Get stuck into all the Australian music at Sydney FestivalBack to
Orchestral magic under a starlit sky. Soul-bearing singer-songwriters like you’ve never seen them before. Dancefloor action from some of our classiest club-hopping exports.
All this and more is on the menu for Sydney Festival 2024, which takes over our fine city in January with the help of an all-star Australian lineup. Sydney Festival’s history of supporting homegrown music runs deep and proud, welcoming certified legends from Nick Cave to Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter.
Here’s a selection of music-focused events that’ll have you brimming with pride.
Rock rowdiness and songs from the heart
This year’s program is stacked with several of Australia’s finest songwriters, from guitar-wielding troubadours to silky R&B voices.
For an incredible date with rock history, Big Name, No Blankets is an epic new rock’n’roll theatre show celebrating the legacy and impact of Australian music icons the Warumpi Band, who emerged in the 1980s to give the world indelible anthems like “Jailanguru Pakurnu”, “My Island Home” and “Blackfella/Whitefella”.
Meanwhile, Australia’s favourite bard Courtney Barnett brings a special two-part performance to City Recital Hall spanning her new instrumental album and elite songbook.
At The Thirsty Mile, you can float away on the ethereal tones of Kee’ahn, or get swept up in the powerful songwriting of Eliza Hull, who’s joined by dancer and movement artist roya the destroya.
Classical, but different
For a classy night of music under the stars, roll out a picnic blanket at Parramatta Park for Sydney Symphony Under the Stars: Pictures in the Sky, which features one of Australia’s leading didgeridoo players and composers, William Barton, plus Iva Davies and more in collaboration with Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
Meanwhile, over at The Neilson, Temperament is a week-long celebration and deconstruction of JS Bach by Australian luminaries Benjamin Skepper, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Ensemble Apex and more.
Familiar faces, surprising settings
With the whole city as our canvas, you’re never far from a one-of-a-kind experience.
Case in point: the Brett Whiteley Studio Sessions, an intimate concert series held at the Australian artist’s former workplace and home in Surry Hills. These shows are some of the hottest tickets at the Festival, with all nights now sold out, including up-close audiences with homegrown gems Jo Davie and Tim Freedman (catch him on the At Home program if you missed out).
To experience another Sydney landmark in a new light, try the New Beginnings Festival at the Australian National Maritime Museum, featuring artists from First Nations, refugee and migrant backgrounds. And free, family friendly and has a lot more to offer than just live music.
Cabaret and musical theatre
For a guaranteed great night out, our cabaret program features a cast of acclaimed Australian performers, including Michael Griffiths exploring life, love and the Pet Shop Boys in It's A Sin: Songs of Love and Shame, Prinnie Stevens singing the blues and Alma Zygier in full jazz virtuoso mode.
If you missed out on tickets to Deborah Conway and Willy Zygier’s Songs From The Book of Life, laugh it off at the madcap musical comedy BANANALAND, powered by the songwriting team of Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall.
Dance yourself clean
If you’re craving a dancefloor fix, look no further than a night by the water at Moonshine Bar with two of Australia’s finest house selectors, Tornado Wallace and Fantastic Man, who’ll do their thing amidst our neon installation sensation, Hi-Vis.
For more club sounds in artsy surrounds, the Late Nights at The Thirsty Mile party series hosts trend-setting Sydney party crews Astral People Wavyland for a couple of after-dark dances with TBA lineups.
So now you know – wherever you roam this Sydney Festival, a beloved Australian artist is within reach.
All the Australian music at Sydney Festival:
ACO Up Close: Inspired by Bach
Andrew Bukenya: Bach in Colour
Australian Brandenburg Orchestra: Bach & the Artists
Back Akademie Australia: JS Bach – A Life in Music
Benjamin Skepper: Praeludium y Fuga Remixed
Ensemble Apex: Come Sweet Death
Big Name, No Blankets
Smashed: The Nightcap
Brett Whitely Studio Sessions: Tim Freedman, Jo Davie
Sydney Symphony Under the Stars: Pictures in the Sky
Alma Zygier: Premarital Sextet
Deborah Conway and Willy Zygier: Songs From the Book of Life
Eliza Hull feat. roya the destroya
Finely Tuned: Tornado Wallace & Fantastic Man
It's a Sin: Songs of Love and Shame
Josh Meader Trio
Late Nights at The Thirsty Mile: Astral People
Late Nights at The Thirsty Mile: Wavyland
Michelle Brasier: Average Bear
New Beginnings Festival
Prinnie Stevens: Lady Sings the Blues Volume II
Send for Nellie
Switched On: Courtney Barnett’s End of the Day
The Listies: Make Some Noise
Vigil: The Future
At Home: Hamed Sadeghi in Empty Voices
At Home: Lisa Moore – Show Your Heart