14 Performances You Can't Miss at Sydney Festival 2014!

From mirrors in the streets, to bullets in your teeth, Sydney Festival will have it all when it kicks off this Thursday night. But let’s face it – there’s just too much to choose from! So to help, we’ve listed 14 performances and attractions you can’t miss at Sydney Festival 2014!

January 8th to 26th (Closed Mondays) – The Spiegeltent, Hyde Park – Tickets and Details.

Following a sell-out London season, Sydney Festival’s Spiegeltent will be the home for the wild, wicked and out of the world circus-circus LIMBO. Each year Sydney Festival delivers a fantastic variety show at its Spiegeltent and this year LIMBO looks no different. Not to be missed!

“AM I” – Shaun Parker & Company
9th to 12th January at Sydney Opera House, Drama Theatre – Tickets and Details.

A fantastic choreographer and an extremely talented dance company fuse once more with some inspired music. Shaun Parker is renowned for his collaborations and AM I looks to be yet another exciting and noteworthy installment in his body of work. With Nick Wales (Sarah Blasko, Sydney Symphony) and Damien Cooper’s design also involved, no doubt AM I will be a feast for the visual and aural senses.

9th to 23rd January – Darling Harbour – FREE! – More Details.

We always love seeing art hit the streets, and this one is grander than most. We’ll leave it to Sydney Festival to describe this one: Merchants Store may look like an ordinary 19th-century Sydney building from afar, until you spot the people dangling from the windows, climbing up the walls and crawling over the roof. With a precisely positioned mirror and a building facade that’s actually a floor, suddenly anyone has the power to defy gravity.

10th Jan – Parramatta CBD – FREE! – More Details.

With no opening night celebrations in the Sydney CBD as in past years, we recommend heading out West for the recently added Parramatta Opening Party festivities, which sees Sydney Festival expand its reach into areas once ignored. It’s always a fantastic day and this year will be no different, with Rubber Ducks, Ben Caplan, Boxwar Battles, Hot Dub Time Machine and soul/funk sensation Lee Fields and The Expressions, amongst much, much more!

11th Jan – Summer Sounds in the Domain – FREE! – More Details.

I don’t think much needs to be said on this front. The woman is a queen.

15th Jan – City Recital Hall, Angel Place – Tickets and Details.

This electronic duo love setting themselves apart with experiments that encompass complete albums. They once chopped up folk music from the civil war era and strung all the sounds together into one of the best electronica albums released in 2003 (‘Civil War’). I have no doubt that this will be a mind-bending show.

16th January at Paradiso, Sydney Town Hall – Tickets and Details.

John Murry stands out as one of the most raw and insightful artist interviews of 2013 – his grasp on Americana music is haunting and incredibly moving. John Grant is similarly arresting as a performer and songwriter, so to have both on the same bill, is going to be a real treat for Sydney Festival audiences.

16th January – City Recital Hall Angel Place – Tickets and Details.

Sonic Youth’s co-founder Lee Ranaldo presents a piece inspired by Hurricane Sandy, and Mike Patton from Faith No More tackles Luciano Berio’s 1965 composition Laborintus II, a montage of spoken word, instrumentation and electronics. Two performances that aren’t to be missed, and all crammed into the one, incredible night. You can’t go wrong here.

17th to 20th January – Bay 20, Carriageworks – Tickets and Details.

This is one of the more intriguing performances at Sydney Festival that’s for sure. Dubbed a “theatrical magic show”, Rob Drummond (as “William Wonder” – we don’t know if there’s any relation to “Tony Wonder”) will use illusion and psychological magical to explore the life and death of a famed magician who died 100 years ago attempting the infamous “Bullet Catch” trick onstage. With the help of the audience no less.

18th Jan – State Theatre, Sydney – Tickets and Details.

The late, great Sun Ra will forever permeate the complexity of Jazz. His Arkestra continue to tour the world; Sydney’s turn to host this legendary band should not be taken for granted. This is the legacy of an artist which has influenced everyone from Andre 3000 of OutKast to Mike Huckaby, of course it’s going to be memorable.

19th Jan – Paridiso at Town Hall – Tickets and Details.

One of the most recognisable of Nick Cave’s regular collaborations, Mick Harvey will draw on his own undeniable talent as well as a full band to pay tribute to French provocateur Serge Gainsbourg and his inspiring body of work. Harvey’s solo albums ‘Intoxicated Man’ and ‘Pink Elephants’ are both interpretations of Gainsbourg’s work; they will be given new life in the surrounds of Town Hall in what will surely be one of the stand-outs of Sydney Festival.

23rd and 24th January – Sydney Opera House, Concert Hall – Tickets and Details.

Acclaimed composer Philip Glass reunites with Qatsi Trilogy director Godfrey Reggi, thirty years after Koyaanisqatsi, to deliver the brand new film Visitors. For this special Sydney Festival presentation, Philip Glass will be joined by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra to deliver a live score for a one off, very special performance we’re very excited about. And you should be too!

24th Jan – Paradiso at Town Hall – Tickets and Details.

2013 was a massive year for this growing dance label, especially with Flume achieving much more than anyone could have expected. To showcase more of the forward-thinking roster, Future Classic has put together a huge line-up with international heavyweights Jacques Renault and Medlar, along with Touch Sensitive, Wave Racer, and the Future Classic DJ’s. Dance lovers won’t want to miss this.

24th & 26th January at The Spiegeltent, Hyde Park – Tickets and Details.

Ahmed Gallab’s work is material I was hooked onto earlier in 2013 and I’m really happy to see he’s bringing his stuff to Sydney. Sinkane represent a melting pot of musical influences and when done justice live, crowds can’t stop moving. Definitely see the four-piece do their thing at the Festival Village.


For all the information you need regarding ticket sales and more, head over to the official Sydney Festival website here: http://www.sydneyfestival.org.au/ – and stay tuned to the AU for all your coverage throughout the month!

Thanks to Sosefina Fuamoli and Chris Singh for their contributions to this article.

Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.