Four Winds Festival is leading the way in regional arts engagement; image supplied
In the past, South Australia wore the badge as the festival state, but it would seem that title is now hotly contested, with arts festivals peppering the calendar nationally through 2019.
With over 430 creative festivals in Victoria alone (according to 2018's Victorian Creative Industries Festivals Review) we can't possibly list them all – but here are some of the major cultural events coming up this year around the country, so that you can add them to your diary in advance.
Please note that we haven't included film festivals in this list, as such events are covered by our sister site screenhub. For literary events, see our related article: Writers’ Festivals, literary prizes and competitions in 2019.
Tasmania's newest festival, Fringe at the Edge of the World, runs from 3-6 January in North Hobart, and features four nights of uncensored, unjuried, performing arts, including comedy, cabaret and more. Visit www.fringeattheedgeoftheworld.com.au for details.
Sydney Festival returns to transform the city from 9–27 January 2019, featuring everything from circus and cabaret to crowd-sourced trip to the moon. Details at www.sydneyfestival.org.au
The 2019 Midsumma Festival presents a kaleidoscope of queer arts and cultural festivities across Melbourne from 19 January to 10 February. The festival has been celebrating LGBTQIA+ culture since 1988. For full program details, visit www.midsumma.org.au
Mona Foma will be presented in Launceston (TAS) for the first time from 13-20 January. As curator Brian Ritchie says, 'After ten years of blowing people’s minds in Hobart and three wins as Best Contemporary Music Festival in Australia, we’re taking the show on the road to Launceston.’ Clearly you need to book now! Visit the very psychedelic website: mofo.net.au
The third largest Fringe in the world, Perth's FRINGE WORLD runs for 31 days from 18 January to 17 February 2019. Transforming the city's Northbridge precinct, and expanding out across 138 venues and performance spaces throughout Perth, this year's FRINGE WORLD features some 700 shows, with highlights including the Summer Nights program at The Blue Room Theatre (featuring 31 handpicked productions) and acts such as Betty Grumble and Djuki Mala. See the full program at fringeworld.com.au
Yellamundie National First Peoples Playwriting Festival runs in two parts, with script development workshops (closed to the public) over 14-23 January and open play-readings from 24-26 January. Visit moogahlin.org for details.
And running from 19-20 January, Karnidale: The Western Australian Circus Festival is a celebration of live music, circus shows, street shows and cabaret by international performers, national and local musicians and artists. Held in Karridale WA, this year's festival includes performers from Italy, Spain and Peru as well as Australia. Details at lunarcircus.com/the-festival/
Perth Festival returns 8 February – 3 March 2019, with highlights including a new Ned Kelly-themed opera, contemporary circus from Vietnam, and re imagined dance classics Swan Lake and Giselle.Visit www.perthfestival.com.au for full program details.
Having celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2018, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras returns from 15 February – 3 March 2019 with a program that marches fearlessly into the future. The Festival culminates with the iconic Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade on Saturday 2 March 2019. The 2019 theme is FEARLESS. For full program details, visit www.mardigras.org.au.
