5 All Age Performances and Events under $50 not to be missed at Sydney Festival 2016

Tickets went on sale this week for the 40th Annual Sydney Festival, which is set to take over the city with a wide range of events from January 7th to the 26th. As always, amongst the lineup is an electic array of all age events and performances. Here are the five we think are not to be missed, all either under $50 or free! And read on to the end of the article to find out how you can get your hands on discount tickets during the festival…

5. Fire Bucket

Where? Various Venues in Sydney and Redfern and Parramatta
When? 8-10, 15-17, 22-24 January at 7.30pm
How Much? $44-49
More Details: http://www.sydneyfestival.org.au/2016/fire-bucket

This one just scrapes in at under $50, but it’s one of the most unique events on the Sydney Festival calendar. With every event taking place at a different venue, in backyards across Parramatta, Redfern and Sydney, no two nights will be the same. But every night you’ll be invited to gather around the fire bucket and meet Uncle Wes Marne, a Bidgambul man who will share his stories with the help of his friend Alicia Talbot. Stories of his grandfather’s dreaming, of bitterness and love, and of his life as an Elder living in Mt Druitt. These will be important stories for people of all ages to experience.

4. Cypher

Where? Riverside Theatre, Parramatta
When? Multiple Performances 19th to 24th January
How Much? $35
More Details: https://www.sydneyfestival.org.au/2016/cypher

Cypher is a show made for fans of hip-hop music, dance and culture, and is described as “a supple symphony of movement by four battle-hardened b*boys”. In the unique space, the audience will share the stage with these competitive dancers as they push the boundaries of movement. Leading hip hop dance artist Nick Power is behind the choreography, while sound designer Jack Prest (Future Love Hangover) is bringing us the beats.

3. The People’s Tower and Boxwars

Where? Multiple Venues
When? Multiple Events run through the duration of the festival
How Much? FREE
More Details: http://www.sydneyfestival.org.au/2016/the-peoples-tower-at-darling-harbour

Be you a child at heart – or actually a child – the run of events around cardboard art is pretty exciting this year. It all kicks off with “The People’s Tower at Darling Harbour”, where you can help French artist Olivier Grossetête construct two massive buildings made entirely of cardboard and tape – before returning to watch it all be destroyed (which, let’s be honest, will be the highlight of it all). Running alongside it, and for the duration of the festival, will be the “Boxwars Discovery Trail at Darling Harbour” and the “Boxwars at The Cutaway Barangaroo Reserve”, which will see Australia’s cardboard kings create cardboard sculptures around Darling Harbour, and then help us build our own down at Barangaroo. Only to watch it, also, be destroyed. We hope.

2. DāM-FunK

Where? Riverside Theatre, Parramatta
When? 14th January at 8pm
How Much? $35
More Details: http://www.sydneyfestival.org.au/2016/damfunk-parramatta

Though his show in Hyde Park the next night will be 18+, an all ages audience will have the opportunity to see California’s maverick funk hero DāM-FunK in all his splendid glory at the Riverside Theatre in Parramatta on January 14th. This Stones Throw Records artist is incredible live – so you won’t be disappointed – but having finally released his second record earlier this year after a long six year wait, these shows are going to be all the more special.

The acclaimed record, Invite the Light, features DāM with the likes of Ariel Pink and Snoop Dogg, and though these guests won’t be along for the show, it gives you an idea of the variety of genres DāM interacts with through his music. But at the end of the day, he’s just a whole lotta funk – and you don’t need much more than that.

1. Summer Sounds in the Domain – The Flaming Lips

Where? The Domain, Sydney CBD
When? January 9th from 5pm
How Much? FREE
More Details: https://www.sydneyfestival.org.au/2016/summer-sounds-in-the-domain-flaming-lips

No one should miss any opportunity to see The Flaming Lips live. They are unequivocally one of the best live bands on the planet, which makes this special free concert a huge coup for the festival. From Beatles covers to songs about a robot named Yoshimi, it should all be there with balloons, streamers, confetti and lead singer Wayne Coyne climbing over all of us inside a giant bubble.

Make sure you get to the venue early though – The Domain will fill up well before Wayne and his merry men hit the stage, and you don’t want to be disappointed. With plenty of food and things to do – not to mention support acts from 5pm – it won’t be a day wasted.


For the events that aren’t free, the festival will once again be offering “Tix for Next to Nix” daily, with a limited number of $25 tickets set to be sold for every event (excluding Fire Bucket, unfortunately!) on the day of the performance, to help make the festival accessible for guests of all ages and budgets. To find out how to get your hands on this bargain, head here: https://www.sydneyfestival.org.au/2016/tix-for-next-to-nix

As for details on every other aspect of this incredible and mammoth event, head to the official website: https://www.sydneyfestival.org.au/

Photo of The Flaming Lips by Johnny Au


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Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.