2022 arts festivals and events calendar

A lineup of annual festivals and new-comer events across Australia in 2022 to fill your calendar.

Last updated: 18 February 2022.

JANUARY

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NOVEMBER
DECEMBER

Sydney Festival (NSW) is scheduled to take place from 6 – 30 January 2022 despite a flourishing Omicron and ongoing protests and artists withdrawing in solidarity with the BDS movement. This will be the first program helmed by new Director Olivia Ansell, bringing annual favourites such as the Vigil and Blak Out program, as well as a breadth of digital content online from 5 January.

Weave It! (VIC) is a free, 17-day interactive and evolving exhibition, multi-sensory installation and workshop series for children and their grown-ups, held at Abbotsford Convent from 7 – 23 January.

Read: Exhibition review: Weave it, Abbotsford Convent

Perth’s largest annual festival Fringe World (WA) returns from 14 January – 13 February 2022 with a burst of diverse performances and events. Highlights include DIRT by Angus Cameron set in Modern Moscow exploring sexuality and persecution, deaf theatre Deafinite Connection and the best ethnic comedians of Fringe at Black Laughs Matter.

The circus festival Karnidale 2022 (WA) will be held on 14 – 15 January. With five big tops and across unique venues, the festival is set to bring the finest WA circus talents alongside music, workshops, and artisan market stalls.

The NGV Kids Summer Festival (VIC) returns in 2022 with nine days of free artist led activities, events, performances and dance workshops created especially for kids, teens and their families running from 15 – 23 January. 

The 2022 Midsumma Festival (VIC) in Melbourne will run from 23 January – 13 February, with the iconic Midsumma Pride March taking place on 6 February.

Flickerfest 2022 (NSW) – Australia’s largest short film festival and competition – has announced a program featuring 30 world premieres and 65 Australian premieres from 21 – 30 January. The festival will be hosted on Bondi Beach with bespoke festival gardens and outdoor lawn cinemas, to then embark on a 8-month national tour.

Mona Foma (TAS) returns 21 – 23 January in Launceston and in nipaluna/Hobart from 28 – 30 January for two summery weekends of music and art.

Melbourne’s outdoor design and architecture event MPavilion (VIC) is delivering its longest-ever season with programming up until 24 April 2022. Highlights include Patricia Piccinini’s Skywhale family, which will fly over the city on 1 March, while January will feature a range of holiday programming.

FEBRUARY

In celebration of the Lunar New Year, BisAsia Festival (QLD) returns for the Year of the Tiger with three-week long festivities, more than 50 events and across 10 suburbs that fuse Asian art, culture and cuisine. From 1 – 20 February, visitors can kick off with the BrisAsia Festival Launch Party or enjoy tea at The Laneway Tea Festival. Previous favourites include Rare Voices, BrisAsia LIVE, a multidisciplinary arts residency and showcase, and BrisAsia Stories delivered in partnership with Museum of Brisbane.

Bendigo Chamber Music Festival (VIC) this year features 15 Australian Artists, 14 concerts across six venues from 2 – 6 February. Throughout the five days, the festival will present a program of chamber music favourites alongside lesser-known masterpieces – from solo instruments to sumptuous string orchestras, from Louis Couperin to Rebecca Clarke.

St Kilda Festival 2022 announced full line-up for nine days of live music and entertainment from 5 – 13 February. Acclaimed Indigenous vocalist and Melbourne rhythm combo Emma Donovan and The Putbacks will bring their signature soul sounds, while Australian icon Daryl Brathwaite will also perform. The festival will showcase over 50 acts to celebrate summer and the local community.

Melbourne Art Fair (VIC) will be held at the Convention and Exhibition Centre from 17 – 20 February, showcasing artists from 63 leading galleries. The iteration will be presented with a focus on solo shows and works of scale and significance, inviting fair goers to experience an event that is instrumental in shaping the future of art in the region.

A brand new event will be healed at Falls Creek (VIC) with a captivating lineup of music, art, comedy and food. The 3 day celebration FEASTIVAL runs 18 – 20 February and ranges from Boy & Bear with their 70s inspired pop-folk to performances from Flying Fruit Fly Circus, alongside North-East Victorian musical talent. The Melbourne Chamber Orchestra will also deliver an intimate performance paired with a degustation menu.