Adelaide Fringe will be presented from 15 February – 17 March 2019. Venues big and small, pop-up and permanent house thousands of artists from all over Adelaide, Australia and the world. For program details and ticketing visit adelaidefringe.com.au
Brisbane Comedy Festival runs from 22 February to 24 March, at venues including Brisbane Powerhouse and Brisbane City Hall. Catch the likes of Felicity Ward (returning to Australia after time spent in the UK), Becky Lucas, Damien Power, Demi Lardner, and disgraced actor Garry Starr in Garry Starr Performs Everything, in which Starr defies his critics by performing every genre of theatre possible, thus saving the performing arts from its inevitable extinction. Full program details at www.brisbanecomedyfestival.com
The Adelaide Festival returns this year from 1–17 March, steered by co-Artistic Directors Rachel Healy and Neil Armfield. This year one of the festival's overriding themes is human displacement and migration, explored through works that are as diverse as the countries and artists from which they come. To plan your trip visit www.adelaidefestival.com.au
Australia's premiere festival of contemporary dance, Dance Massive returns for its sixth incarnation from 12-24 March 2019. Boasting an elaborate line-up of 30 productions – including 15 world premieres plus talks, screenings, workshops, industry events and large scale outdoor works, the 2019 program invites audiences to experience cutting-edge dance in all its diverse and vibrant glory. Learn more at dancemassive.com.au
Enlighten Festival, Canberra's annual showcase of culture and creativity, returns from 1-17 March 2019. Learn more at enlightencanberra.com
Running in Canberra from 13-17 March, the BOLD Festival provides a platform for the work of older and still practicing artists to celebrate their longevity and the health impacts of dance and creativity. BOLD also celebrates the cross-generational exchange of ideas and experiences and the ways in which cultural legacies inspire emerging artists. Details at www.theboldfestival.com
The 15th annual Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe will be staged at Perth’s beloved beach from 1-18 March 2019. Visit sculpturebythesea.com
Running over 15-16 March, Speculate is Melbourne's only writers' festival dedicated exclusively to fantasy and science fiction writing: www.specfic.com.au
Sydney Design Festival returns in 2019, with the theme ACCESSING DESIGN – seeking to promote responsive design that gives voice to diverse Sydney communities, and asking designers to broaden the definition of design to expand the dialogue between creative practice, access and inclusivity. The dates are 1-10 March. For details visit sydneydesign.com.au/2019/
Running from 8-24 March across Tasmania, Ten Days on the Island sees works presented in the island state's north-west, north-east and south over successive weekends. Artistic Director Lindy Hume's first festival program will soon be revealed in detail, though some snippets have already been announced, including the World Premiere season of Out of Chaos, the latest show from Australia’s world-conquering contemporary circus company Gravity and Other Myths, and Peter and the Wolf narrated by Madame Lark featuring the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. Learn more at tendays.org.au
Canberra Comedy Festival runs from 18-24 March at the Street Theatre, Canberra Theatre Centre and other venues. See canberracomedyfestival.com.au for program details.
Castlemaine State Festival takes place from 22-31 March 2019. Over 10 days the festival, located in central Victoria, will present more than 70 performance, visual arts, talks and music events, with 40,000 people expected to attend. Events are both free and ticketed. For more information visit www.castlemainefestival.com.au
Running alongside it is the Castlemaine Fringe, with details at castlemainefringe.org.au
Melbourne International Comedy Festival returns 27 March – 21 April 2019 across multiple venues. The full program will be launched 12 February – visit www.comedyfestival.com.au/2019 for details.
Usually presented in mid-March (though sometimes in early April) You Are Here is Canberra's annual celebration of the city's independent artists and creative communities. Last year the festival took a year off to recalibrate; 2019 dates have yet to be announced. Learn more at www.youareherecanberra.com.au
Courtesy Sculpture at Scenic World
Running from 2-6 April, Supercell Festival of Contemporary Dance aims to make Brisbane a national and International hub for contemporary dance. Learn more at supercelldancefestival.com
Parrtjima – A Festival in Light will be returning 5-14 April 2019, with the theme Language Expressions. The festival is held in Alice Springs Desert Park and its surrounds, and is a celebration of Central Australian Aboriginal art and culture. More than 20,000 people visited the festival in 2018, its most successful to date. Rhoda Roberts AO has curated the festival program for a third year. For more information visit www.parrtjimaaustralia.com.au
Sculpture at Scenic World returns to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains (NSW) from 12 April – 12 May 2019. The eighth annual sculpture festival offers a prize pool of $30,000. ArtsHub will be on the ground to capture the moment. For more details visit www.sculptureatscenicworld.com.au
The Gold Coast’s signature arts and cultural festival Bleach* this year runs from 17–28 April, will a program announcement expected soon. Keep up to date at www.bleachfestival.com.au. This will be founding Artistic Director Louise Bezzina's final festival before she leaves to head up Brisbane Festival; events already announced for 2019 include the centrepiece production of the 2019 Bleach* program, Verdi's Requiem performed under the stars; and Strut and Fret's Limbo Unhinged, from the creators of Blanc de Blanc and the creative minds behind Madonna’s Rebel Heart tour.
