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Stereosonic | © Ryan Polei/Flickr
Stereosonic | © Ryan Polei/Flickr
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Australian Festivals You Must Not Miss In 2017

Picture of Ellie Griffiths
Updated: 9 February 2017
As 2016 comes to a close, there is no better way to start planning the new year than finding out which of your favourite art, food and drink, and music festivals are making it back for another year. With an array of festivals held throughout the year, there is a reason to head to each state and territory of Australia throughout 2017.

December/January: New Year’s Eve Celebrations

31 December – 1 January

Count down the last few moments of 2016 and welcome 2017 in with a bang, literally. After all, there’s no better way to bring in the new year than attending the New Year’s Eve Fireworks at Sydney‘s Harbour. With the glittering sky and cityscape reflecting on the waters below, and several vantage points, there is no New Year’s celebration quite like this.

January: Australia Day Celebrations

25 January

Every year, Aussies across the nation and the world come together to celebrate Australia Day. One of the most iconic days of celebration, there are hundreds of planned and unplanned events across the country. Join the Havaianas Thong Challenge at one of the many beaches across Australia, relax along the beach with every man and his dog, or head out to the park for a BBQ. Whatever it is you choose to do or join in, Aussies truly know how to make the most of a celebration – especially in summer.

February: National Multicultural Festival Canberra

17-19 February

Canberra‘s National Multicultural Festival has been running since 1996, celebrating the cultural diversity of Australia. Beginning as a one-day event to today when it hosts a three-day festival, Canberrans are joined by fellow Aussies and international visitors to explore and recognise the unique cultures – from Greek to Latin American and Chinese – through food, dancing, shows and activities.

March: Ten Days on the Island

17-26 March

In 2001, the Tasmanian Government developed Ten Days on the Island, a statewide cultural festival exposing both national and international artists and companies to Tasmania, the country and the world. Celebrating Tasmania’s unique ‘island culture’ and creative character, this festival has since entertained 1.2 million people, bringing with it enthusiastic performers travelling from the likes of Manhattan and Madagascar to perform on the island at a truly one-of-a-kind international festival.

April: Fremantle Street Arts Festival

15-17 April

From busking and street theatre to comedy, cabaret and a circus, world-class acts are lining up on Fremantle’s doorstep for the biggest and best street arts festival in Australia. The Fremantle Street Arts Festival is three days of some of the best performers the world has to offer – from the USA, Japan, UK, France, Cuba, the Netherlands, New Zealand and, of course, Australia. Whether you book a ticket to one of the shows or wander through the free performances across Freo, there’s something to entertain everyone.

April/May: Groovin the Moo


If you’re feeling the groove or are in need to moo-ve your body to some of the best musicians and bands, then Groovin the Moo (also known as GTM) is calling your name. Every year over 1,000 people head out to one of the venue’s hosting the country’s ‘only annual six-date touring music event to visit regional Australia’ for an udder-ly exciting day of music and festivities.

May/June: Vivid Sydney


After the groundbreaking record of 2.3 million visitors heading to the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas, it is unsurprising that Vivid Sydney returns for another year. This 23-day festival features an array of sculptures and installations alongside forums and a contemporary music program. Turning Sydney into a magical wonderland of innovative light designs – creating one of the largest outdoor ‘art-galler[ies]’ in the world – this is a truly creative experience.

June: Sydney Film Festival

7-18 June

One of the longest-running film festivals in the world is one of the biggest events on the annual cultural calendar of New South Wales. The Sydney Film Festival is a 12-day festival screening films – including animation, documentaries and short films – from artists from across the country and the world at an array of venues across the state. Continuing to support Australian filmmaking, many awards and fellowships are awarded throughout the festival. Who knows, you may discover a genre you didn’t think you previously enjoyed.

July: Splendour in the Grass


Could there be any better way to spend winter than camping at a music festival in the Parklands of North Byron? Splendour in the Grass is an Australian music festival that has been held annually since 2001, encouraging music lovers and friends to take three days out of their winter to make the most of the great outdoors. Rain, hail, shine and mud, festival-goers are all more than happy to be here to listen to their favourite and new local and international bands and musicians.

August: Darwin Festival


The smallest of Australia’s capital cities is home to an 18-day celebration bringing the beauty of visual art, cabaret, dance, music and theatre to the tropical city of Darwin. Darwin Festival encourages locals and visitors to attend as many performances as their heart’s content, with free performances across the city. Occurring every August, this is a festival that will need to be experienced should you find yourself in the Northern Territory.

September: Brisbane Festival


With the introduction of Arcadia Australia in 2016, there is already buzz for Brisbane Festival 2017. Standing as one of the major international arts festivals in the country, Brisbane is brought to life through major public events and programs covering circus, dance, music, opera and theatre. Becoming an annual festival in 2009, this is now admired by people from across the world, as spirits are lifted through showcasing the very best Brisbane has to offer through removing cultural and physical barriers between performers and audiences.

September/October: Burning Seed


Technically, Burning Seed is not a festival as it is not created by event producers, rather it is created by the participants. Through collaboration and participation, Australia’s rendition of the globally known Burning Man is brought to life. After the burning of the wooden man and temple in Black Rock City, visitors are advised to leave the region how it stood prior to the burning – in other words, the city disappears without a trace for another year.

October: Oktoberfest In The Gardens


What else is there to do in October than celebrate Oktoberfest? After all, Aussies love their beer just as much as Germans do. Oktoberfest in the Gardens is fast becoming one of Australia’s favourite annual events – admittedly because of the beer – occurring at a garden in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Inspired by the traditional Bavarian festival, authentic German food stalls and roving performers will take you away to European land for a day of celebrations, just don’t forget to dress up!

November/December: Stereosonic


After cancelling the 2016 event, the team behind the electronic dance music festival Stereosonic promised they’ll be back in 2017 with a festival bigger than ever before. Music lovers are holding them to it, as this festival has been regarded as the fastest-growing music festival in Australia, inviting the likes of Calvin Harris, Avicii, Krewella, Disclosure and Armin van Buuren to grace the stages. Partying your way well into the night, Stereosonic is one of the best ways to welcome summer back to the country.

December: Southbound Festival


As the year comes to an end, head down to the south end of Western Australia for Southbound Festival (get it, you are south-bound for Southbound). This music festival is like Splendour in the Grass in the sense that you get to go camping; however, this time, you are camping in the warmth of an Aussie summer, allowing you to make the most of the last few days of 2017, before saying g-day to another new year.