After the coolest and wettest December in 51 years, summer has finally arrived in Sydney. Long,hot, still days that build to a hot blustery southerly buster. Days of lying on the beach, sticky peach juice running down a sweaty wrist, mingling with coconutty sunblock and the audio wallpaper of cicadas chirrupping and cricket commentators chatting over the 5 day long test games.
It’s also the time of year when many families head off their annual holiday, taking the roads leading to the north and south of Sydney for quieter coastal retreats. But I love Sydney in the summer. Lounging on Nielsen Park, building sandcastles, floating in the safely shark-netted water and sipping a cappuccino. Watching the bats fly over the twilight sky over the moonlight cinema screen, catching ferries on the sparkling Sydney Harbour and just generally enjoying the laid back, relaxed summer ambience that infuses my city.
And of course there is the Sydney Festival. The annual arts programme of theatre, performance, music and art. over the next three weeks, you can sample cabaret in the intimate and art nouveau styled Spiegeltent; symphony and opera in a large open air picnic atmosphere (cost – free); take in the works of Picasso at the Art Gallery of NSW; listen to Holly Throsby children’s songs or maybe PJ Harvey is more your thing. If you can’t find something to enjoy at the Sydney Festival, you’re just not trying!
My festival kicked off on Saturday at the Festival First Night (in our case afternoon) at the free family day in the Sydney’s Hyde Park. We became entangled in a sculpture installation with Polyglot Children’s Theatre and listened to a band of gypsy musicians rehearsing at a bus stop and wandered around corner to just in time to watch a big band in rehearsal with a group of swing dancers. Our afternoon rounded off with stories from Indigenous folklore and lazing on a lawn to mellow music that perfectly captured the essence of a late summer afternoon.
Over the next few weeks I will be refilling my depleted creative well by attending several performances. It’s an inspiring start to a new year. My days will be filled with sun, sand and sunblock and my evenings with dance, music and theatre. It doesn’t get much better.