Fremantle International Street Arts Festival is Australia’s largest dedicated street theatre festival, and takes place in Fremantle WA ever Easter 19-22 April. The festival celebrates its 21st year in 2019. Details at www.streetartsfestival.com.au
Four Winds 2019 Easter Festival (pictured top) has grown into an iconic event for classical music, and an outstanding success story for regional arts in Australia. Why not plan for your visit to Bermagui, on the South Coast of NSW, to experience an internationally celebrated program? The festival dates are 18-21 April 2019, with details at fourwinds.com.au
Sydney Comedy Festival returns 22 April – 19 May 2019. The festival kicks off in grand style with the Sydney Comedy Festival Gala at the Sydney Opera House, Other venues include the Enmore Theatre, The Concourse Chatswood and Riverside Theatres in Parramatta. Visit www.sydneycomedyfest.com.au for program details
Perth Comedy Festival runs from 22 April – 19 May 2019. Highlights include the Festival Gala at Subiaco’s Regal Theatre, and stand-up by some of the nation's most fearless funny-makers, including Rhys Nicholson, Fiona O'Loughlin and Nazeem Hussain. More details at perthcomedyfestival.com
Each year, Sydney Writers’ Festival presents more than 300 events, attracting audiences of up to 100,000 for a week-long conversation of books and ideas. This year it will be presented from 29 April – 5 May across venues from Carriageworks and Sydney Town Hall to the Blue Mountains. Stay ahead of program details – released in March – by visiting www.swf.org.au
Vivid Music 2018: Curve Ball; image courtesy Destination NSW
Canberra International Music Festival runs from 2-12 May, with a focus on Bach a key part of this year's program. Learn more at www.cimf.org.au
On Friday 3 May, artists take over inner city Geelong for Geelong After Dark, with visitors and locals alike encouraged to embrace the unknown: www.geelongafterdark.com.au
Following a successful 2018 debut, Bright Cabaret Festival returns to the regional Victorian town of Bright, at the foothills of Mount Buffalo, from 9-11 May: www.brightcabaretfestival.com.au
Regarded as one of the country's best chamber music festivals and now in its 21st year, Coriole Music Festival runs over 4-5 May at Coriole Vineyards in McLaren Vale, South Australia. The 2019 program includes the world premiere of a new work by Jakub Jankowski, and the Australian premiere of a work by Luke Styles along with performances of music by Mozart, Mendelssohn, JS Bach, Saint-Saens, Schubert, Korngold and Chopin. Visit coriolemusicfestival.com for details.
The 2019 Head On Photo Festival will take place in Sydney from 4-19 May across multiple venues, with the program including outstanding international and Australian artists both emerging and well known. The Head On Photo Awards offer a pool of $60,000 in prize money. For unfolding festival details visit www.headon.com.au
Running from 9-26 May, the 2019 Anywhere Theatre Festival will present a range of unique performances in the nooks and crannies of Noosa, Sunshine Coast and Brisbane – anywhere that's not a traditional theatre. Check out anywhere.is for more program details.
Melbourne International Jazz Festival is back again in 2019. Save the date: 31 May to 9 June. To stay abreast of program details as they unfold, visit www.melbournejazz.com
YIRRAMBOI Festival is Melbourne’s premier biennial First Peoples festival, celebrating the vibrant living cultures and diverse contemporary practices of First Nations creatives. The next YIRRAMBOI Festival is happening from Thursday 2 May to Sunday 12 May, 2019, with the full program to be launched in March 2019. Visit yirramboi.net.au for details.
NT Writers' Festival takes place in Alice Springs from 16-19 May 2019. This year's festival has the theme lyapirtneme | returning, with the program to be announced in March. Learn more at www.ntwriters.com.au/festival/about/
Vivid Sydney comes off the back of its 10th anniversary in 2018, and will return in May with yet another spectacular festival of light displays across Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Customs House, and beyond. While the 2019 dates haven't been announced yet, each year's festival falls within a couple days of the previous year's dates (mid May to early June). Visit www.vividsydney.com
The first annual Australian Musical Theatre Festival will be held in Launceston, Tasmania from 23-26 May, 2019. With funding confirmed for five years, the festival's future looks bright. Learn more at www.amtf.org.au
DreamBIG Children’s Festival presented by Adelaide Festival Centre will be held 22 May – 1 June 2019. The festival is South Australia’s iconic biennial arts festival for schools and families that places its audience at the centre of fresh, inventive, imaginative and inspiring arts experiences. The theme for the 2019 festival is People Together. More info here dreambigfestival.com.au
Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2019 will be presented from 7–22 June across multiple venues in the South Australian capital. Julia Zemiro is the Artistic Director for Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2019. To stay abreast of program information visit www.adelaidecabaretfestival.com.au
There's also the Adelaide Cabaret Fringe Festival (details TBC). See www.cabaretfringefestival.com for updates.
