The City of Sydney is boosting its support for two of Australia’s longest-running and best-loved cultural festivals – the Biennale of Sydney and Sydney Festival First Night.
As part of a push to ensure Sydney remains home to a year-round calendar of major international events, the City has committed an additional $450,000 for the Biennale over the next three years, and an extra $100,000 for Festival First Night 2013.
This brings the City’s total support for next year’s Sydney Festival to $2.1 million, with more than $1.5 million committed for the 2012 and 2014 Biennale events.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP said the City’s ongoing support was central to the development of Sydney as Australia’s premier cultural and creative city.
“Each year the City invests more than $3.6 million in cash and in-kind support to help bring major festivals to life, including Sydney Festival and Festival First Night, the Biennale of Sydney, the Sydney Film Festival, the Sydney Writers’ Festival and Mardi Gras,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Not only do these events enrich our city’s cultural life immeasurably, but they also shine the international spotlight on Sydney, attracting increased tourism and bringing significant benefits to the local economy.
“Research shows that more than half a million people attended the 2010 Biennale, injecting more than $45 million into the Sydney economy, while around 200,000 people attended last year’s Festival First Night, spending at least $24 million across the city.
“We are strengthening our commitment to both the Biennale and Festival First Night, and look forward to helping them deliver their biggest and best events yet.”
The City’s backing of major Sydney festivals like the Biennale and Festival First Night is in addition to its own program of world-class events – New Year’s Eve, Chinese New Year, Christmas and Art & About – as well as ongoing support for a wide variety of major musicals, community festivals and cultural organisations.
In total, the City spends more than $9.6 million each year on grants and sponsorships to over 500 cultural and community groups.
According to NSW Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Hospitality and Racing and Minister for the Arts, George Souris, this year’s Sydney Festival injected close to $60 million into the NSW economy, with $32 million from direct visitor expenditure and the rest from indirect spending such as hotels, restaurants and retail shopping.
The City is a founding partner of Sydney Festival, which launched in 1976. Over the past 35 years, it has developed into one of Australia’s largest cultural events, featuring an extensive three-week program of music, dance, drama, visual arts, physical theatre and public lectures.
Since 2008, Sydney Festival has opened with Festival First Night, a highly anticipated celebration that gives the public free access to hundreds of local and international performers and artists in various locations across the city centre, including Hyde Park, Macquarie Street and The Domain.
Sydney Festival 2013 will run from 5-28 January, with a new Festival Director, Lieven Bertels, at the helm.
The Biennale of Sydney was first held in 1973 as part of the opening celebrations for the Sydney Opera House, and is now the largest exhibition of contemporary art in the Asia-Pacific region.
Held every two years in a variety of traditional and outdoor venues, the event features a free, three-month art exhibition, as well as a highly regarded program of artist talks, performances, forums, screenings and tours.
In 2010, the event featured its largest-ever representation of Australian artists, with over 65 artists presenting work – including 41 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.
The 2012 Biennale will be held from 27 June-16 September on Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour, as well as major galleries and performance venues across the city.