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a long list of creative events to check out this summer
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a long list of creative events to check out this summer

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Pop these on your summer calendar, if you fancy. 

Though we’re never opposed to vegging out at home in our trackie-dacks, there are some days where it feels good for our brains and bods to see art and culture in the proverbial flesh (instead of on a streaming service). To help you feel inspired to walk out the front door, we’ve gathered a few rad cultural events taking place around Australia this summer. 

ADELAIDE

Sky Song – Adelaide Fringe Gaze at the stars and hundreds of drones, which will take to the sky in gobsmackingly cool formations to the poetry and song of First Nations artists. Legendary singer-songwriter Archie Roach will narrate the event, which touches on themes of reconciliation, belonging and connection to country. If you don’t get around to Sky Song, there’s heaps more on offer at Adelaide Fringe. After all, it’s largest open-access arts festival in the Southern Hemisphere. 

February 18 to March 20
Adelaide Showground – Main Arena
Rose Terrace, Goodwood Rd, Wayville, South Australia
More details here

Adelaide Makers Market – Victoria Square Get your mitts on stocking stuffers, yummy foods and rad holiday goodies at the Adelaide Makers Market. Held at Victoria Square from the folks behind the Ebenezer Night Markets, this year’s Makers Market will feature 72 stallholders, DJ sets and a market bar. 

Friday, December 10, 3.30pm - 9.30pm
Victoria Square, City
Learn more here

MELBOURNE

Melbourne Music Week Hip hip hooray! Gigs have finally returned to Australia’s live music capital. After an absolutely devastating two years, there’s never been a better time to show your support for local musos. Melbourne Music Week will host over 300 acts, including Alice Skye and Soju Gang, as well as movie screenings and panels. 

December 3 - 12
Check out the program here

NGV Friday Nights The NGV’s Friday Nights concert series is great for folks who love feeling arty-farty and intellectual as much as they love a festive shindig. Catch some rad gigs while perusing the NGV’s awesome art collection after-hours. This year’s program includes Edd Fisher, Tanzer, Afrodisiac and Banoffee. 

Fridays, December 10 - April 22, 6pm - 10pm
NGV International, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne
See who’s on here

SYDNEY

Sydney Festival Top-notch artists, performers and musicians will take part in the Sydney Festival, the harbour city’s annual summertime celebration of the arts. There’s so much on it’ll make your head spin, but some highlights include Symphony Under the Stars, the Magical Putt Putt multi-art funfair, The Teskey Brothers with Orchestra Victoria and Qween Lear, an immersive, theatrical rave celebrating the heyday of Sydney’s nightlife scene.

January 6 - 30
Peep the events guide here

Elevate Sydney Wowzers. Now’s your chance to hang out on the Cahill Expressway without any traffic – unless you count 30,000 other partygoers and 180 performers. For the first time ever, Sydney will host a six-day concert on the expressway overlooking Circular Quay, with big names like Tim Minchin, Baker Boy, Electric Fields and Tones and I set to perform. 

January 1 - 6
Cahill Expressway, Circular Quay
Get your mitts on tix here

REGIONAL NSW

Tamworth Country Music Festival Grab your fiddle and your banjo; it’s time to get your twang on. Tamworth, Australia’s country music capital, will host 700 country artists, like Kasey Chambers, over 100 venues. 

January 14 - 23
Here’s more info

BRISBANE

BrisStyle Makers Market Maybe this year will be the year you don’t have to do any last-minute Chrissie shopping? The folks at BrisStyle are here to help. The non-profit creatives’ community hosts the annual Twilight Markets in King George Square, along with another two makers’ markets throughout December. 

December 3, 4pm - 9pm, King George Square, Brisbane City
December 4, 4pm - 9pm, Distillery Rd Market, 124 Distillery Rd, Eagleby
December 11, 9am - 3pm, Queensland Museum, Corner of Grey & Melbourne Streets, South Brisbane
Learn more here

Mountain Goat Valley Crawl A free, multi-venue festival around Fortitude Valley? Who are we to resist? This year, the Mountain Goat Valley Crawl will bring 36 emerging interstate and local acts to nine Valley venues, including Black Bear Lodge, Greaser and The Brightside. Settle in or hop around between different acts. Did we mention it’s free?

Saturday, February 22, 5pm
Check it out here

REGIONAL QUEENSLAND

The Long Sunset Make the most of the summer sun by driving up to Queensland’s oh-so-lovely Scenic Rim. That’s where you’ll find The Long Sunset, a one-day festival featuring Angus and Julia Stone, Ballpark Music, Babe Rainbow and Hatchie. 

February 12, 2pm - 10pm
Elysian Fields, 3042 Beaudesert Nerang Rd, Canungra, QLD
Nab tickets here 

CANBERRA

Sunset Cinema Why choose between fresh air and screen time when you can have both? This summer, Sunset Cinema will screen new blockbusters, like Marvel’s Shang-Chi, as well as holiday classics, like Home Alone and Die Hard.

November 25 - February 26
Eucalypt Lawn, Australian National Botanic Gardens
Peruse the film listings here

Christmas Village Markets

Here’s one for the littles. The Haig Park Village Markets at Braddon will host a holiday-themed makers market over three days in December. There will be Christmas carols, a summer festive drinks garden and Santa meet-and-greets. 

Sundays, December 5, 12 and 19, 9am - 2pm
Haig Park, Lonsdale and Girrahween Streets, Braddon
More deets here

HOBART

MONA FOMA Annual art and music festival MONA FOMA (DARK MOFO’s sister event) has been tight-lipped about its full programme so far, but we do know that Midnight Oil will be there, and that there will be some eccentric stuff going on (that’s MONA’s style, after all). If you’re from the north side of the Apple Isle, MONA FOMA’s first weekend takes place in Launceston. 

January 28 - 31
Learn more here

REGIONAL TASMANIA

Cygnet Folk Festival Since 1982, top-notch folk artists have been flocking to a tiny, creatively minded hamlet in Tassie’s Huon Valley for the Cygnet Folk Festival. After last year’s pandemic-related cancellation, the festival is back this summer in time to celebrate it’s 40th anniversary. Catch ace folk artists from every sub-genre in various venues around town. 

January 14 - 16
Cygnet, Tasmania
Head to their website for more deets

PERTH

Perth Festival Western Australia’s biggest cultural festival returns this year with the theme of Wardan (Noongar for water). One exciting highlight is Escape, a two-night waterfront experience that includes light displays, music, food, dance and general good times. 

February 11 - March 6
Read up on the program here

South Beach Sunset Markets Here’s how to spend a perfect summer evening in Freo: grab some scrummy food and drink from the stalls lining South Beach, corral your mates, then watch the sunset over the Indian Ocean. Choice as. 

Saturdays, 5pm - 9pm
South Beach, Fremantle
Learn more here

DARWIN

Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards This yearly exhibition celebrates the cream of the crop when it comes to emerging and established Indigenous artists. You can visit the virtual gallery here, or see it in person at the Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory

Until February 7
Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory
19 Conacher St, The Gardens
Clickety-clack here for details

Summer Camp Festival Summer Camp, Australia’s first touring festival of queer music and culture, kicks off this February in Darwin with an absolutely stacked line-up of international and local acts, including Big Freedia, The Veronicas, Cub Sport and Ladyhawke. 

February 26, 4pm
Darwin Showgrounds
Winnellie, NT
Pick up tix here