Sydney’s 39th annual festival of art and culture (and plenty of big things children can play on) kicks off Thursday morning when the Festival Village – now with two Spiegeltents – opens its doors. During the day, festivalgoers at the Hyde Park hamlet will be able to walk all over a two-storey maze designed and constructed by Irish street artist Maser and relax in the City of Sydney’s lawn library. At night they can catch sword-swallowers at Limbo and hit the bars and food stalls for a Grand Royale with Cheese (not a burger but an ice-cream).
Festival organisers said punters appear undeterred: they expected to exceed the 124,000 tickets sold in 2014. Executive director Chris Tooher said that sales at the beginning of the week were at 64 per cent of the final target, ahead of the same time last year. It will be weeks before numbers on the free, unticketed events are known.
Many of the festival venues have private security and Tooher said organisers were working closely with police and other authorities to ensure safety at the Domain and Hyde Park.