As Bastille Festival Sydney celebrates its 7th anniversary in 2019, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on how the Festival has evolved and grown over the years.
Formally known as The Bleu Blanc Rouge Festival (which references the colours of the French flag: Bleu/blue, Blanc/white, Rouge/red). We premiered this celebration of French culture and food to coincide with Bastille Day, launching it in front of Sydney’s Customs House. Our little French Festival was a success and so we decided to make it an annual event.
In our second year, the public started abbreviating The Bleu Blanc Rouge Festival to The BBR Festival, which suited us just fine too.
This year, we kept the Festival’s heart located in front of Customs House, only we had more exhibitors, more live concerts, and more visitors coming by to see what we’re all about. Thankfully, the people of Sydney were super supportive of our Festival, which allowed us to keep going and build an even bigger event in 2015. Merci beaucoup, Sydney! xx
We decided to expand the our footprint in 2015, effectively doubling the Festival’s size. We kept the heart of the Festival in front of Customs House, but we also grew to conquer either side of that (it really sounds like the French are beginning to take over.) We filled the area along Alfred Street, in Circular Quay (which is now a light rail line), and also on the opposite side of Customs House, where we set up our first outdoor winter cinema in front of the AMP Building. It looked so beautiful at night with all the fairy lights twinkling in the trees surrounding the cinema.
This was a very emotional year for us. Our Festival was in full swing, when news reached us of the horrific Bastille Day terrorist attack that happened in Nice, France. The French community was drawn to the Festival’s heart, in front of Customs House, where together we cried and supported each other with shared stories of what had happened. The public started a memorial candlelight vigil that night, in memory of the victims and to share support with the survivors.
With support from the Australian and French communities, we made the decision to keep the Festival open this year, as a symbol of strength and support for the public. It was important to show that we were not going to be scared – occupying the streets suddenly became more important, as a mark of protest (and we all know the French love to protest!) We humbly thank the people of Sydney for their support. xx
The BBR Festival relaunched this year with a brand new name: Bastille Festival Sydney; making the event more easily identifiable as Sydney’s premier French cultural experience. This year, we relocated the outdoor cinema to the lawn in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art, and further expanded our reach to include more of Circular Quay and The Rocks.
This year saw the Festival’s largest growth to date, with further expansion into The Rocks and the creation of The Rocks Christmas in July Village, which was a hugely popular hit with our Festival visitors who’d have thought you’d all love a winter Christmas so much?!
This year, we also created another new Festival Village area in East Circular Quay, dedicated to gourmet French produce, which proved to be very popular with our Epicurean supporters.
Once again, the Festival has grown to include another new Festival Village area (called The Family-Friendly French Village), located in front of the Overseas Passenger Terminal!
This year, we proudly announced our ambitious plan to become the greenest Food & Wine festival in Australia. Our 10-point plan includes banning non-recyclable packaging from the Festival; encouraging the use of public transport, with the help of Transport NSW; and only having reusable glasses and compostable cutlery and plates at the Festival. Additionally, each Bastille Festival Village features a dedicated “Green Team” to help our Festival visitors and exhibitors achieve our green goals.
2019 is set to become our biggest Festival experience to date, and we’re completely excited and proud to share this 4-day experience with Sydney.
Bastille Festival Sydney is a free entry, French cultural celebration of food, wine and art, held annually in Sydney’s Circular Quay and The Rocks. Join the revolution!
Bastille Festival Sydney 2019
Thursday, 11 July 2019: (10am – 11pm)
Friday, 12 July 2019: (10am – 11pm)
Saturday, 13 July 2019: (10am – 11pm)
Sunday, 14 July 2019: (10am – 9pm)
Circular Quay, The Rocks, Overseas Passenger Terminal
How Much (Combien)
Free entry, with some ticketed experiences