Wondering what festivals are on in Australia in 2020? We’ve tracked down 50. A festival at a winery, city or regional town? All inclusive or flexibility to pick and choose? All arts, music, period, an instrument? You’re covered in this list.
NSW | Sydney | Sydney Festival | “The first Festival took place in 1977 and it has since grown to become one of Australia’s largest annual cultural celebrations with an international reputation for modern, popular and intelligent programming.” Find out what is on offer this year, here.
VIC | Mornington Peninsula | Peninsula Summer Music Festival | classikON has been to the 2016 and 2018 festivals and you can read our Ambassadors thoughts here. The 2020 festival Artistic Director is Ben Opie and from January 1st to 10th there are a range intimate candlelight concerts, unique performances in treasured wineries, and more music around the Peninsula. Jump on and get your tickets here.
SA | Adelaide | Federation of Australasian Mandolin Ensembles (FAME) | If you’re a Mandolin performer, this is the festival for you, but if you’re in Adelaide and a lover of Mondolin music, then they will be performing in a concert at St Peter’s Anglican Cathedral at 7pm on Saturday 11th of January 2020. Tickets for that here. More for Mandolin performers here.
WA | Perth | Fringe World Festival | Head to more than 150 venues across Perth and regional WA. “The Festival is a platform for local artists, with more than 74% of participating artists coming from WA, alongside performances by artists from Australia and all over the world.” Jump on and find out about all the music on offer here.
VIC | Bendigo | Bendigo Chamber Music Festival | It is the inaugural Festival and includes members of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe as artists in residence, 14 concerts combining members of the chamber orchestra with the best Australian and emerging artists. Find out more about this new festival and support it here.
WA | Perth | Perth Festival | New “Artistic Director Iain Grandage leads the Festival into an exciting new period of international excellence and brings … a commitment to community, learning and participation”. Find out what is on offer this year, here.
ACT | Canberra | SoundOut festival | Now in their 11th year, the festival “will bring to you the continuation of the incredible explorative sonic arts event… With artists from Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Netherlands and the UK that will combine, mix, cross-fertilize, and move sound mountains to inspire inquiring ears.” They have a shortfall in funding and are running a GoFundMe campaign to ensure the festival continues. Find out more and support it here.
VIC | Hepburn Springs | Music by the Springs | A boutique festival in the gorgeous surrounds of Hepburn Springs, with Australia’s finest classical musicians performing seven concerts over three days, combined with fine dining and exquisite wine. The 2020 Festival is sold out, but you can head on over and reserve a place for 2021.
SA | Adelaide | Adelaide Fringe | Celebrating 60th anniversary, it “completely takes over Adelaide, its surrounding suburbs and even some regional areas of South Australia for 31 magical days and nights each year. The city practically pulses with creativity“. Find out about all the music on offer here.
SA | Adelaide | Adelaide Festival | Celebrating 60th anniversary and the fourth with Co-Artistic Directors Neil Armfield AO and Rachel Healy. All of their programs saw box office records broken and were a resounding success. Explore the 49 events for 2020 here.
NSW | Southern Highlands | Bowral Autumn Music Festival | Artistic Director, Myee Clohessy has curated a weekend of nine concerts and other events at St Judes. Artists include Claire Edwardes and Ensemble Offspring, Aura Go, Taryn Fiebig, Acacia Quartet, Katia Molino, David Reccia Chynoweth, Bel a Cappella, and Emerging Artists – Mikaela Sukkar and Hamish Wagstaff. Get your tickets here.
NSW | South Coast, Bega Valley, Bermagui | Four Winds Easter Festival | Celebrating their 21st year, Artistic Director, James Crabb has arranged two full days of inspiring music with Australian and international artists, in the fabulous Four Winds Sound Shell. The Sound Shell days are complemented by an amazing array of concerts, recitals, workshops and other events. Sort your Easter break plans here.
