The first festival was hosted in 1977, designed to attract locals and visitors to the Sydney centre during January, a traditional holiday month in Australia. Since these early days the event has taken off to become a hub of style, energy, and above all, celebration. Festivities are formed around high quality art and ideas, with a diverse lineup that changes from year to year. Previous events have seen rap artists, burlesque performers and contemporary dancers taking the stage alongside family-friendly and Indigenous arts programs. One thing that does remain the same each year is the number of performances - an average lineup is comprised of around 140 events, 400 performances and more than 30 venues. Framed as an inclusive celebration, Sydney Festival offers plenty of free events and accessible pricing for ticketed shows.

2015 Lineup

Witness James Thierree at his best when he brings his extravagant Tabac Rouge to town. The famous circus performer is no stranger to the Sydney Festival Stage, having performed there in 2003, 2006 and 2008, but his new show presents a darker, more delirious story about a ruler haunted by images. He will bring the stage alive with music, movement and mirrors, combining his native circus performance with theatre and dance to create an all-encompassing show.

The world premiere of Force Majeure's Nothing to Lose, presented by Carriageworks and Sydney Festival, will no doubt be a huge drawcard for the event. The contemporary dance show is Force Majeure's Artistic Director Kate Champion's final show, collaborating with fat activist Kelli Jean Drinkwater to celebrate fat bodies in motion. The work is fresh, without stereotype and will challenge expectations and preconceived ideas on fat dancing.

Take in the Masquerade, a show based on Kit Williams' beloved children's book. Presented by Sydney Festival and Sydney Opera House, and co-produced by Theatre Company and State Theatre Company of South Australia, the production is designed to enchant audiences of all ages. See your favourite characters come to life on the stage, with Helen Dallimore from Wicked adding to the star-studded lineup. Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen will perform music live. Blind or vision-impaired people can take in an audio described performance on 17 January, however bookings are essential.

Don't miss So Frenchy So Chic, returning to the festival in 2015 with its vibrant celebration of everything French. Held on 17 January, the day features music, food and joie de vivre, where you can sit back with a picnic in the sun or kick your shoes off to the sweet sounds of four live French artists. La Femme will be playing surf rock meets synth pop, while Francois & the Atlas Mountains will have you smiling with their unique blend of sunny indie pop. Fuel your hunger with a picnic hamper or charcuterie board.