This month’s top sporting and cultural events to add to your calendar.
Former Australian players still have nightmares about the West Indian pace attacks of the 1980s. It’s been some time since the Caribbean nations have produced anything as fearsome but this summer’s marquee Test should deliver enough fiery encounters to keep the crowd enthralled. Australia’s top order can expect plenty of chin music from the likes of speedster Kemar Roach.
WHEN December 26
Formula One star Daniel Ricciardo, Grand Prix motorcycle rider Jack Miller and V8 Supercar driver Will Davison are just some of the stars of motorsports bringing foot-to-the-floor thrills at the Perth Speed Fest. The action-packed event will feature a range of historic, classic and modern cars in demos and races on a specially designed circuit.
WHERE Perth Motorplex
WHEN December 13
This seven-day festival on Hobart’s waterfront attracts around 100,000 visitors and has some 70 food and drink stalls, plus live entertainment that includes buskers and DJs. Visit on New Year’s Eve – the one night you’ll need a ticket – and you’ll have a box seat for the fireworks. This year the festival is going cashless so be sure to pack your plastic.
WHEN December 28-January 3
NSW, QLD, SA, WA
Based on the smash-hit show Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway, this musical takes you on a journey through the life of one of our most famed actors – from his childhood in Australia to his overwhelming success as a Hollywood leading man. The show features 150 performers and, of course, a jiving, crooning, shimmying Jackman.
WHERE Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth
WHEN Until December 16
SA, QLD, VIC, WA, NSW
Advance screenings, new releases and cult movies are all part of this open-air-cinema event. Bring a picnic rug and a hamper of homemade goodies (BYO is allowed) or go Gold Grass for a ticket that gets you a beanbag at the front of the “cinema” and wait service throughout the evening.
WHERE Adelaide, Brisbane, Port Douglas, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney
WHEN December 3-March 27
Last year, this event set a Guinness World Record for the largest LED image display, with more than a million lights. This year it’s attempting to break the record for the most number of lights on an artificial Christmas tree. Records aside, it’s fun for the whole family, with camel rides and festive night markets.
WHERE City Walk, Canberra
WHEN Until December 31
Melburnians love good food and music and this one-day festival is a celebration of both. Some of the city’s best-known food trucks will be on site firing up their kitchens, while artists ranging from Motown legends The Temptations to Hobart-born singer-songwriter Asta – who was discovered in the 2012 Triple J Unearthed High competition – will take centrestage.
WHERE Sidney Myer Music Bowl
WHEN December 11
Curated by the British Museum, this exhibition is a fascinating insight into the forces that helped shape modern Europe, through artefacts such as knights’ swords, papal rings, drinking horns and Viking-age clothing. Many of the artefacts, dating from the fifth to the 15th centuries, have never been shown outside of the British Museum.
WHERE Queensland Museum
WHEN December 11-April 10
This festive season, give the traditional Christmas panto a miss in favour of this gleefully puerile show; it’s 55 minutes of side-splitting hilarity with off-colour antics and gross-out jokes. The show stars comic duo Richard Higgins and Matthew Kelly and will appeal to adults in the crowd almost as much as it will to the kids.
WHERE Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne
WHEN Until December 13
NSW, SA, QLD, VIC, WA, TAS
After only four seasons the T20 Big Bash League has knocked the Sheffield Shield for six and taken out middle stump on the interstate one-day series to become the most popular domestic form of the game. Purists will mutter, “It’s just not cricket” but fans can’t get enough of the seriously limited-over form of the national sport.
WHERE Various locations
WHEN December 17-January 24
An hour’s drive north-west of Brisbane, the sleepy town of Woodford comes alive during this six-day festival, now in its 31st year. There are more than 400 acts performing across 25 venues. If Michael Franti and Courtney Barnett aren’t enough to win you over, there’s street theatre, comedy acts and a number of speakers – including former PM Bob Hawke.
WHEN December 27-January 1
NSW, QLD, VIC
Jarryd James and Meg Mac join forces for a tour of Australia’s east coast, performing at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney on December 4, The Tivoli in Brisbane on December 10 and Melbourne’s Forum on December 12. It’s a rare chance to catch two of the country’s hottest talents on one stage.
WHERE Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne
WHEN December 4, 10 and 12
One of the world’s most challenging yacht races celebrates its 70th anniversary. If you can’t get out on the water to see the yachts depart, snag a picnic spot at Sydney’s Nielsen Park or a cliff-top view at South Head. If you’re in Hobart, park yourself at Alexandra Battery, off Churchill Avenue, to see them sailing into the River Derwent for the finish.
WHERE Sydney and Hobart
WHEN December 26-31
Celebrating Australian folk-pop band The Seekers, this musical premieres in Melbourne before travelling to Sydney in April next year. It follows the lives of the band members – Judith Durham, Bruce Woodley, Athol Guy and Keith Potger – and features all their hits, including The Carnival Is Over and the Oscar-nominated Georgy Girl.
WHERE Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne
WHEN From December 15