Featuring the best new writers you haven't heard of yet, the Emerging Writers' Festival runs from 19-29 June in Melbourne and will feature almost 300 artists from around Australia. Details at www.emergingwritersfestival.org.au
The dates for Dark Mofo 2019 have been set for 7-23 June 2019, this year extending to a three-week program building up to the longest night on the winter solstice. If you've not yet attended what's become known as Tasmania’s “must-do” winter pilgrimage, perhaps this will be your year? Visit darkmofo.net.au for updates.
Held over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend every year since 2005, the Woodend Winter Arts Festival is now in its 15th year. A celebration of fine music, literature and more, the 2019 festival runs from 8-10 June. Visit woodendwinterartsfestival.org.au for details.
Held in Coonabarabran NSW over 21-22 June, Articulate Festival celebrates art, inclusion, and culture and features a wide range of local arts on show, being made live, and in competition. Go to www.articulatefestival.com for details.
Festival of Voices, Tasmania’s iconic winter festival and Australia’s premier celebration of song, runs from 28 June to 14 July 2019. The full program will be available in April via festivalofvoices.com
Melt: Festival of queer arts and culture takes over Brisbane Powerhouse from 28 June to 7 July 2019. Expect glamour, gender-fuckery and more from some of the nation's best LGBTIQ+ performers. Visit brisbanepowerhouse.org for details, with the program to be launched later this year.
The 2019 Alice Springs Beanie Festival runs from 28 June to 1 July, with the Festival Program released in late March. Details at beaniefest.org
Returning from 19-30 June, Melbourne Cabaret Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2019. Expressions of interest from artists are now open at www.melbournecabaret.com
And closing out the month, Melbourne Magic Festival returns from 30 June to 13 July 2019, with applications from interested participants open until 13 January: melbournemagicfestival.com
Running from 6-15 July, Darwin Fringe Festival is a celebration of the Northern Territory's independent arts scene. Program details will be announced later this year at darwinfringe.org.au
The Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) is an annual showcase of Queensland's vibrant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, held every July at the Cruise Liner Terminal, Cairns. Since its inception in 2009, CIAF has grown into a major event on the arts calendar. For 2019 – its 10th anniversary – the dates have been set for 11-14 July. As the organisers say: ‘CIAF is more than an art fair, it is a festival celebrating Indigenous arts and culture.’ Details at ciaf.com.au
The Australian Youth Dance Festival is the only event of its kind in Australia dedicated to developing young dancers as professional artists, focusing on creativity, imagination and curiosity. In 2019 the festival will welcome companies from Ghana, Denmark, India, Taiwan, Finland and the UK. Learn more at www.ausdancevic.org.au/aydf-showcase
Following its successful debut last year, the Melbourne Spoken Word & Poetry Festival returns in 2019, running from 12-28 July. Expressions of interest are now open, closing at the end of February. Visit www.mswpf.com.au for details.
Queensland Music Festival (QMF) will run over three huge weeks from 5-28 July. Under Artistic Director Katie Noonan, QMF will once again work with communities to showcase some of the most talented local, national and international musicians across the state's cities, regions and remote corners. More information at qmf.org.au
While the next full iteration of the Adelaide Guitar Festival won't occur until 2020, the festival will stage several events in 2019, including Guitars In Bars (1-31 July), an open-access program celebrating South Australia’s vibrant live music scene, and Adelaide Guitar Festival Special Edition (15-19 July), a sampler of the Adelaide Guitar Festival experience with a series of intimate concerts, curated by Slava Grigoryan. Learn more at www.adelaideguitarfestival.com.au
The 29th Australian Festival of Chamber Music will take place in tropical North Queensland from Friday 26 July to Sunday 4 August 2019. Some 25 concerts and five special events will entertain visitors and locals alike, including the hugely popular morning Conversations, full-length evening concerts, a concert on the beach of Orpheus Island and a concert on Magnetic Island. The full 2019 Festival program and line-up of artists will be unveiled on 25 February 2019. Got to www.afcm.com.au for details.
