SYDNEY FESTIVAL: dates with Sydney and Pete

Song Dong: Waste Not




Summer is here. It’s Sydney Festival! And here’s what Sydney says about it in SYDNEY’S SONG:

“Pete and I went out a lot. We used public transport everywhere. Our specialty. The 1300500 dates, we dubbed them.

Sometimes our backpacker friends joined us. On a few nights we joined them in the city. At 1300500, you always knew what was happening in Sydney. The backpacker lot knew more about which entertainment was free. Heaps of free quality ones all of January. Music. Plays. Some by world-class performers. Many celebs were here, jetting down as part of our summerlong Sydney Festival.”


For those of you planning to be in Sydney this Australian summer, below are several FREE upcoming activities you may enjoy. Source: Sydney Festival




January 5 2pm-4pm

Duration 2hours

Darling Harbour


Florentijn Hofman’s giant bobbing artwork Rubber Duck


For the duration of the Festival, Darling Harbour will be home to Florentijn Hofman’s giant bobbing artwork Rubber Duck. Join Sydney Festival at Cockle Bay to celebrate the arrival of Florentijn Hofman’s Rubber Duck with music, dance and a floating party when acclaimed director Patrick Nolan rolls out the welcome mat with a harbour spectacle befitting this gigantic arrival.

If you’re a saxophonist, there’s a great opportunity to get involved in The Arrival and work with composer Scott Saunders to welcome the Rubber Duck to Darling Harbour.




January 6, 9-13 & 16-20 at Sunrise

Duration 20mins


Arkady Shilkloper (Russia)


Arkady Shilkloper (Russia)

Surfers, runners and early starters are in for a treat as Russian horn player Arkady Shilkloper brings his giant alphorn to iconic Sydney sites for a series of dawn callings.

These serenades to the sun will take place on beaches, ferries and city sites in the early hours, as Shilkloper helps you greet the new day.

A masterful performer, Shilkloper has played solo and with Moscow Art Trio (Sydney Festival 2009), the Vienna Art Orchestra and many more.



Sunday January 6

Bondi Beach (along Esplanade at the ‘Groin’)

Wednesday January 9
Manly Ferry

Thursday January 10
Ballast Park Point, Birchgrove

Saturday January 12
Darling Harbour (near Rubber Duck, Druitt Street landing)

Sunday 13 January
Balmoral Beach (along Esplanade walkway at Rotunda)

Wednesday January 16
Sydney Opera House Point

Thursday January 17
Manly Beach (North Steyne on Corso)

Friday January 18
Royal Botanic Gardens (next to Art Gallery of NSW overlooking Wharf by stairs down to Woolloomooloo)

Additional performance locations to be announced for Friday January 11, Saturday January 19 and Sunday January 20.





January 5 – 27 from dawn to dusk

Georges Heights Lookout, Middle Head Road, Mosman

Sir Harrison Birtwistle (UK)

Australian Exclusive – Sir Harrison Birtwistle (UK)

British composer Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s extraordinary electronic work Chronometer was recorded in 1971 at Peter Zinovieff’s pioneering London studio EMS. The piece comprises percussive samples constructed from meticulous recordings of Big Ben and the Wells Cathedral clock in the British Science Museum. Chronometer all but vanished when technological advances revolutionised recording and sound.

The rediscovery of the work reads like a piece of detective fiction with a happy ending: the original quadraphonic tape restored and digitised, safeguarding it for future generations.

Hear the piece while lounging on a beanbag and enjoying the stunning view from Georges Heights Lookout.

“His music is a vital, essential, life force which you need to hear” The Guardian (on Sir Harrison Birtwistle)




January 5, 7:30pm-11pm

Duration 3hours

The Domain, Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney

Charles Bradley, soul singer



When day turns to night, it’s time to party in the park, Sydney Festival style.
Ride to Day One and take advantage of the FREE bike valet-parking service from City of Sydney from 5.30 until 11.30pm in The Domain.
In The Domain from 7.30pm, join 60,000 of your closest friends for the Daptone Super Soul Revue; a huge outdoor dance party featuring Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Charles Bradley, The Budos Band, Menahan Street Band and Sugarman 3, with the super cool Binky Griptite from the Dap-Kings as MC for the evening.

