Pencil in Adelaide Fringe, Sydney's Tropfest and much, much more for your best February yet.
The twin towns of Echuca and Moama, on the banks of Victoria’s Murray River, will come alive for this unique music fest, now in its fifth year. Melbourne singer- songwriter Missy Higgins, along with Sydney rock royalty You Am I and The Church, will headline 13 eclectic Aussie acts including Jess Ribeiro, Ruby Boots and the quirky Southern blues-influenced C. W. Stoneking.
WHERE: Aquatic Reserve, Echuca
WHEN: February 19-21
Every summer, thousands of Melburnians congregate at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl to enjoy music under the stars as part of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s free concerts. America’s Joshua Weilerstein will make his MSO debut this year, conducting Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7 (on February 17) and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 (February 20).
WHERE: Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne
WHEN: February 17, 20 and 27
Picnic at Hanging Rock
A novel. Then a movie. Now a play. This new adaptation of the chilling Australian tale will no doubt be as riveting as ever. On a warm, sunny day in 1900, three schoolgirls and a teacher vanish inexplicably while enjoying a Valentine’s Day picnic at Victoria’s Hanging Rock. Directed by Matthew Lutton, this production has an all-female cast of five.
WHERE: Malthouse Theatre
WHEN: February 26-March 20
Adelaide Festival of Arts
À Fleur de Peau, presented by French wizards Groupe F, will light up Adelaide Oval with pyrotechnics on the opening night of this 18-day extravaganza. The program features 30 musical, theatrical and visual arts events, such as The James Plays trilogy, an 11-hour production (including much-needed breaks) by the National Theatre of Scotland and National Theatre of Britain.
WHEN: February 26-March 14
The 2016 Adelaide Fringe boasts more than 5000 artists over some 1100 events. The fun begins with Fringe Illuminations, a 17-day event that will see colourful projections enliven façades of buildings on North Terrace, such as the State Library of SA and The University of Adelaide. Don’t miss the Fringe Night Parade on February 13, featuring more than 80 floats.
WHEN: February 12-March 14
Born in 1993. Died in 2015. Resurrected in 2016. The world’s largest short-film festival is back, thanks to a new sponsor – CGU Insurance. The free event attracts a live national audience of some 150,000 people and features 16 finalists competing for more than $100,000 in prizes. Every year, films must include a mandatory item. This time, it’s “card”.
WHERE: Centennial Parklands, Sydney
WHEN: February 14
Sydney is set to become Australia’s fourth city to host a leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series, in which 16 national teams – including New Zealand, Russia, England and Mexico – face off during two thrilling days of seven-a-side action. An Australian side has never lifted the trophy in this ultra-fast format, unlike two-time victors and reigning champions, Fiji.
WHERE: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
WHEN: February 6-7
Get ready for colour and confetti as Australia’s most popular LGBTQI celebration frocks up for the 38th time. The Oxford Street parade and official party at the Entertainment Quarter (both on Saturday March 5) are the big drawcards but be sure to check out other Mardi Gras events, including Fair Day in Victoria Park on Sunday, February 21.
WHEN: February 19-March 6
This five-kilometre event truly puts the fun into “fun run” and here’s why. It’s at night, with five music-pumping entertainment zones dotted throughout; it’s not timed so you can jog, walk or dance your way around; everyone gets splashed with non-toxic neon paint; and there’s an after party to really end your night on a high.
WHERE: Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney
WHEN: February 27 (Melbourne), April 9 (Brisbane), April 23 (Sydney)
Brisbane Comedy Festival
An opening-night gala featuring Australian stand-up talent –including Peter Helliar, Celia Pacquola, Hannah Gadsby and Nazeem Hussain – will set the pace for this near-month-long comedy festival. A must-see show is Titanic the Movie the Play – a parody of the Hollywood blockbuster, complete with a rogue iceberg, a lack of lifeboats and that steamy scene in the car.
WHEN: February 27-March 23
Rugby League All Stars
Rugby league’s finest Indigenous players will take on the NRL All Stars in this marquee event for the sport. Rabbitohs fullback Greg Inglis and Cowboys halfback Johnathan Thurston are two of the big guns for the Indigenous All Stars, while their opposition will feature Roosters halfback Mitchell Pearce and the Bulldogs’ bruising British-born prop James Graham.
WHERE: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
WHEN: February 13
Brisbane Queer Film Festival
The 17th Brisbane Queer Film Festival will feature a mix of comedies, dramas, thrillers and docos from Australia and beyond, including Lithuanian coming-of-age tale The Summer of Sangaile, hard-hitting Aussie surf-lifesaving drama Drown and Kenya’s Stories of Our Lives – five short films dramatising LGBTQI life.
WHERE: New Farm Cinemas, Brisbane
WHEN: February 19-28
Perth International Arts Festival
The Southern Hemisphere’s longest-running annual multi-arts festival is back for the 64th time. One of the highlights is an adaptation of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen’s The Wild Duck by Aussie director Simon Stone. Plenty of free events are scheduled, too, including dance company Co3’s performance of Reason for Being.
WHEN: February 12-March 6
Australian Capital Territory
Yes, it’s a cliché but this one really does have something for the whole family. Kids will love the animal events – from pig races to reptile displays – while adults will be drawn to the food stalls selling Mexican wraps, burgers, ales and gourmet pies. Enjoy a range of rides during the day but make sure you stay back for the fireworks on February 27 and 28 at 9.20pm.
WHERE: Exhibition Park, Canberra
WHEN: February 26-28
Established in 1838, the Royal Hobart Regatta is Tasmania’s oldest sports event. While the scenic River Derwent will play host to numerous water-based activities including sailing, rowing, kayaking and canoeing, most of the on-land action (think woodchopping contests) will take place at the Queens Domain, a hilly bushland area north-east of Hobart’s city centre.
WHEN: February 6-8