Electric Fields perform in Young Hearts Run Free by Duane Preston; image courtesy 2018 Darwin Festival
Garma Festival of Traditional Cultures is Australia's leading cultural exchange event. It is held annually onsite at remote Gulkula, a traditional meeting ground in Arnhem land, and this year runs from 2-5 August. Visit www.yyf.com.au for more information.
Running from 2-4 August, Byron Writers' Festival offers three days of ideas, storytelling and conversations with writers and thinkers from across Australia and around the globe. Details at byronwritersfestival.com
Darwin Festival is always a highlight in the annual calendar and return in 2019 from 8-25 August. It’s an 18-day celebration of music, theatre, visual art, dance, cabaret and more in the beautiful tropical city of Darwin and includes the iconic NATSIAA Art Awards presented by the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory – the defining moment in the Indigenous art calendar in Australia. Plan your visit and map your program by visiting www.darwinfestival.org.au
For more than three decades, Melbourne Writers Festival has been bringing together the best writers, thinkers and performers from Australia and around the world, and 2019 promises the same under Artistic Director Marieke Hardy. The festival will be held 30 August to 8 September. For program details visit mwf.com.au
Running from 16-18 August, Homecooked Comics Festival celebrates local comics book artists and makers. Visit their Facebook page for details.
South Australian Living Artists Festival is held across Adelaide and its regional surrounds each August. The festival's 2019 dates are yet to be confirmed. Expressions of interest are opening soon. For more details visit www.salafestival.com
Established in 1962, this year's Cairns Festival runs from 23 August to 1 September, 2019. The festival's mission is to support artists and their creative process, grow venue audiences, and engage and entertain the people of the Cairns Region. Details at www.cairns.qld.gov.au/festival
Also kicking off on 23 August, the Ballarat International Foto Biennale runs until 20 October and is considered the most significant, prestigious photographic arts festival in Australia; visit ballaratfoto.org for details.
Australia’s foremost festival for the poetic arts, Queensland Poetry Festival will run in late August 2019 (dates TBC). Expressions of interest (EOIs) from emerging and established poets and writers wishing to participate in the festival are open until 11 January: queenslandpoetryfestival.com
In 2019, White Night will take place in Melbourne for the seventh year and will mark the first time it takes place in winter, over three consecutive nights in late August. The creative theme for 2019 is ‘a spark’. White Night Winter Melbourne 2019 is currently seeking Expressions of Interest from Artists who want to make a contribution. For event details visit whitenight.com.au. The Festival is also staged in Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong (dates TBC).
Running from Friday 30 August until Sunday 13 October, the Desert Festival is an annual showcase of local and interstate artists, celebrating artistic and cultural vibrancy throughout the Spring season in Alice Springs/Mparntwe. Expressions of Interest for the 2019 festival are open now and Red Hot Arts Central Australia are inviting local and interstate artists of all artistic disciplines to apply. Learn more at desfest.com
Sydney Fringe Festival returns in September for its 10th anniversary. Festival Director Kerri Glasscock says: 'First and foremost, we are here to highlight, amplify and promote the work of local Sydney based artists to the world. Sydney’s is a brave, new, imaginative, challenging and experimental voice. Our artists push the boundaries of genre, art form and innovation.' Festival dates have yet to be announced. Check sydneyfringe.com for updates.
Junction Arts Festival takes over Launceston from 4-8 September 2019. An intimate festival of ‘extraordinary experiences in unusual spaces’, under Creative Director Greg Clarke and his team, Junction focuses on presenting and celebrating the incredible talent of Tasmanian artists. Learn more at www.junctionartsfestival.com.au
Desart is the peak arts body for Central Australian Aboriginal Arts and Crafts centres. Every September it brings together artists, arts workers and arts lovers for three days of total immersion in the artwork and stories of Aboriginal art from the desert, in Alice Springs. An Exhibition, Symposium, and MarketPlace – the dates of Desert Mob 2019 are 5-7 September. Visit desart.com.au for more.