From the House of Soul to the Domain stage, the Daptone Super Soul Revue is a nonstop 3-hour show starring a red-hot selection of artists from the infamous Brooklyn label Daptone Records, the indie label which has delivered delectable nuggets of Soul, Funk, Gospel and Afrobeat to the world for the last decade. Musician-owned and run, the Brooklyn-based family of soul-drenched talent channels the spirits of bygone powerhouses like Stax and Motown into gilded moments of movement and joy.
Sharon Jones returns to Sydney Festival with her 10-piece backing band The Dap-Kings. Known for her relentless energy and soulful voice, Jones and her awesome band are the perfect choice to celebrate the return of summer and Sydney Festival!

They’ll be joined by 60-something brilliant soul-singer Charles Bradley, who was discovered late in a very difficult life. A fateful encounter with Daptone Records transported Bradley from an uncertain future to the release of his debut album in 2011 and playing to sold-out audiences around the world. Come see for yourself why he’s nicknamed the “Screaming Eagle of Soul”!

With three full-length albums and one EP under their belts, The Budos Band finally make their Australian debut. The sound of the Budos has taken several turns, from the Afrofunk-inspired sonic lava and venomous Ethiopian jazz of their first two records to the Black Sabbath and Pentagram influences that began on Budos III and continue into the preparation of the fourth.
The Menahan Street Band is a collaboration of musicians from The Dap-Kings, Antibalas and the Budos Band, brought together by musician/producer Thomas Brenneck to record hits in the bedroom of his Menahan St. apartment in Bushwick, Brooklyn. With influences reaching beyond the funk/soul/afrobeat architecture of the members’ other projects into the more ethereal realms of Curtis Mayfield and Mulatu Astatke, and even Ennio Morricone, the Menahan Street Band creates a unique new instrumental sound that is as raw as it is lush.

Saxophonist and founder of Daptone Records Neal Sugarman is behind The Sugarman 3, an organ-driven soul machine who quickly defined its sound as a break from the academics of typical soul-jazz by focusing on the soulful funk element of organ music and avoiding the affectations and clichés which too often alienate jazz musicians from the dance floor.


Get involved with Fun Run

January 5 9:30am – 2:30pm

Duration 5hours

Hyde Park
When the Greek messenger Pheidippides ran to Athens to announce the defeat of Persia in the battle of Marathon, he ran 42.2 kilometres without stopping, burst into the Athenian assembly, delivered his news and died on the spot. FUN RUN is his story.

This athletic celebration lifts you from curious onlooker to dancing cheerleader, as our sporting hero ‘Humphrey’ runs a marathon on stage. Supported by DJs, pyrotechnics and his own dance troupe ‘Haus da Humps’, Sydneysiders are invited to join hundreds of local sports and community groups as they dance, ride,  flex and cheer ‘Humps’ across the finish line.




January 26 at 11am

Sydney Harbour


Sydney’s Ferrython

Few sights on Sydney Harbour in summer are as spectacular as the hugely popular Australia Day race, when Sydney’s trademark ferries compete for line honours each year.
Pack a picnic hamper, gather on the foreshore and barrack for your favourite ferry as they race from Circular Quay to Shark Island then back to the finishing post under the Harbour Bridge.




January 12, 19, 26 at 11.30pm
over 18s venue from 5pm

The Famous Spiegeltent, Honda Festival Garden, Hyde Park

Hot Dub Time Machine

All aboard Hot Dub Time Machine, the world’s first time-travelling dance party!

Travel back in time to 1954 then boogie back to 2013 with a song for each year powered by YOUR dancing! Sold out shows across the world agree: this is the Best. Party. Ever!



January 19

Church St
Parramatta CBD

Pyrophone Juggernaut

As the sun sets on Church Street Parra Opening Party erupts to the flamed-fuelled sights and sounds of Hubbub Music’s Pyrophone Juggernaut .

