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Blessed by the Sun: Australia’s Best Arts and Culture Festivals in Spring 2013
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Blessed by the Sun: Australia’s Best Arts and Culture Festivals in Spring 2013

Picture of Andrew Kingsford-Smith
Updated: 9 February 2017
While the Northern Hemisphere prepares itself for winter, Australia enjoys some of its most pleasant climates between September and December, luring travelers from all over the world. Spread across Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and beyond, this season will see hundreds of enthralling events take place throughout this vast island nation. Discover ten of the best festivals that celebrate Australia’s diverse culture and natural beauty.

Literature | Brisbane Writers Festival

Brisbane: 3 – 9 September 2013

A noteworthy event in Australia’s literary calendar, the Brisbane Writers Festival unites authors and book lovers in a thought provoking programme of debates, talks, readings and more. Covering a broad range of genres from political to fiction, and from graphic novels to sport, the festival brings together a range of professionals and academics, exploring the boundless influence of literary culture on all aspects of life.

Art | Desart Mob 2013

Alice Springs: 5 September – 20 October 2013

The country’s leading event featuring new art by Aboriginal artists in Central Australia, Desart Mob unites 35 art centers in a captivating display of contemporary art. Presenting over 300 works that provide visitors with an insight into the trends and artistic movements of Aboriginal art, one of the highlights of the exhibition is the Symposium, taking place on the 6th of September, which will bring together artists, curators and other special guests for a range of presentations and talks.

Performance | Sydney Fringe Festival

Sydney: 6 – 29 September 2013

Inspired by momentous international festivals such as the Edinburgh Fringe, Sydney Fringe Festival is a young event that was established in 2010. Taking place in over 60 venues across five distinct creative villages on the city’s fringe, the festival is open to art performances and exhibitions of all kinds, including theatre, cabaret, music and visual arts. Fueled by outstanding practitioners who are not afraid to take risks, Sydney Fringe is an enthralling event whose youth only adds further excitement to the creative atmosphere.

Film | Adelaide Film Festival

Adelaide: 10 – 20 October 2013

Dubbed ‘the most important cultural event to do with cinema in Australia’ by film critic Margaret Pomeranz, Adelaide Film Festival is a biannual event that sweeps over the South Australian capital with a barrage of feature films, documentaries, animations, short films and new media works. Exploring contemporary works from both Australian and international practitioners, the festival will feature a strong focus on independent film. Coinciding for the first time in its history with the Adelaide Festival of Ideas, Adelaide promises to be a buzzing cultural hub in October, full of debates, discussions and thought provoking experiences.

Performance | Melbourne Festival

Melbourne: 11 – 27 October 2013

One of Australia’s most significant international arts events, Melbourne Festival has grown in size, influence and reputation since its founding in 1986, when it was the third event in the Spoleto Festival series directed by Gian Carlo Menotti. Today the festival is curated by creative director Josephine Ridge and brings together the greatest performances in theatre, dance, music, visual arts and multimedia, as well as a programme of outdoor events from both acclaimed and emerging Australian and International companies.

Art | Sculptures by the Sea

Sydney: 24 October – 10 November 2013

Perth: 7 – 24 March 2014

First taking place in 1997, Sculpture by the Sea was founded on a desire to create a major free public arts event in Sydney. Being based in Bondi, the event sees stables of artists install inspiring sculptures that fuse and contrast with the stunning scenery along the Bondi/Tamarama coastal walk. Immensely popular, the event now also takes place in Perth on Cottesloe Beach, and has a sister event in Aarhus in Denmark.

Culture | Canberra Nara Festival

Canberra: 26 October 2013

Celebrating the sister city relationship between Canberra and Nara, this festival is an enchanting experience that focuses on the popularity and influence of Japanese culture in Australian society. While the highlight of the festival is the lighting of 2000 candles in the Canberra Nara Peace Park at dusk, the event features a full programme of activities, such as workshops and demonstrations of calligraphy, origami, lantern-making and martial arts, as well as Japanese food stalls, and musical and dance performances.

Art | Australian Art Show

Sydney: 25-27 October 2013

A popular event in the Australian art world, the Australian Art Show takes place in both Sydney and Melbourne, bringing thousands of artworks by acclaimed and emerging artists under one roof. With the earlier Melbourne show being a roaring success, the Sydney event is much anticipated, and is aimed at fostering the continual growth of public interest in visual arts. Designed to cater for both art professionals as well as new comers, this event looks to demystify the art world, as well as nurture up and coming talent.

Music & Food | Mildura Jazz Food and Wine Festival

Mildura: 1 – 5 November 2013

Nicknamed ‘Victoria’s Food Bowl’, the rural area of Mildura produces a large percentage of Victoria’s citrus fruits and grapes, and as such has become renowned for its vineyards. Celebrating this agricultural heritage, as well as Australia’s love for jazz, the Mildura Jazz Food and Wine Festival offers visitors the opportunity to indulge in delicious drops and dishes in a stunning setting next to the Murray River, all while reveling in world class music.

Film | Aperture Festival 2013

Melbourne: 22 – 23 November 2013

Taking place for the first time this year, Aperture Festival looks to join the list of acclaimed film festivals in Australia’s cultural calendar. Focusing on documentaries about the Asia Pacific region as well as filmmakers from this area, Aperture will engage in new and unique ways with the culture of Australia’s closest neighbors. The Asia Pacific is vastly underrepresented in the arts industries, with Taiwan and Vietnam being the only other countries to hold ethnographic documentary festivals for this region. Free to the public, Aperture hopes to change this, creating new relationships between practitioners and organizations in this area, Australia and the rest of the world.

By Andrew Kingsford-Smith