Carrying the theme of ‘United We Shine’, the 2022 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (NSW) is set to celebrate the resilience and strength of the creative community. From the annual flag raising to queer comedy, the LGBTQI+ community join together in the festivities running 18 February – 6 March. A Hardship Ticket Ballot presented by Principal Partner American Express has been established to provide the community with 3,000 complementary tickets to enjoy the Parade, presented at Sydney Cricket Ground on 5 March.

Adelaide Fringe (SA) – Australia’s biggest open-access arts festival – returns 18 February – 20 March. For 31 magical summer days and nights, Fringe transforms Adelaide and greater South Australia with an immersive program including VR, interactive artworks and the world’s first feature length drone show.

Perth Festival (WA) returns 19 February – 24 April to present a multi-disciplinary feast of events, exhibitions, workshops, and performances including BARKAA, ‘the new matriarch of Australian rap’, Flewnt’s Boorloo Black Party and more.

MARCH

The world’s largest French film festival outside of France, the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival (AFFFF) returns, presenting the crème-de-la-crème of contemporary French cinema from 1 March – 26 April 2022, multiple venues, multiple states.

This year’s Melbourne Fashion Festival takes place 3 – 12 March, recently announcing a major naming rights partnership with PayPal to spark new collaborations between fashion and commerce.

Adelaide Festival (SA) takes place 4 – 20 March, including Writers’ Week from 5 – 10 March. 2022 Artist Directors Rachel Healy and Neil Armfield AO invite audiences to ‘experience the release of primal dance, or exhilarating performance, of how the spark of collegiate music making can jump centuries. It’s all there for again for the taking: a celebration of body and soul and how great it is to keep them together.’

Sculpture by the Sea (WA) will once again flood Perth’s beloved beachside with artworks from 4 – 21 March. The 2021 Bondi festival has been postponed with 2022 dates to be announced.

Bringing together five hero events over 17 days, Canberra’s Enlighten Festival from 4 – 20 March is set to shine bright. Large scale projections feature in Enlighten Illuminations, Lights! Canberra! Action! spotlights local film-makers, while Canberra Balloon Spectacular, Symphony in the Park, Canberra Day festivities and Attractions After Dark hosts events for the whole family.

WOMADelaide (SA) will be celebrating its 30th Anniversary from 11 – 14 March with an open-air festival of art, music, and dance. The festival will return to its spiritual home and traditional seven stage format in Adelaide’s Botanic Park.

Sydney Opera House’s annual All About Women festival (NSW) takes place on International Women’s Day, 12 – 13 March. This year’s festival is co-curated by Sydney Opera House’s recently appointed Head of Talks & Ideas Chip Rolley and First Nations legal academic, broadcaster, filmmaker, writer and Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt OA, alongside guest curators for individual events Diana Sayed, Bibi Mossavi, Eliza Hull, Yves Rees and Porcelain Alice.

The Asia Pacific Architecture Festival (QLD) runs from 12 – 25 March with online and in-person events taking place in Brisbane. The 2022 theme ‘co-operate, co-design, co-exist’ urges visitors to rethink the impacts of design, particularly in relation to the Asia Pacific region with its rich diversity.

Melbourne Design Week (VIC) will be held 17 – 27 March and will offer sneak peeks and extensive workshops into eccentric design studios and a new generation of innovative ideas.

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival (VIC) will return from 30 March – 24 April with shows now on sale to fill you with the laughs.

The Lorne Sculpture Biennale (VIC) will present ‘Spirit of Place’ from 12 March – 3 April for its 7th edition offering a new curatorial blueprint for the biennale on a global stage.

APRIL

The Australian Heritage Festival (NATIONAL), the country’s largest community-driven heritage event hosted by the National trust, returns 1 April – 31 May 2022, celebrating the theme ‘Curiosity’.