Brisbane Writers' Festival aims to connect Queenslanders through story, celebrate leading writers and thinkers from around the world and inspire deep thought and curiosity. This year's festival runs from 5-8 September. See bwf.org.au for details.
Held in the culturally adventurous regional Victorian city of Bendigo, Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music (BIFEM) returns from 6-8 September. With an emphasis on premiere or rarely-performed long-form works, BIFEM platforms virtuosity in musicianship and innovation in composition. See www.bifem.com.au for details.
Adhocracy is an annual hothouse of creative developments presented by Port Adelaide's Vitalstatistix, and featuring the best in new experimental and multidisciplinary arts projects. This year’s 10th anniversary edition of Adhocracy will be proceeded by a national experimental art exchange, and will include some new opportunities for artists and curators – stay tuned for details! Adhocracy's public program runs from 6-8 September 2019; more details at vitalstatistix.com.au
Brisbane Festival 2019 will be held 6-28 September. Brisbane Festival has only been annual since 2009, but in that time it’s been embraced by the city and admired by the world. The 2019 Brisbane Festival will feature David Berthold's fifth and final festival as Artistic Director. His successor, Louise Bezzina, has already been appointed. For details visit www.brisbanefestival.com.au
Queensland’s largest sculpture event, SWELL Sculpture Festival returns 13-22 September 2019, and is presented at Currumbin Beach and Helensvale Library, Gold Coast. The festival started in 2002 and has played a key role in telling the cultural story of the Gold Coast and attracts around 265,000 visitors annually. Visit www.swellsculpture.com.au
Mullum Circus Festival, held in Mullumbimby NSW, is taking a break this year and returns in September/October 2020. See mullumcircusfest.com/home for details.
Tarnanthi Art Fair; image courtesy Tarnanthi Festival
One of Australia’s leading emerging arts festivals, This is Not Art (TiNA) runs over the New South Wales’ Labour Day Holiday Weekend in late September - though given Labour Day 2019 is on Monday 7 October, the festival will presumably be a little later in the year this year. Produced by Octapod in partnership with three co-presenters, National Young Writers’ Festival (NYWF), Crack X and Critical Animals, the four day festival activates over 10 venues in the Newcastle CBD each year. Learn more about TiNA at thisisnotart.org
The Unconformity is a unique contemporary arts festival exploring the paradoxes of Queenstown, a small mining community on Tasmania’s wild and mountainous West Coast. Dates for 2019 have yet to be announced. Keep in touch at www.theunconformity.com.au
What has become the largest signature sculpture event in Australia, Sculpture by the Sea returns to its foremost location in Bondi, from 4 October – 10 November 2019 for its 22nd edition. Visit sculpturebythesea.com to learn more.
A unique South Australian festival, ZestFest – A Festival for Modern Ageing will be held from 14-28 October 2009. Run by COTA SA, the peak body representing the needs, interests and aspirations of older South Australians, ZestFest presents a three tier program of curated events, collaborations with community event partners, and an open access program, with events that connect, challenge and celebrate modern ageing. Registrations of events for ZestFest 2019 will open in May. Details at zestfestsa.org.au
Sydney Craft Week will return from 11-20 October across various venues. This 10-day festival celebrates the beauty of the hand-made and the pleasure of making. To check out the 2019 Craft Calendar, or for details on Sydney Craft Week, visit www.sydneycraftweek.com
TARNANTHI will again return to the Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA) and satellite venues, from 18 October 2019 through 27 January 2020, with the main festival activities and art fair held over the opening weekend of 18-20 October. A highlight of this year’s festival will be the launch of major show new works coming out of the US (Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection of the University of Virginia) and charting seven decades of Yolngu bark painting in northeast Arnhem Land. Titled Madayin, a word that combines concepts from beauty, law and moral virtue, it will be presented at AGSA. Australians will be the first to see this exhibition before it visits New York, Los Angeles and Washington DC between 2020-22. For details on TARNANTHI programming visit www.tarnanthi.com.au
Running from 12-29 September, Melbourne Fringe is an annual smorgasbord of cultural delights, featuring the best of the city's independent artists as well as performers from interstate and overseas. The 2019 program will be launched later in the year. Stay up to date at www.melbournefringe.com.au
Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art at Carriageworks (NSW) features a 10-day program of performances, installations, parties, workshops and conversations, running from 17-27 October 2019. Details at performancespace.com.au
OzAsia Festival continues to play a significant role in introducing new contemporary arts from Asia to audiences in Australia, and is staged across multiple venues in Adelaide during October. Visit their website for current information: www.ozasiafestival.com.au
Running from 18-27 October, Yarra Valley Opera Festival is presented by Gertrude Opera, and is billed as Australia's only opera festival. More details at www.yarravalleyoperafestival.com.au
Melbourne International Arts Festival runs from 2-20 October 2019. The festival is currently recruiting an Artistic Director to take over from Jonathan Holloway, whose final festival program will revealed later this year. To stay up to date visit www.festival.melbourne
Now in its third year, Artstate – Regional Arts NSW’s celebration of arts across the state – this year comes to the new England city of Tamworth from 31 October to 3 November. Artstate aims to shine a light on excellence in regional arts practice and to explore the exciting possibilities for arts and cultural development across the state. Artstate kicked off in 2017 in Lismore before moving to Bathurst in 2018. Conference program and cultural events will be announced in the coming months via www.artstate.com.au.
