Me, I like the freebies and over past years we've seen some fantastic stuff from Portuguese Dance troupes spraying the crowd with fireworks during a bawdy play on the opera house steps . . Shakespeare in the park . . . free concerts on the Opera House Forecourt, Lady Chatterly's Lover at Vaucluse House (complete with nude sex scenes, that was a bit confronting I don't mind telling you) and outdoor cinema and fireworks at Mrs Macquarie's Chair. There you watch films on a screen which is hydraulically lifted from a pontoon floating on the water. The harbour is just beautiful, with the lights, Opera House and the old coathanger in the background. You don't mind paying $30 entry and $10 for a glass of Verve or risking being bombed by fruit bats as they migrate towards the
A little bigger up close!
The city is bathed with coloured lights, significant buildings highlighted and the foreshore comes alive with everything from buskers to art installations.
It all starts with the New Year's eve Fireworks. Now that the kids are older we don’t spend as much time there. We used to pile in the car after school and head straight for the city. We have however, spent many a New Year's Eve arriving at Mrs Macquarie's chair at 2.00pm, picnicking with friends and taking turns to stretch our legs around the Botanical Gardens whilst someone remains to secure our vantage point. There are fireworks at 9.00pm which are enough to satiate little children but the real charmers go off at Midnight and the harbour is awash with boats from the humble 'tinny' to the classy catamarans all bobbing up and down like so much flotsam and jetsum. The crowds are huge but it all seems to go without too much malice. Except once I lost a pair of $200 Raybans in the dark. There is now a well shaded garbo wondering Sydney with my very spesh sunglasses on. I learned my lesson and now by them from the local servo for $12.
Nothing sets off fireworks like the Harbour Bridge. That little heart is a firework! Seriously.
Among the free events this year are some which captured my imagination. Now I'm not being paid by festival organisers, honestly. It's just that with daylight saving and balmy nights, you'd have to be mad not to take advantage of this very special time and place:
Movies in the Overflow - free movies are screened on Friday and Saturday nights throughout January at a natural amphitheatre in the 2000 Olympic site. Can't do better than a freebie.
Airvag are installations that fill parks and streets with colourful interactive sculptures that delight adults and children alike. As night falls, these beautiful objects begin to glow and sway transforming familiar spaces. 1500 square metres of structures to be climbed and jumped on, to chase around or just lie on and look up into the sky.
Then if we can be bothered to go early, there is Jazz, Opera and Symphony in the Domain on three successive weekends. The Domain is a large green inner city space. When I first came to
The Domain stage
Finally there's Ghostgarden which promises to take us on a surreal journey through the Royal Botanic Gardens. Punters are given GPS technology and Pocket PC's to unravel a trail of the 1800s, when
Interestingly, whilst writing this post about high art and entertainment . . . I have been brought back to the real world of commercial theatre - a Ticketmaster email announcing the dubious launch of "Singalong Sound of Music" . . If it's what I think it is . . . you'll find me in the Ghostgarden, not following the bouncing ball!