VIC | Southern Grampians, Dunkeld | Dunkeld Festival of Music | Australian String Quartet with guest artists Andrea Lam (piano) and David Greco (baritone) “shine torchlights on classic composers and living luminaries. Intimate concerts in the charming Mt Sturgeon Woolshed and Myers’ Library, and the warm hospitality of the iconic Royal Mail Hotel, tickets to this festival are in high demand”, so jump to it here.
VIC | Heathcote and Greater Bendigo | Sanguine Estate Music Festival | Howard Penny and Chris Howlett combine three of their passions: chamber music, fine food and wine. “A successful combination of top international and Australian artists, exciting programming, a beautiful setting, award-winning wines, with excellent food highlighting local produce and talent, attracts an enthusiastic and loyal audience who value the relaxed and intimate atmosphere”. So jump to it and get your tickets here.
VIC | Yarra Valley | TarraWarra Festival | Australian Chamber Orchestra performs at the ninth festival at the TarraWarra Museum of Art. A weekend of music, art, wine and some of the most breathtaking views in Victoria’s Yarra Valley. For an exclusive audience of just 200, you’ll need to book early here.
NSW | Armidale | Australian Gamelan Festival | The 1st Australian Gamelan Festival invites gamelan ensembles, dancers, visual artists, contemporary/fusion groups and master teacher/performers, from across Australia and abroad, to come together in celebration of Indonesian music and culture. You can support this festival on their GoFundMe page here.
NSW | Central West, Orange | Orange Chamber Music Festival | This is the inaugural festival! An initiative developed Orange residents and professional classical musicians from diverse chamber music backgrounds. They’re “creating a new platform for chamber music performance, as well as connecting with the already diverse and expanding cultural scene of Orange“. Keep up to date with developments and come February get your tickets here.
ACT | Canberra | Canberra International Music Festival | Artistic Director Roland Peelman has arranged for “ten autumn days, [where] music becomes your guide to Canberra’s cultural treasures and hidden gems. From ancient meeting grounds to the halls of power, voices from around the world resound across our capital“. Tickets now available, so sort your May break now.
NSW | Hunter, Pokolbin | Music in the Hunter | Co-presented by Constable Estate and Goldner String Quartet, this Gala Final Festival will be from Thursday 14th to Sunday 17th – a magnificant weekend showcasing exceptional music, fine cuisine and wines, and features outstanding Australian performers. Registration will open in March 2020 and you can stay up to date here.
SA | McLaren Vale | Coriole Music Festival | Taking place at Coriole Vineyards, the concert venue (the barrel room replete with wooden wine barrels lining the walls) has a wonderful acoustic for chamber and vocal music. Artistic Director, Anna Goldsworthy has created an excellent program complimented by food and wine to aid that immersive experience and for excellent value. Have a look here.
May – June
QLD | Brisbane | 4MBS Festival of Classics | An almost 2 month long festival each May/June making it Australia’s largest classical music festival. Orchestras, choirs, ensembles and soloists from south-east Queensland perform 20-30 concerts at 10-15 venues, centred around a theme. To find out the 2020 theme, keep checking in here.
QLD | Moreton Bay | Stradbroke Chamber Music Festival | Rachel Smith, founding Artistic Director, for over a decade. Apart from concerts, the festival incorporates an education program for younger school students who live on North Stradbroke Island and an intensive chamber music program for tertiary students. Stay up to date on 2020 plans here.
VIC | Melbourne | Melbourne International Festival of Lieder and Art Song (MIFLAS) | “directed by renowned singer and teacher Patricia Price. Singers and pianists from across Australia and around the South-East Asian region gather in Melbourne and spend six days working intensively on song repertoire, principally with the world renowned song pianist and author, Graham Johnson OBE.” Concludes with a Grand Finale Concert. Stay up to date on 2020 plans here.
QLD | Townsville | Australian Festival of Chamber Music | Celebrating 30 years. Combine your love of classical music with a tropical winter getaway. More than 45 musicians from around the world will travel to Townsville for 10 days of sublime music performances, compiled by Artistic Director Kathryn Stott. Keep up with their program announcements here.
