The 2021 festival kicks off on January 6 for 20 days. SydFest will present a diverse program of cabaret, Indigenous works and music. New this year is a COVID-safe pop-up stage at Barangaroo Reserve. The Headland stage is set to outdo both the Capitol and the Sydney Lyric in size, and will be decked out with twin side screens offering close-up views of performers. Highlights will be Sydney Symphony Orchestra's multimedia collaboration,
The (Uncertain) Four Seasons and contemporary circus act The Pulse. Casey Chambers, Katie Noonan, Christine Anu, Paul Capsis and Paul Mac are all set to perform. A free event for the family is A Bee Story, a circus adventure that tells the story of rebuilding the hive after a bushfire.
This That Festival returns to Newcastle's Wickham Park on February 20 with a line-up of the hottest new artists from the world of electronica, hip-hop, pop and rock. The exciting line-up include performers such as What So Not, Dune Rats, San Cisco, Hayden James and Crooked Colours.
This much-talked-about event, the Eden Whale Festival, will be held on the last weekend of October. The event showcases the spectacular southern migration of humpback and other whales. Here you can get up close and personal with these magnificent animals at Twofold Bay in Eden on the South Coast - whether you are in a boat or standing on the shore.
From diva darlings to drag kings, the Broken Heel Festival promises plenty of comedy and cabaret in Broken Hill from September 9-13. Don't miss the Main Drag in Drag parade.
On the first weekend in March, take the family to Harcourt, about 90 minutes' drive from Melbourne, to celebrate the apple harvest in the heart of Victoria's apple country. Relish the taste of freshly picked, crisp fruit as you join other apple lovers in the pie baking and eating competition. Or wash down an apple cake with a fresh juice. Local cider, craft beer and wine are also available for tasting.
Mussels & jazz
The Port Phillip Mussel & Jazz Festival returns to South Melbourne Market on March 6-7 with a two-day street party and mollusc feast. Spend the day with family and friends eating, dancing and celebrating all seafood, especially mussels, to the sounds of Melbourne's hottest jazz. It'll be a feast of mussels: try them wok-fried with herbs or lightly battered and served with crisp lettuce and chimichurri sauce.
Watch the best Aussie cyclists battle it out for the ultimate glory of the green and gold jersey at the 2021 Federation University Road National Championships in Ballarat on February 6-7. This is the most coveted award on the Australian race calendar. Last year, Amanda Spratt won her third elite women's road race title at the Australian Road Championships and nine-time world champion Cam Meyer claimed gold for the first time in the men's race.
One of the most popular events in the comedy circuit, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, will take place from March 24 to April 18. Block out the dates in your diary now.
The Noosa Summer Swim Festival will be a Sunday of swims and a weekend of activities from February 20-21. Swims will range from the 300-metre Junior Giants to the five-kilometre marathon. Aside from the races, there will be a range of activities for families and supporters.
The annual Sunshine Coast Asian Food Festival will be held at Spicers Tamarind Retreat on February 28. Visitors can come and enjoy Asian food and cooking demonstrations in the rainforest surrounds of Maleny. There will also be a riesling masterclass and entertainment.
For three big days from February 26, Toowoomba will play host to a crafter's dream. CraftAlive will feature both local and interstate craft experts and showcase the latest craft supplies, kits and equipment. The world-class specialists will offer interactive classes across the weekend.
Summer at Mona
From January 15-24, Mona Foma (the summer festival run by the Museum of Old and New Art) will take place across Hobart and Launceston. There will be art, music and other exciting exhibitions - including lasers at Cataract Gorge, evening concerts by the Tamar River, full-throttle opera and archery classes.
On February 7, the Parade of Sail will grace the Derwent with a spectacular vision of tall ships and sailboats. Anyone can be involved, even if you don't have a boat. Head to viewing points at Alexander Battery Park or Wrest Point. There will be fireworks in the evening.
Extreme white-water kayakers will face off in knockout races at the second annual Hydro Tasmania Cataract Gorge Extreme Race. Sign up fast to take part in the race on January 26 or cheer from Cataract Gorge walkway or the river's edge.
Fringe World is the most popular annual festival in Perth and this year it celebrates its 10th birthday. There will be an incredible array of entertainment on offer from January 15 to February 14. From rooftop movies to comedy, musicals, circus acts and shows for kids, there is something for everyone.
Taking place from June 5-6, the Albany Classic race "Around the Houses" is run through the heart of Albany's CBD. This historic motorsport event celebrates a wide variety of cars from vintage wire wheels, post-vintage and classics as well as open-wheel racers and big-cube muscle cars. Albany's parks and streets come alive with stalls and music.
This year, celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Ord Valley Muster, a festival of music, food, art and Indigenous culture. Running from May 21-29, the muster will showcase rodeo, dining under the stars, music, yoga boats, comedy and more.
The Adelaide Festival (February 26 to March 14) commissions and champions Australia's most innovative work and presents some of the world's great companies and artists. Delight in a mix of internationally acclaimed theatre productions, world-class musicians, eclectic dance pieces as well as renowned writers and striking visual-arts displays.
For 31 magical summer days and nights, the Adelaide Fringe transforms the city and greater South Australia with vibrant events that include cabaret, theatre, comedy, circus, music, visual arts, workshops and more. The 2021 festival will run from February 19 to March 21.
A Mexican fiesta, a McLaren Vale fire feast and Tasting Australia Airlines are all on the extensive menu when Tasting Australia pops into Adelaide and regional South Australia in 2021. From April 30 to May 9, tastebuds will be tantalised at this festival of food.
As part of the Enlighten Festival from March 6-14, wake up to the view of hot-air balloons floating across the city from 6am during the Canberra Balloon Spectacular. The city will also be lit up with the Enlighten Illuminations across 17 days from 26 February.
Taking place over the Canberra long weekend (March 7-8), the Canberra Carnival will include the prestigious Black Opal Stakes Race Day on Sunday followed by the new family-focused Canberra Cup Day on Monday. Pop into the Thoroughbred Park, home of the Canberra Racing Club, for a fast-paced, fun-filled long weekend.
Try up to 250 craft beers and ciders, visit gourmet food stores, enjoy live entertainment, participate in beer and food matching, meet the brewers and more. Canberra Beer Festival will take place on March 20 at the Canberra Mercure hotel.
Dry boat race
The Rotary Henley on Todd Regatta is a quirky and eclectic 'boat'-racing festival held annually on the dry bed of the Todd River in downtown Alice Springs. On August 21, attendees will compete in Flintstones style, holding a metal frame and sprinting for the finish line.
Travelling film festival
Iconic NT locations will be transformed from March 9 to June 4 into spectacular outdoor movie theatres. The film festival showcases short film, television and video productions from the NT, capturing the stories, culture and landscape of the region.
Desert lights - Parrtjima
The annual Festival in Light will take place from April 9-18 at Alice Springs Desert Park. The theme for 2021 is "Future Kultcha" which focuses on intergenerational wisdom told through light installations, art, music, dance, performance and digital. It's a sight to behold set against the MacDonnell Ranges.
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