Best Music Festivals in Sydney
For lovers of live music festivals in Sydney, the last couple of years has been very tough. The Covid-19 pandemic led to mass cancellations and postponements, sometimes at the very last minute, which left thousands of people disappointed and organisers on the brink of financial ruin. Thankfully the worst of it is over now and with vaccination rates high and lockdowns a thing of the past, we can all look forward to the music cranking up again. Throughout the year, Sydney hosts a number of fantastic music festivals that cover every genre you can think of. From rock and hip-hop to dance and folk, here are 10 banging annual events to look forward to in 2023.
Festival X Sydney
Although Festival X only debuted in Australia in 2019, it was such a major success that calls for a repeat the following year were demanded by those who went. While plans for an event in 2020 were drawn up, they had to be put on hold. But this festival well and truly came back with a vengeance in 2022 thanks to headline acts like Calvin Harris, Don Toliver and Cosmic Gate. With shows at Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, ' the latter of which took place at the Olympic Park Showgrounds ' this electronic dance festival thrilled audiences with its brilliant stage set-up and acoustics. It is sure to do the same next year.
If you are a fan of techno, a raver or EDM aficionado then Ultra Australia is the one festival in the year you need to get to. Possibly the biggest worldwide festival currently in existence, this open-air electronic music event forms part of the Ultra Music Festival. Throughout the year it is hosted in over 20 different countries. Making its debut in Sydney in 2019 the event was attended by over 40,000 people. The next one is scheduled for April 15th, 2023 and is due to take place at Sydney Myer Music Bowl. Prepare yourself for an incredible stage production and phenomenal sound!
Touch Bass Sydney Festival
One of the most eagerly anticipated Music Festivals in Sydney in 2023 is the Touch Bass Sydney Festival. Again taking place in April, at the Hordern Pavillion, this event wowed audiences in several different cities within Australia when it debuted in 2019. The forthcoming festival is organised by Fuzzy Events and Pitch Control and is set to feature the likes of Excision, Kanine, Drezo, Flava D and Wa-Fu. Also boasting loud rigs and exceptional production, previous shows have included the likes of Zomboy, Snails, Getter, Slushi, REZZ, Jauz and Rusko, with tickets selling out within just a few hours of becoming available ' such was the demand for them.
St. Jerome's Laneway Festival
With roots dating back to 2005 in Melbourne, The St. Jerome's Laneway Festival is one of the most popular music festivals in Australia. Fondly referred to as 'Laneway', the event is for those aged 16 years and older and takes place at the Sydney Olympic Park. As well as in Adelaide, Auckland, Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne. Taking place in early February, the line-up for this one-day festival is as diverse as the city's population. Tickets might be a bit pricey for some, but with acts like Haim, Joji, Phoebe, Bridgers and Finnaes on the bill, the cost is definitely worth it.
Field Day is a very popular outdoor music festival that takes place on New Year's Day every year at The Domain in Sydney. Presenting the best in international and Australian hip-hop, indie, electronic and house artists, this massive one-day festival is sprawled across up to five different stages. Priding itself on being a boutique music event, it is known for its congenial vibe and fantastic line up which this year includes the likes of Diplo, Clunee, Tkay Maizda, Pretty Girl and Charlotte De Witte. The event first took place in 2002 and now attracts over 20,000 attendees every year. Previous international superstars who have performed here in Moby, Calvin Harris, Cardi B and Salt n Pepa.
Harbourlife is undoubtedly one of the best music festivals in Sydney. Taking place at Macquarie's Point this event has been popular since it first launched in 2003. It is arguably now the city's premier dance music festival and aptly coincides with the start of the summer. This year's event happened in mid-November and featured the likes of Claptone, Hot Since 82, Billy Xane and Cassian. Preparations for next year are already underway with tickets likely to sell out very quickly. If you aren't lucky enough to score them, here is an inside tip! Head on over to the Royal Botanical Gardens where you can listen to the music for free ' as if you were there.
Pure Festival Sydney
For those who love techno, Pure is a 'must-attend' festival! Over the last couple of years, this one-day event has taken place in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Sydney, thrilling fans of electronic music with some high-octane sets. Headlined by Carl Cox, who now calls Australia home, the festival features some of the best pounding basslines and most intoxicating 4'4 beats you could ever wish to hear. Due to take place at the Hordern Pavillion in the last week of April 2023, the lineup also includes Reinier Zonneveld, Bart Skils and Eric Powel. So it is guaranteed to be epic!
Listen Out Festival
Listen Out is another annual Australian music festival organised by Fuzzy and another one that tours the country. Taking place in Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Sydney, it is due to hit Centennial Park in October 2023. The first festival happened in 2013 and has been going from strength to strength ever since. It is known for its huge stages, incredible pyrotechnics and wonderful vibe and has sold out every single show it has hosted in all the cities it has been in since 2016. The line-up is always stacked with some of the biggest names in the genre. At the last event in 2022, this included JID, AJ Tracey and Meduza.
Good Things Festival
If you like your music with crunching guitars and thunderous drum beats then the Good Things Festival is where you should head too. Held in several cities around Australia, this event features major international and Australian musical performances from genres like heavy metal, rock, emo and punk. At its inaugural event in 2018, the show was headlined by The Offspring. The most recent was in December 2022 and featured Bring Me the Horizon and Deftones. The show also marked the much-anticipated reunion of TISM, who performed their first shows in almost 20 years. Much to the enjoyment of those bouncing around the mosh pit.
The Sydney Folk Festival
No list of the best music festivals in Sydney would be complete without mentioning the Sydney Folk Festival. Inaugurated in 1977, this institution in Australia's live music scene has taken on a life of its own. More than just a music festival, the hugely popular urban event highlights the diversity of people through interactive sessions, workshops, spoken word and dance programs and of course concerts. It takes place at Surry Hills and features artists from all over Australia, as well as abroad. At the most recent event, this included the likes of 40 degrees south, Bodhi Turner and Corn Nut Creek.