NT | Darwin | Darwin Festival | This is Felix Preval’s last festival as Artistic Director. “Balmy nights under twinkling lights provide the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable dry season, the Top End’s tropical winter… Darwin Festival combines outdoor festivities with a program rich with local, national and international talent. Cabaret, theatre, dance, visual arts, outdoor concerts and fun family events transform Darwin for 18 dazzling days and nights.” Keep up to date with the 2020 festival here.
NSW | Northern Rivers, Byron Shire | Bangalow Music Festival | Operated and presented by Southern Cross Soloists, the 2020 festival will be its 19th year, the Festival maintains a strong tradition of presenting world-class chamber music performances. Nine concert programs carefully crafted by Artistic Director Tania Frazer, as well as community and education events. Keep up to date with the 2020 festival here.
NSW | Hunter | Newcastle Music Festival | Since 2015, this annual fine music festival celebrates the musical life of the city’s musicians and singers in collaboration with stunning guest artists. The festival involves professionals, amateurs and students in an exciting mix of concerts and events performed in an array of interesting venues. No announcement yet on 2020, but stay in the loop here.
NSW | Sydney | Eastside Music Festival | Curated by artistic director Neal Peres Da Costa. 10 exciting musical events, a feast of beautiful and diverse sounds from the classical and popular idioms, with fine Australian musicians in eclectic spaces. No announcement yet on 2020, but stay in the loop here.
VIC | Melbourne | Melbourne International Piano & Strings Festival | One of Australia’s most prestigious classical music festivals attracting talented young musicians and features a stellar teaching faculty from among Australia’s greatest artists. Includes masterclasses, competition, and Gala Concert. Stay in the loop here.
QLD | Brisbane | Brisbane Festival | Artistic Director, Louise Bezzina creates “a thrilling program of theatre, music, dance, circus, opera and major public events such as Sunsuper Riverfire.” Keep up to date here.
NSW | Tweed Shire | Tyalgum Music Festival | The 2019 Co-artistic directors Anna McMichael and Vanessa Tomlinson presented 7 concerts celebrated in the beautifully refurbished 110 year old community hall, as well as music around every corner, throughout the village, while surrounded by stunning mountain ranges. Stay up to date on 2020 plans here.
VIC | Abbotsford | Music in the Round | One of Abbotsford Convent’s signature classical music events, bringing the precinct’s unique spaces to life with outstanding performances. Stay up to date on 2020 plans here.
NSW | Mid North Coast | Bellingen Fine Music Festival | A “strong reputation for its high quality and innovative program and is achieving its vision to be a significant regional music festival in the Australian calendar, presenting high quality music from differing classical traditions and performed by a diversity of established, emerging and local artists”. Stay up to date on 2020 plans here
NSW | Central Coast, Gosford | Crossroads Chamber Music Festival | 2019 was the festivals twelfth year and last one presented by Festival Director Charmian Gadd. The 2020 festival will have a new director brand new string quartet.
NSW | Sydney | Sydney Sacred Music Festival | Presented by Sacred Currents INC to showcase music, ceremony and art. It “provides opportunities for the fantastic artists and traditions of our diverse communities and hopes to build its own community of open minded people who are interested in something larger than themselves“. Stay up to date on 2020 plans here
NT | Top End | Hayllar Wilderness Music Festival | Artistic Director, Anna Goldsworthy says: “With music over five days from some of Australia’s finest musicians in the surrounds of the remote Mary River National Park, this promises to be a music festival like no other. Experience this remarkable region with adventures and excursions, including a day trip to nearby Kakadu National Park, and enjoy luxurious accommodation with delicious food and fine wines at the stunning Wildman Wilderness Lodge.“. Find out about this total escape here.
VIC | Melbourne | Melbourne International Arts Festival | 2020—2023 Artistic Directors are Hannah Fox and Gideon Obarzanek will be “transforming into a bold new winter festival that celebrates Melbourne’s arts and culture, our culinary strengths and everything that makes our city tick”. You can find out more here.