Parrtjima – A Festival in Light (NT) will be returning 8 – 17 April, held in Alice Springs Desert Park and its surrounds. Marking the beginning of a new thematic approach, the 2022 theme, Sky Country, offers a glimpse into First Nations stories and knowledge that can help guide our way in the expanse of the universe. 

The 23rd Byron Bay Bluefest (NSW) returns 14 – 18 April to bring tunes to the Easter long weekend, announcing eight international artists to join the lineup including returnees Morcheeba, The War & Treaty and new rising stars.

Thrilled to offer the world’s best street theatre, the 2022 Fremantle International Street Arts Festival (WA) will be transforming the city with music, performances and art around every corner after a cancelled event in 2021.

Four Winds Festival (NSW) will return over Easter from 15 – 17 April at Barragga Bay on the south coast, with the theme Common Ground, curated by Creative Directory Lindy Hume AM. Hume said the festival ranges from baroque to contemporary music, and will celebrate local musicians focusing on Yuin cultural alongside guest artists.

A new circus festival will be boosting Brisbane’s offerings in 2022. CIRCFest22 Meanjin (QLD) runs from 21 April – 1 May, produced by Cluster Arts in partnership with the international circus centre Tohu in Montréal. In an earlier interview, festival co-director Deb Wilks said the festival was about ‘bringing together not only audiences but festival directors and programmers and venues around Australia’.

Blackheath Chamber Music Festival 2022 (NSW), with the tag ‘Blue Mist’, this music festival returns 22 – 25 April for 4-days over the ANZAC weekend with an escape of exquisite classical music.

After a blazing inaugural event, PHOTO 2022 (VIC) will take place from 29 April – 22 May across sites in Melbourne. The outdoor program features a series of public realm commissions that will transform the city with contemporary photography and respond to the central curatorial theme, ‘Being Human’.

The Canberra International Music Festival (ACT) is slated to run 29 April – 8 May with the theme ‘Pole to Pole’. Over ten days, visitors can expect an intercontinental explosion of music from new works to timeless classics and a collection of thought-provoking acts, featuring Australian and international artists.

Also running across the month is the Brisbane Comedy Festival (QLD) from 29 April – 29 May across Brisbane Powerhouse, the Fortitude Music Hall, and the Tivoli.

MAY

Bright Cabaret & Comedy Festival (VIC) returns to the regional Victorian town of Bright, at the foothills of Mount Buffalo, from 5 – 7 May.

The Anywhere Theatre Festival (QLD) is planning a month-long celebration from 5 May – 5 June with a range of performances in the nooks and crannies of Brisbane, Noosa, Sunshine Coast, and Moreton Bay.

Also from 18 – 22 May is the Australian Musical Theatre Festival (TAS) which recently announced its Workshop Program. Held in Launceston, the headlining artists for the festival, Paulini, Philip Quast and Chloe Dallimore will be sharing their skills and knowledge alongside peers in the sector. Suitable for musical lovers of all experiences.

Look forward to a weekend of fine chamber music at the Cariole Music Festival (SA) from 21 – 22 May in McLaren Vale, accompanied by spectacular food and wine of the region.

MELT: Festival of Queer Arts and Culture (QLD) raises the curtain on another program at Brisbane Powerhouse from 20 – 30 May 2021.

One of the hottest regional arts festivals, Cementa (NSW) postponed their 2021 event to 19 – 22 May this year, hoping to deliver an exciting program across Kandos, in regional NSW.

The Other Art Fair (VIC/NSW) hosted by Saatchi Art will make a physical comeback in Melbourne 26 – 29 May with the opportunity to meet a curated selection of over 115 independent and emerging artists and browse thousands of pieces to suit every budget under one roof. 2022 Sydney dates are yet to be announced.

This year, Vivid Sydney (NSW) will return to its original May slot, running from 27 May – 18 June. It’s set to transform the Sydney CBD in winter into a kaleidoscope of light, music and ideas.

JUNE

Dark Mofo (TAS), Tasmanian’s iconic winter art festival hosted by Mona (Museum of Old and New Art), returns with the theme ‘Resurrection’, from 15 – 22 June.

