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Sydney Festival for free

Although Sydney Festival has lost its inclusive first day and night events in the CBD, there’s still plenty of opportunities for penny-pinchers to get in on the festival action.

We’ve picked our highlights of the festival freebies.

Summer Sounds in the Domain with Chaka Khan 

The Queen of Funk brings her soulful sounds to the Domain for a night of rock, pop, jazz and, of course, funk. Khan was the frontwoman of 70s band Rufus before embarking on her solo career, which kicked off with the iconic I’m Every Woman (long before Whitney Houston recorded it). She’s supported by Hot Dub Time Machine, a travelling dance party that works its way through 60 years of hits; from Bill Haley to Skrillex.

Duck-WEBRubber Duck

Ready, set, Instagram! Florentijn Hofman’s five-storey high creation floats into Parramatta this year, after stealing hearts in Darling Harbour in 2013. The much-loved creature is a social media favourite; if you haven’t Facebooked, Instagrammed or Tweeted a snap of the duck, you mightn’t be a true Sydney-sider. We can only hope it won’t suffer the same fate as it did in Taiwan a few weeks back.

Sacrilege 

If the Rubber Duck wasn’t enough inflatable fun for you, there’s always Sacrilege (pictured above, video below), a life-sized inflatable Stonehenge replica. Thankfully, it’s not just for kids – everyone is invited to take a bounce. The work, designed by Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller was hugely popular when it first appeared in London in 2012, and is in Hyde Park for the duration of the festival.

Symphony in the Domain

There’s nothing quite like bringing your own picnic rug to the Domain, fighting off the crowds for the best spot on the grass, and being swept up in the symphonic sounds. This year, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra will perform Gustav Holst’s orchestral suite The Planets, with Bell Shakespeare’s John Bell on hand to bring some drama to the proceedings. And there’ll be fireworks.

Sydney2-WEBMerchants Store

Argentinean artist Leandro Erlich brings his perspective-skewing artwork to Sydney with Merchants Store. Using a gigantic, strategically placed mirror, and a 19th Century building facade, which is actually a floor, visitors to its Darling Harbour home will have the power to defy gravity.

Parra Opening Party

The opening celebrations have shifted from the Sydney’s CBD to the West this year, with the Parra Opening Party (or ‘POP’ as they’re referring to it) taking over Parramatta’s CBD. The musical line up includes New Zealand-based soul singer Bella Kalolo, Ben Caplan and the Casual Smokers, Hot Dub Time Machine and Ukes of Today, a group of four Marrickville school friends who put their unique ukulele twist on contemporary and classic rock songs.

Jonathan Toubin

Sydney Town Hall will transform into ‘Paradiso’, inspired by the Amsterdam rock venue of the same name. To close eight nights of hot music, DJ Jonathan Toubin will be playing the best of rock n roll and soul into the early hours of the morning. There’ll even the chance for party-goers to strut their stuff in Toubin’s legendary Dance Off.

Some paid events worth splashing out on – Dido & Aeneas, Black Diggers, Amanda Palmer, The Shadow King and Othello: The Remix

 

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