VIC | Melbourne | Melbourne Fringe Festival | “transforms our city into a platform for every kind of artform imaginable, supporting over 3,000 artists to present 450+ works in 170+ venues to more than 360,000 people.” Keep up to date here.
WA | Margaret River | Margaret River Weekend of Music | “Savour the best of the spectacular Western Australian wine region with unforgettable adventures at Voyager Estate, Vasse Felix, Cape Mentelle and Leeuwin Estate. With matched food and wine from the region’s finest wineries, enjoy a feast for the senses with the ASQ and guest artists, Genevieve Lacey and Fiona Campbell, featuring the world premiere of a new work by Western Australian composer Lachlan Skipworth.” Get your 2020 tickets here.
SA | Mt Barker Summit | Ukaria 24 | Curator Lawrence Power, says: “The program for these few days takes us all on a journey from one of the greatest seventeenth-century musical innovators, Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber, through to the current day with contemporary voices such as Luciano Berio and George Benjamin… premiere of a work written for me by Thomas Adès, one of today’s most important composers, generously commissioned by UKARA.” The full program will be announced in March. Weekend Passes available now. Single tickets on sale in March. Find out more here.
SA | Barossa, Tanunda | Barossa Baroque and Beyond | This festival is a MicroFest of fine music in the Barossa Valley and has programming from ‘Baroque and Beyond’. No announcement yet on 2020, but stay in the loop here.
NSW | Manly | Sydney Chamber Music Festival | Held every year in the beautiful surrounds of the Manly Art Gallery and Museum. Bridget Bolliger and an independent group of chamber music lovers curate and orchestrate the annual program. No announcement yet on 2020, but stay in the loop here.
NSW | Central West | Canowindra Baroque Music Festival – Baroquefest | Australia’s only boutique baroque music festival in the heart of central western NSW. Baroque and Beyond is always the theme with performances ranging from pre-baroque to contemporary music and even jazz, all with a strong connection to the baroque period. No announcement yet on 2020, but stay in the loop here.
VIC | Shire of Moyne | Port Fairy Spring Music Festival | Festival Director, Iain Grandage, curates a 3 day program of 24 generally short performances including classical and contemporary ensemble music bringing together highly regarded established artists and Australia’s new and emerging young performers and composers; drama, orchestral and choral music, jazz, opera, dance and free open air performance. No announcement yet on 2020, but stay in the loop here.
TAS | Northern Midlands, Evandale | Tasmanian Chamber Music Festival | Discover the exquisite Georgian village of Evandale and the exquisite rolling plains of northern Tasmania, the hawthorn hedges in full bloom and great music in interesting heritage buildings, from churches to barns. With brilliant musicians, conversations and exquisite food and wine, it is a great way to spend three days. Stay up to date with the 2020 plans here.
NSW | Dungog | Dungog Weekend of Music | Escape with the Australian String Quartet to the gateway of heritage-listed Barrington Tops National Park. Three performances set in the masterfully preserved James Theatre and other venues. Stay up to date here.
NSW | Albury | Albury Chamber Music Festival | An initiative of the St Matthew’s Music Association Inc. aims “to bring quality chamber music, performed by some of Australia’s leading chamber musicians, to the City of Albury and the wider Border region. It is our hope that this will not only give much pleasure to classical music lovers, but also encourage and inspire young musicians to aspire to quality performances.” No announcement yet on 2020, but stay in the loop here.
NSW | Sydney | The Annual Glebe Music Festival | Artistic Director Dr E. David G. McIntosh AM in conjunction with the Glebe Society presents concerts at a range of venues in Glebe. It “grew out of the many informal musical soirées held at the early 19th century Glebe villa Margaretta Cottage from the late 1960s.” Stay up to date here.
P.S If we’ve missed any, get in touch and we will update the list.
[ UPDATED 12/12/2019 ] Orange Chamber Music Festival added to April.