Robber ducky hoping to steal the show on opening day of festival
''I jokingly said once that everything that happens twice in this city is called a tradition'' … Lieven Bertels says it's time to change the festival's opening event, which had reached capacity. Photo: Edwina Pickles
A RUNNER on a treadmill and giant rubber duck will open next year's Sydney Festival. The dramatically scaled back opening to the three-week arts festival is one of a number of changes revealed in the launch of the program for the 2013 Sydney Festival, which begins on January 5.
Day One: An Opening in Three Acts will feature three free events: Fun Run, featuring a Lycra-clad performer running 42.2 kilometres on a treadmill in Hyde Park; The Arrival, a giant rubber duck sculpture by the Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman floating in Darling Harbour; and the Daptone Super Soul Revue, an outdoor dance party in The Domain featuring Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings.
The Domain will host two other outdoor concerts: Sing the Truth, a concert starring jazz singers Angelique Kidjo, Dianne Reeves and Lizz Wright, and Symphony in the Domain, which features the Sydney Symphony performing classical music used in Stanley Kubrick films.
The incoming director of the Sydney Festival, Lieven Bertels, said the NSW government had cut funding to the popular Festival First Night, which had an estimated 200,000 visitors this year. But Bertels said it was time to change the festival's opening event, which had reached capacity.
Last month, Bertels said Festival First Night had reached its summit this year and he wanted to ''shake it up a little''.
''I jokingly said once that everything that happens twice in this city is called a tradition,'' he said.
Other changes to the Sydney Festival include moving the Festival Bar out of Hyde Park Barracks and into Sydney Town Hall.
Named after the Amsterdam music venue, Paradiso at Town Hall will host 10 nights of live music from January 19, including Kashmere Stage Band, Nicolas Jaar and Sydney band Dappled Cities.
The festival's two Spiegeltents - in Hyde Park and in Parramatta's Prince Alfred Park - will set up camp again with house acts and live music.