Perth Festival event at Cottesloe Beach. Image by Kathryn Wells.
Festivals have become ubiquitous in Australia, with hundreds held each year. Some are as small as the community-based Apollo Bay Music Festival and Thirroul Seaside and Arts Festival, while others, such as the Falls Festival and Woodford Folk Festival, are able to bring international performers to Australian audiences and showcase Australian works.
Arts and cultural festivals
Each capital city has a festival. Major festivals are:
Sydney Festival (January)
Each year the Sydney Festival offers a rich and diverse program spanning all art forms and including dance, theatre, music, visual arts, film, forums and large-scale free outdoor events. For three weeks in January the festival hosts around 80 events involving upwards of 500 artists from Australia and abroad. In any given year, it makes use of most of the main theatres across the breadth of the city and also has a commitment to the presentation of quality, large-scale outdoor events such as the iconic Domain Series.
National Multicultural Festival, Canberra (February)
The National Multicultural Festival is held over four days and features the very best in local, national and international music, dance, food and creative arts. Festival favourites include the Food and Dance Spectacular, the Greek Glendi, Carnivale, the International Concert and the Pacific Islander Showcase. The Festival Fringe complements the mainstream festival, and provides a place for artists who break traditional barriers to bring their work to a wider audience.
Red lotus flower floating in the reflection pool in front of Winthrop Hall, by Korean pop artist Choi Jeong Hwa for Perth International Arts Festival, March 2012. Image by Kathryn Wells.
Perth International Arts Festival (February–March)
The Perth International Arts Festival is the oldest annual international multi-arts festival in the southern hemisphere and is Western Australia's premier cultural event. The first Perth Festival was in 1953 and it now offers the people of Western Australia some of the best international and contemporary drama, theatre, music, film, visual arts, street arts, literature, comedy and free community events. Some other events in the festival include the Contemporary Culture program and the Perth Visual Arts Festival.