AU ABROAD

A photo diary of Sydney Festival Village for 2015 - Hyde Park, Sydney (Open through Australia Day)

We're now entering the second week of Sydney Festival 2015, coming off some very strong performances ranging from live music and cabaret performances to adult circus and large-scaled theatre productions. The annual event always brings with it a huge platform for culture, attempting to appeal to every taste while also expanding these tastes and setting people on the ever-interesting course of discovery. While it does this, there's a little pop-up base from which Sydney Festival operates, the Sydney Festival Village in Hyde Park, inviting everyone in this beautiful city to come and enjoy a unique and wonderful atmosphere for no cost at all.

If you haven't visited already, you must get down to Sydney Festival Village before it closes up for another year. This addition of the adored pop-up is much larger than previous years, with more playful - and in some cases, exclusive - food options, activities for pretty much everyone, free live music that is actually great, and cosy temporary bars. For those who haven't yet experienced it, here's a little preview of what you've been missing out on so far; hurry; you've only got till 26th January.

Well you know what this is. Pick up your tickets for paid events from here, or check to see if there's any last minute access you can wrangle to that sold out Limbo performance. Take advantage of the 'Tix for Next to Nix' booth, which offers $25 tickets for all performances that take place from 3pm that day until 2:30pm the following day. Of course, tickets here are limited and on a first in, best dressed basis.

Before you enter, go check out the nearby Higher Ground. It's not as engaging as 2014's huge jumping castle, but it's a sightly art installation which you can spend a few minutes exploring while you climb up top for the best view of Hyde Park.

The Famous Spiegeltent is the closest performance venue to the entrance. Check the list of what's on here, there's a nice range of small theatre, live music gigs, and cabaret shows to sharpen your cultural appetite.

Yes, that's an open-air library with books from the State Library to keep you occupied between shows. Comfy seating gives you a chance to relax and get through the very diverse selection of fiction and non-fiction here. There's some games too for the kids, and a small area for super-sized lego building.

Gelato Messina and Porteno have collaborated to give you this highly tempting, childishly gleeful Double Down Diner. Get some savoury greatness from the hatted Porteno and then double it down with something deliciously sweet from Messina. If instagram is anything to go by, those Not Chicken & Waffles (gelato and waffles) will go down in Sydney history as the greatest dessert ever.

If you're looking for something a bit later, there's some great stalls serving Pho, Jaffles, snow cones, American diner food, and small snacks right next to The Double Down Diner.

If wine is your thing, you'll want to chill out behind the small live music podium with a glass of Yellow Tail.

There's a pretty great program of free live music that runs all day and all night, until very late hours. You could stumble into a bunch of producers cutting up some D'Angelo into wildly exciting electronica, or you could sit back and sway to some acoustic folk. This a great platform for local talent, and adds brilliantly to the Village vibe. Many of the acts will tell you when they are on next and where you can find more of their music, they may even come down and join you in watching the next act.

There's a big food hall serving Italian street food this year, something completely new. It's a nice place to hang if you're seeking refuge from the sun, which has been pretty glaring as of late. There's some really great pizza here amongst other delicious bites.

Kirin Cider have brought a neat little bar to the Village this year, with a distinctive look right next to the Italian Food Kitchen. Watch out for the water feature here, it cascades down drops of water spelling out the shows on the day; quite cool!

Here's where the wine and cheese lovers will be spending most of their time. These photos were taken before midday so both of these small pop-ups were closed.

This is The Aurora, and it's where the bigger shows in the Village take place. The main daily performance here is Limbo which is back for an encore run after impressing the hell out of everyone last year. This adult circus is essential, no matter who you are. Go see it now.

Sydney Festival Village is located in Hyde Park North, next to the Archibald Fountain. It is in operation for the duration of the festival, so until 26th January. For a full progam of what's on during Sydney Festival head to the official website HERE