Based on a 250-year-old experimental musical instrument, Pyrophone Juggernaut is the largest hand-operated multi-octave fire organ in the world. Deep growls, atavistic moans, and even choral sounding timbres combine with epic bell chords, industrial drums and acoustic bass to create a jaw-dropping symphony of sound and fire. This giant instrument, made from stainless steel, copper and aluminium industrial salvage is sure to set pulses racing and toes-a-tapping!




January 26 at 8pm

The Domain, Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney

Sydney Symphony

Conductor André de Ridder

Sydney Symphony at The Domain

Kick back and enjoy iconic classical music from Stanley Kubrick’s cinematic masterpieces. Enjoy the thrilling and evocative music of Rossini, Bach, Purcell, Khachaturian and Elgar featured in A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, Eyes Wide Shut, 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Shining.

ROSSINI: Overture to La gazza ladra (The Thieving Magpie)
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No.9 in D minor, Op.125 (Choral): Mvt.2, Scherzo
PURCELL: March & Canzona for the Funeral of Queen Mary, Z.860: Mvt 1, March
BACH: Concerto in C minor for oboe, violin and strings, BWV1060: Mvts. II & III Adagio & Allegro
ROSSINI: William Tell: Overture                                                                 SHOSTAKOVICH: Suite for variety orchestra: Mvt 7, Waltz No.2
BARTÓK: Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta: Mvt.3, Adagio
KHACHATURIAN: Suite No.1 from Gayane: Mvt. 7, Gayane’s Adagio
ELGAR: Pomp and Circumstance – March No.4 in G
TCHAIKOVSKY: 1812 – Festival Overture, Op.49

2001: A Space Odyssey will be accompanied live by Sydney Symphony and Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, screened at Sydney Opera House.




January 26 at 8pm

The Parade Ground @ Old King’s


Archie Roach

Into The Bloodstream

Archie Roach is celebrated as one of Australia’s most gifted artists. Since his 1990 debut Charcoal Lane,he has released a stream of remarkable albums, receiving praise from and touring with Bob Dylan, Billy Bragg, Patti Smith and more.

A born-storyteller, Archie plays songs from his new album Into The Bloodstream. His songs map a journey through hardship to healing, as he lifts himself and others up through music.

Archie is joined by a 13-piece music ensemble and a 10-voice gospel choir to create an inspiring and soulful performance, headlining a fantastic night of free family entertainment to close this year’s Festival in Parramatta.



Those are some of the freebies. Of course if you’re cashed up, there are so many paid events at the following venues. Have a lovely summer!






Joe Hildebrand brings Drunk, Dumb, and Racist to the small screen and successfully lifts ABC’s rating, makes hundreds of thousands laugh and laugh—and makes hundreds of thousands of Australian hearts cringe to face the truth.

But how much truth is in it? And is it the only truth?

I feel I can’t just laugh (yes, I’ve been a fan of Joe’s satire for years), shake my head, and get on with my life on this one. I’m a true Australian, albeit born overseas, and this stereotyping hurts me no end.

I can tell you how drunk we can be. But I can also tell you no one can beat the Icelanders for maximum damage yet, although Pommy and Irish friends boast how they try.

I can tell you how dumb we can be. But I can talk for hours about many great achievements our Australian scientists have contributed to the world lately, too.

I can tell you how racist we can be. But are we more racist than others?

Once I worked for an inbound Australian call centre in Sydney. Hearing my accent when I answered the calls, some people said the following. I include what would have been my responses- had I been allowed to voice them.

“Ahhh… a new Australian.”

New? New??? I’ve lived in Sydney longer than any other place I’ve ever been on earth!

And, “How’s the weather in New Delhi?”

Never been there in my life, mate. Go google the world’s weather.

“I want to speak with somebody who knows better English!”

Nobody in my office knows better English than me. I know legal English. I know finance and business English. I know biology and medical English. I know physics, mathematical, and IT English. I know geophysical and geological English. I know electrical and mechanical engineering English. I know philosophy and theology English. I know Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Harry Potter. They all have very different vocabularies—wanna compete with me? I’ve done linguistic work in those fields, written essays and speeches, been invited to speak in a major international conference, and I live with a hubby who can only speak English. You think having an accent equals being dumb? Think again.