A GALAXY OF SUNS (artist Michaela Gleave, Warren Armstrong & Amanda Cole), Performance, Dark Mofo 2016. Photograph by Lucy Parakhina.
Nati Frinj Biennale runs from 1-3 November this year; an arts festival in regional Victoria that offers everything from snail racing to aerial silo shows, and exhibitions and new theatre works to Silent Disco walking tours. Visit natifrinj.com for more.
While some of you might think Sydney Open is a tennis event, rather it is a fantastic annual weekend when more than 60 of the city’s iconic public buildings – though usually closed to public access – throw open their doors. The event is usually held the first weekend in November. For unfolding details visit sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/sydneyopen
DESIGN Canberra returns from 4-24 November adopting the 2019 theme: Utopia. DESIGN Canberra is also the ACT’s fastest growing festival. In 2018, over 112,000 people engaged with the festival’s curated program of exhibitions, talks, tours, collaborations, open homes and artist studios, activations and markets showcasing the best in design. DESIGN Canberra is calling for projects for the 2019 festival that celebrate and promote Canberra as a living design laboratory, a global city of design. Submit your proposals by 4 March 2019, and for unfolding details visit designcanberrafestival.com.au/2019program/
Adelaide's queer cultural festival Feast returns from 9-24 November 2019. Keep an eye out for program announcements at www.feast.org.au
And don't forget that one of the hottest regional arts festivals Cementa returns to Kandos (NSW) 21-24 November. Co-founder Alex Wisser said: 'The festival will still be the four day four night contemporary art extravaganza you have come to know and love, with artworks exhibited in shop fronts and empty lots, churches and school halls across the town of Kandos. It will feature the same motley of performance, installation, sound, video, community engaged and socially aware artworks, all devised to specifically relate to the context of exhibition: the town of Kandos and the region in which it is situated'. More details at cementa.com.au
Running from late November into early December, Wonderland Festival at Brisbane Powerhouse is a unique carnival of burlesque, circus, music, theatre, comedy and more. While 2019 dates have yet to be announced, you can keep up to date with programming by visiting brisbanepowerhouse.org
Another Brisbane-based event to add to your diary is the fourth annual Australian Circus Festival, running from 25 November – 1 December 2019, under the Hudson’s Circus big top. Details at www.australiancircusfestival.org
Running from 2-7 December, Borderville is an annual circus festival presented by the Flying Fruit Fly Circus in Wodonga, featuring a graduate show, guest artists and original acts. With 2019 being the company's 40th anniversary, expect big things from the national youth circus this year. Visit fruitflycircus.com.au for more information about Borderville and other productions.
Running over six days and nights from 27 December to 1 January, the annual Woodford Folk Festival is truly iconic; a gathering of the tribes that features live music, performance, conversation, public art and more. Learn more at woodfordfolkfestival.com
Then breathe – the only remaining major festivals to embrace in December are Christmas and Hanukkah, which means it's time to enjoy a holiday break – unless you're working at the 27th annual Falls Festival (fallsfestival.com) of course...
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