Back home, it seems fashionable to view Sydney as a city that’s a cultural void, with unsophisticated inhabitants, doomed to do little else than relax on the beach or drink. And I’ve got to admit, I did think this myself. A bit. So, moving to Sydney I was sceptical as to what I might find.
But what I’ve discovered is a vibrant, dynamic city, alive with innovative culture and arts, with real investment in the sector that would put most UK cities to shame.
January alone has seen a program of events that could rival anything going on in London. The fantastic Sydney Festival brought together hundreds of events over of a month ranging from concerts to public art installations, visual arts and theatre. My favorite included a series of outdoor concerts in the Hyde Park Barracks, including underground electronic music from Henrik Schwarz and Cobblestone Jazz – both of them big draws for any dance head.
The large East Asian population in the city also means incredible cultural diversity, and extravagant goings on for Chinese New Year, including screenings of Asian art house cinema in public parks, parades, and Sydney Harbor dragon boat races.
Each cultural space – and there are loads – also seem committed to putting on innovative events. The city museum, which has launched a weekly ‘after hours’ night for adults with live music, conceptual art and performance theatre, is a great example of this, with them posing the question: how can we do things differently?
It’s certainly a city that’s upped its game (phew!) and anyone still holding the view that it’s two dimensional and bland will be surprised. Amazed even.
And if all this high culture is a bit much, my real favorite has been this guy – the Bottle Man!
Image used under Creative Commons, courtesy of DaleOlds.