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The Top 9 Can’t-Miss Music Festivals in Sydney

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Grab your festie besties because music festivals in Sydney are among the best in the world! Every year, the number of events grows because the local fans are always craving something new, bigger and better. It seems like nothing is ever enough and organisers are happy to keep pumping out the dates.

1. Field Day – New Year’s Day Sydney music festival

A New Year’s Day Sydney staple since 2002, Field Day is the go-to event for fans of house, electronic, indie and hip-hop music. It attracts artists from all over the world and more than 20,000 people pile in to The Domain every year. The 2018 line-up included Flume, George Maple, Baauer, Schoolboy Q and DJ Snake. Field Day is known as one of the friendliest music festivals in Sydney and is considered the best possible way to follow up the city’s world-famous New Year’s Eve fireworks.

2. FOMO Festival – mid-January

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If Field Day whets your appetite, then FOMO will fill you up! Touted as a one-day mega party, those who attend commonly report that the sound quality is superb, the venue is fantastic and because there’s only one stage, everyone hangs together for the entire day.

That means you don’t have to choose between two favourite acts; and of course, that means you’ll have no Fear of Missing Out! Post Malone made a stand-out appearance at the 2018 FOMO and was joined by RL Grime, Kaytranada, ZHU, The Kite String Tangle and more.

3. Electric Gardens – late January

Electric Gardens typically coincides with the Australia Day holiday so it’s full-on sunshine with a side of big beats. Fatboy Slim and Armand Van Helden were the headline acts at Centennial Park for 2018; every year, the organisers promise to keep pulling in thrilling performers, to the unbridled excitement of fans who travel in from all over Australia.

4. Sydney City Limits – February

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The inaugural Sydney City Limits festival in 2018 was a massive hit. This one-day event caters for all ages and boasts an impressive line-up of newcomers and seasoned veterans. Centennial Parklands came alive to the strains of Vance Joy, The Libertines, Thundercat, Tash Sultana and the inimitable Grace Jones.

Based on the massive Austin City Limits gig held in Texas in the US, the Sydney version was no less thrilling for those who went along. As well as the amazing artists, people enthused about the sense of community and the great food options on offer.

5. Days Like This – March

Held for the first time in 2017, Days Like This quickly found its fans. It’s an extravaganza of house, electronica and techno music and revellers reported a brilliant vibe, vowing to return the following year. Expect grassy dance floors, fabulous views of the city skyline and incredible acts that will blow your mind!

The 2018 lineup featured Ben UFO from the UK, The Black Madonna (USA), Maceo Plex (USA) and local act, Cassette, among many others. Very well organised and with tons of food and beverage options, Days Like This promises to get better and better every year.

6. Listen Out – September

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The four-city touring show that is Listen Out drops by Sydney in September each year and is known for being ‘the best, not the biggest’. The 2018 line-up featured Skrillex, Camelphat, Noname and Petit Biscuit plus several others and is a dance party to end all dance parties! Go along and get moving to the hip hop beats at Centennial Park.

7. Harbourlife – November

Party by the water at Harbourlife, where the 2018 line-up included MK, Green Velvet, Eli Brown and others. This annual one-day event heralds the start of the summer festival season.

The location – Mrs Macquarie’s Point – is situated right next to Circular Quay and offers dazzling views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Many people charter vessels and enjoy the event from the water, which only adds to the atmosphere for all.

8. Return to Rio – November

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Prepare for a big fat weekend of music, beer and fancy dress. Pack your favourite onesie or paint your face like your spirit animal and you’ll soon find yourself mingling with other bizarrely dressed and made up festival-goers. Revel in the tech-house, techno and deep-house music played over two stages, the ‘Love Shack’ and the pool. Held over a two-day weekend at Del Rio Resort in Wiseman’s Ferry, it’s just an hour or so drive from Sydney.

Pitch a tent or park yourself under a shady tree. There are bathroom facilities, you can bring your own alcohol and you can pretty much let it all hang out for a couple of glorious days. The people are friendly, the sense of community is strong, and the crowd is a little older than the usual festival bunch.

When you get hungry – and you will – there are lots of food and drink options on site but you can bring your own to save money. You might want to plan to stay past the last acts because after-parties will be in full swing. Drop by a campsite and ask if you can join or invite others to yours.

9. Subsonic – December

If you’ve never heard of ‘bush doof’, then you need to buy tickets for Subsonic. It’s unique, it’s exhausting, it’s a little bit alternative and the music just keeps on playing. Subsonic is a lifestyle festival in a multi-sensory environment. Set over three days, it offers a fun camping experience in a spectacular location – Riverwood Downs Mountain Valley Resort – three hours’ drive north of Sydney.

Swim in the river, enjoy clean and convenient bathroom facilities and party all weekend long. You won’t need your wallet as Subsonic is a cashless festival. You’ll receive a waterproof chip-enabled bracelet that you can charge with money as you need it. Oh, and you won’t have mobile phone reception so you’re just going to have to enjoy the acts, meet people and switch off!

With so much happening throughout the year, it’s no wonder Sydney has become known as the music festival capital of Australia! Whether you are planning your trip to coincide with your favourite festival or you are living or studying long-term in Sydney, you should definitely make a point of attending at least one.


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