Sydney festivals defy pandemic

The COVID outbreak and teeming rains have challenged – but not stopped – Sydney Summer Festival Season.

As 2021 rolled in, the art sector was filled with hope that perhaps the new year might bring some reprieve from COVID-closures and allow things to get back on walls and on stages.

That was until a breakout in Sydney saw the return of heightened restrictions. It was the news that Sydney festivals dreaded.

Sydney has a reputation for its Summer Festival Season – kicking off with the fireworks on the harbour, followed by the month long Sydney Festival (6–26 January). This year it has embedded teaser summer programs from Sydney Film Festival Summer Season (15–17 January) and Sydney Writers Festival (16–17 January); Yellamundie Festival at Carriageworks (22-24 January), Parramatta Summer Festival and Flickerfest returning for its 30th anniversary edition at Bondi (22–31 January).

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Gina Fairley is ArtsHub's National Visual Arts Editor. For a decade she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the Regional Contributing Editor for Hong Kong based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing she worked as an arts manager in America and Australia for 14 years, including the regional gallery, biennale and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW. Twitter: @ginafairley Instagram: fairleygina