Sydney Festival receives $1.7m from State Government

NSW Premier and Minister for Western Sydney, The Hon. Barry O’Farrell, announced last night that Sydney Festival will receive $1.7m supplementary funding.

The $1.7m includes $500,000 specifically for a program of events in Western Sydney, building on Sydney Festival’s commitment to presenting work in Western Sydney since 2003. The $500,000 will enable Sydney Festival to further expand these activities, working collaboratively with Parramatta City Council on an exciting and comprehensive ten-day Festival of free and ticketed events.

The Premier announced the funding boost, saying that it was part of the Government’s pledge to deliver more events in Western Sydney.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Western Sydney families to attend and enjoy Festival events in their region. To be able to enjoy a concert or stage performance without having to travel into the city will be great for families and seniors.

“It is estimated Sydney Festival contributes more than $50 million to the NSW economy each year. [The Festival in Western Sydney] will also be a boost for the Western Sydney economy as visitors eat, drink and maybe do a spot of shopping” the Premier said.

Of the $1.7m, $1.2m will be directed towards the overall program of events and will ensure that Sydney Festival remains as one of Australia’s leading annual arts events.

Festival Director Lindy Hume was enthusiastic about the news, “This is a wonderful demonstration of the state government’s confidence in Sydney Festival to transform Sydney each summer with art, music, ideas and the imagination of the world’s most extraordinary artists.

“The additional funding for the Parramatta program will enable us to truly celebrate Sydney – a city which has not one but two CBDs. We plan to reflect Parramatta’s dynamism and cultural diversity with a program that not only welcomes local audiences but will also have city audiences jumping on trains and Rivercats to Parramatta to be where the action is in 2012.

“Our plans include a free opening celebration focussing on the Parramatta River, a week of dynamic performances (including a Festival Bar) in Riverside Theatres and the return of Festival Inside Out to Parramatta Park, featuring free performances by two of Australia’s premiere performing arts companies.”

The Lord Mayor of Parramatta, Cr John Chedid, was also pleased with the news, “This is a major announcement that recognises the value of Parramatta as a thriving arts, entertainment, event and cultural destination.

“Over the past two years Parramatta has grown significantly as an ‘events-led’ City, capable of attracting and hosting major initiatives that have brought many communities together and showcased the diversity of our region. This new announcement can only add to that reputation. With a thriving dining culture, one of the busiest performing arts centres in Sydney and with plenty of lush parklands and open spaces, Parramatta is a great option for major events and festivals,” Mr Chedid said.

Sydney Festival will run 7–29 January 2012, with the ten-day Festival in Western Sydney within these dates.