers, dancers and designers. Show off your dance moves or watch as others do in this all-inclusive party environment.

Think flash-mobs, funk vibes, afrobeat, New York Disco, to 90s hip-hop and more.

View more information here.


A European family of artisans are transforming Prince Alfred Square into a fairground like no other made out of found, reclaimed and recycled objects. Marvels on offer include a Ferris wheel fitted out with toilet seats and a bicycle-powered carousel.  A playground for the young and old, Architectura de Feria is a vintage European wonderland of cogs and curiosities.

View more information here.


If adrenaline rushes are your calling, be part of the Flying Fox at the Ephemeral City at Barangaroo Reserve. Zip line from the Cutaway, though Olivier Grossetête’s The Ephemeral City, past Shaun Gladwell’s Skateboarders vs Minimalism.

View more information here.


Enjoy all the fun and unpredictability of Thank God It’s Friday on a Thursday at Sydney Festival. Richard Glover and James Valentine will be joined by your favourite presenters from 702 ABC Sydney, as they host the ultimate variety show to launch a new year of broadcasting.

If you can’t make the show, just tune in to your radio!

View more information here.


A short ferry ride and a walk away lies the historic Vaucluse House. Pleasure Garden takes this stunning setting and adds music and environmental sounds, weaving through the landscape of Vaucluse House’s outdoor space, commonly known as its pleasure garden.

The event has been inspired by 17th century musician, composer, improviser and nobleman Jacob can Eyck and combines his work with newly composed music of Genevieve Lacey and Jan bang. Pack a picnic and have a stroll through this aural delight.

View more information here.


A classic Sydney Festival event not to be missed. Pack a picnic and head under the stars for this free classic music night to delight.

This year the Sydney Symphony Orchestra is doing something special for Sydney Festival’s 40th birthday; they’ve gathered a repertoire of music performed at Symphony in The Domain over the years to astound us with a ‘best of’ musical journey, with everything from Mendelssohn to Dvořák and Tchaikovskyy and a special appearance by Sydney Philharmonia Choirs.

It’s Sydney Festival’s ruby anniversary and prizes will be awarded for the best-dressed ruby picnic and punter.

View more information here.

Check out Sydney Festival’s other free events here.

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