RISING (VIC) returns 1 – 12 June 2022 after audiences only got a sneak peak of its possibilities after a one night run in 2021. A surge of art, music, performance and ceremony in the heart of Melbourne. 

The Perth International Cabaret Festival (WA) will be held 18 – 26 June, delivering its second iteration with engaging storytelling and the celebration of culture.

JULY

Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (QLD) returns 6 – 10 July. Established in 2009, it’s mission is to build an ethical art market place, attract national and international collectors and curators, commission new work and provide pathways for emerging visual and performance artists.

The Darwin Fringe Festival (NT) is coming back 8 – 17 July, presented across more than 20 venues and providing a platform for artists to emerge, experiment, and showcase new and diverse works in Darwin to local and national audiences.

AUGUST

SALA (South Australian Living Artists Festival) (SA) will once again take over August from 1 – 31. From conventional art galleries to cafes, libraries, wineries, restaurants, there’s a wealth of independently organised exhibitions to delve into the artistic talent of SA artists.

Darwin Festival (NT) returns in 2022 from 4 – 21 August. It’s a celebration of music, theatre, visual art, dance, cabaret and more in the 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.

The Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (NT) returns 5 – 7 August with its annual lineup of artworks, invigorating public programming and associate fashion runways.

Established in 1962, Cairns Festival (QLD) is held this year in 26 August – 4 September with a mission to support artists and their creative process, grow venue audiences, and engage and entertain the people of the Cairns Region.

The Gold Coast’s signature arts and cultural festival Bleach* (QLD) returns in August with dates to be announced.

SEPTEMBER

The Sydney Fringe Festival (NSW) occurs annually from the 1 – 30 September. NSW’s largest independent festival will host a stellar celebration of diverse and critical arts with over 450 events across 70 venues across Greater Sydney each year.

Sydney Contemporary (NSW) is set to return to their physical venue, Carriageworks, from 8 – 11 September, showcasing 80 leading galleries and four days of art, performances, talks, events, champagne and spectacle.

Also opening on 8 September and presented by Desart, is DESERT MOB. The national event features the most comprehensive survey of contemporary Aboriginal art from Desart-member art centres in the desert regions and communities of the Northern Territory, South Australia, and Western Australia. Desert Mob 2022 will be a vibrant celebration where artists and audiences converge on the Araluen Arts Precinct in Mparntwe (Alice Springs). The exhibition runs until 23 October alongside a buzzing marketplace.

Queensland’s largest sculpture event, SWELL Sculpture Festival (QLD) returns 9 – 18 September, and is presented at Currumbin Beach with pop up locations across the city with over 50 large scale works.

For its second iteration, City of Newcastle’s New Annual arts festival (NSW) will return from 23 September – 2 October 2022, promising a range of creative experiences in the most unexpected places.

The National Circus Festival (NSW) will be hosting its Training Program from 26 – 29 September with the Festival weekend running 30 September – 2 October. It will take place on Bundjalung country in the vibrant little town of Mullumbimby, on the NSW North Coast.

OCTOBER

Running 6 – 23 October, Melbourne Fringe (VIC) is an annual smorgasbord of cultural delights, featuring the best of the city’s independent artists as well as performers from interstate and overseas.

Since its inception in 2015, Tarnanthi Festival (SA) has placed particular emphasis on the agency of artists and on foregrounding the artist’s voice, usually beginning in mid-October. The city wide festival is presented across several venues and is anchored with programming and exhibition at the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art (NSW) is usually a 10-day program of performances, installations, parties, workshops and conversations, held in mid-October at Carriageworks. Dates for 2022 are yet to be confirmed.

OzAsia Festival (SA) 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. Usually held annually in October, dates are yet to be confirmed.

NOVEMBER

This year the Head On Photo Festival (NSW) will take place in November with dates to be announced; submissions to participate are currently open to Australian and International applicants.

After a cancelled event in 2021, DESIGN Canberra Festival (ACT) returns 2 – 20 November, continuing from the theme ‘Transformation’ to foster more responsible ways of living.

DECEMBER

Festivals and events scheduled for December 2022 are yet to be announced.

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