However the majority of callers said, “What a lovely accent! Where are you from?”  And I haven’t spoken my mother’s tongue for at least 20 years. My native people have disowned my belonging-to-nowhere-land unrecognisable accent.

Furthermore, the above facts and experience aside, I strongly disagree with stereotyping Aussies as drunk, dumb, and racist, because those are not the only facts and experience I’ve encountered, and not the only truth I know.

Let me start with how friendly the people of Jakarta were. During my high school years, which began as a new kid from Sumatra, a parentless one at that, the feeling of acceptance from kids and adults of various ethnic backgrounds was gratifying. I was a charity case at a prestigious Catholic school and had wonderful Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, and Confucians for friends, as well as fabulous atheist Russian teachers. But at 18, moving 200km away to a university town called Bandung, I was rudely forced to face racism for the first time.

Unlike the mix-raced kids from Jakarta, students fresh out from the provinces looked down on others who were “different” and were very reluctant to speak the national language. The two most dominant groups were the Javanese and the Minangs, although there were at least 20 major ethnic groups—each with different language, cuisine, tradition, religion, culture. The Javanese said the Minang’s lively dances were uncultured, the Minangs said the Javanese aristocratic class were snobs.

My Minang friends criticised me, a Minang, for not being active in the Minang Dance Club—never mind that I was a very poor dancer. My Javanese friends in my hang-gliding and aero-modelling club spoke Javanese all the time, trying their best to make me one of them—never mind that our sport had nothing to do with culture. A Muslim friend complained about me being close to a Christian Chinese. A Catholic disapproved of a Balinese Hindu. Why? I wasn’t close to these individuals because of their faiths or origins, but because they were people.

Another friend was furious with me for feeding a starving, vegetarian English friend. She said if I lived in the land of the white people, they would not care for me, and would never be bothered about my special needs. But I had not fed this friend because she was white! We had just come down from the mountains, hungry and cold, and the only available food was for the meat lovers. She was a human. I remember crying for days, couldn’t get over the heartlessness and intolerance.

Anyway, in December 1983 I visited Aussieland for the very first time. Several first impressions stayed indelible. At the foremost, was how my Australian friend, a former exchange student at my high school, had sent me all her savings so I could visit. How could I view Aussies as selfish and racist after that?  Once during this visit I stood on the side of the road about to cross it, and, to my surprise, a car stopped to allow me to pass. Where I came from, nobody would ever do that! And the people I met face to face, how friendly, helpful, and polite they were to me, accent and all. When I returned to my then home, a Chinese acquaintance asked, “Your Australian friend is white and beautiful—how come she is willing to be your friend?”

Three decades later, after being in more places and becoming an Aussie myself, I can safely share we aren’t anymore racist than others. My Belgian friend says, “When a Dutchman dies, he is buried facing Belgium, his dreamland.” Don’t start me on what my Scott friends say about the English, or the English about the Irish. I have a Fijian friend whose mother complains all the time, “Your husband is kind, but his skin is so dark!” I had attended a birthday party where only friends who were university graduates were invited. And I have been among Indian friends who talk happily among themselves in languages that I don’t understand. There was this Asian shop in Coolangatta, filled with merchandise from Thailand. Once, wanting to brush up my rusty Thai, I asked the lady at the counter whether she was from Thailand. Bristling, she snapped, “No I’m from China! The Thais are brown! Can’t you see I’m white???” Will I label the Chinese as rude and racist? Stuff it. I have a few wonderful Chinese close friends.

I have also worked with French, American and British colleagues, and everywhere I have encountered more helpful ones than not. Methinks racism and prejudice aren’t national traits, but individual’s.

Continuing the tradition: my little one with his best friends

My little one has two best friends, from Kenya and from the UK, and they are very happy together. My old white Aussie friend and I are like family—our kids sure can’t stand a chance having two mothers mothering them since they were babies.

Stop slinging mud, people. Methinks promoting friendships is more beneficial for you—and all humanity.