Sydney Festival's 'Free-for-all'

Sydney Festival is for everyone.

Yep, for you too. Correct, even if you don't have a buck to spare.

Take a look at the full program of Sydney Festival's FREE & CHEAP gigs and events, or view our top picks below.

Sydney Festival


Got your Playwave Village Pack, but still have a free arvo to fill? Check out what else you can discover at the Sideshow.


Glitterbox is a one-of-a-kind party experience, created by Sydney-based performance art partnership zin. Bring your friends, pick your favourite song, and cut loose in a glowing, glitter-filled rave cube while the public on the other side of the one-way-mirrors envy your moves.

Returning after its triumphant 2017 debut, in 2018 you’ll find Glitterbox in its new home at the Meriton Festival Village. It’s a free interactive experience that puts the art in party: all you need to do is dance.


Play at Lucas Abela’s award-winning Temple of Din; a cacophonous arcade of hybrid pinball machines and musical instruments, where creating sound – not scoring points – is the main objective.


There’s something inherently creepy about the fortune teller box, in which a robotic simulacrum of a gypsy or wizard doles out predictions regarding one’s fate.

Fortunately, Madame Tulalah is here to demonstrate that a real live person in the box can be just as uncanny and unsettling – and also hilarious, moving, and unexpectedly revelatory.

Richard Chambers plays the good Madame – part automaton, part drag queen – and uses her mystical powers of prognostication to divine the participant’s future, despite the odd technical glitch, over a seven-minute one-on-one session.

Each participant experiences an entirely unique performance, as well as leaving with a 100 percent guaranteed insight into their past, present and future. (Note: not a guarantee. All revelations may be subject to doubt and/or free will).


Put on your VR headset and headphones and find yourself on stage surrounded by the Sydney Dance Company in the middle of a performance. What happens from there? Well, you’ll find out over the subsequent eight minutes, in this groundbreaking collaboration between the Sydney Dance Company and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image.

The direction, from award winning filmmaker Matthew Bate, and the choreography, by former Chunky Move artistic director Gideon Obarzanek, puts you right in the centre of the action.


Bring your swimmers and cool off in the centre of the city. The Meriton Festival Village is turning shipping containers into pop-up swimming pools, where you can catch some rays on the sun loungers and clear your head in the water in between art experiences and Spiegeltent performances. (BYO towel.)


Artist duo Jesse Stevens & Dean Petersen, aka Cake Industries, create performative sculptures that investigate societies, realities, and futures. Their practice utilises mechatronics, robotics, 3D printing and reworked everyday objects to make experimental roving artworks and installations. At the Village Sideshow presented by China Southern Airlines, Cake Industries will be bringing three of their favourite artworks.

Heart of Luna, one of Cake Industries’ most recent creations, is a physical embodiment of an amusement park distilled into a penny arcade machine. Built from roller-coaster wood and featuring wild abstract mechanical scenery, this work aims to enthral and scare – a dark experience not to miss. Insert 20c to begin!

Wandering around the Village Sideshow, you might also stumble across Crate Expectations. It looks like a stack of packing crates and hessian bags…until it starts moving around and playing music, revealing itself to be a roving cabinet of curiosities, with different compartments that open and shut to reveal strange and interesting delights.

And if you’re really lucky, you’ll meet Party Bot! A revitalised 1970s robot rescued from his old job at a bank, Party Bot will roam around the Village Sideshow playing disco music, flashing his lights, talking at people and posing for selfies.


A contemporary take on the infinite tunnel illusion, Continuum was created by Toby & Pete, the Sydney artists behind such works as HP’s ‘Spectorium’ light and sound installation and Flume’s ‘Infinity Prism’.

This art installation bends your perception of reality and space by immersing you inside an infinite column of lights that flash a mesmerising pattern, synched to a hypnotic soundtrack curated by Future Classic. Enter the void.

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