As a non-profit organisation, Sydney Festival relies on ticket sales and the generous support of the government, corporate partners and private donors to make our Festival possible.

Our donors in particular are a group of people as diverse as the Festival itself. From doctors and CEOs to entire families, each has discovered and embraced the Festival in their own way.

Founder and Managing Director of RØDE Microphones, Peter Freedman AM is a major supporter with a passion for the arts and a love for his home city of Sydney. Peter has a longstanding relationship with the Festival, and encourages all people to engage with culture.

For Jenny Solomon, an integrative GP who enjoys independent theatre and opera, becoming a Festival donor was a way to connect with the arts community after moving interstate.

“I bought lots of tickets to many events and as a result was invited to a Festival focus group. There I learnt more about the Festival and decided to contribute,” she says.

Jenny Solomon

Beau and Paris Neilson, who are both immersed in many facets of the arts through the Neilson Foundation, were attracted to the Festival through the “the beautiful banners that line the Sydney streets and mark the beginning of each fantastic season”.

“We love watching the transformation of the city into a magical art, music, dance, comedy and theatre precinct,” says Beau.

Beau and Paris Neilson

Age is also no barrier, and we have had donors as young as nine over the years.

“As a family, we had always supported individual charities and arts groups, however we wanted to involve the next generation,” says Fiona Martin-Weber, director of a family-run industrial supply business.

With family members ranging in age from nine to 25, the family set parameters around what they would support, and agreed that it had to be something everyone could get involved in. After a detailed vetting process, they agreed that Sydney Festival met all the requirements.

“So although I grew up in Sydney, I was usually away in January,” says Fiona. “It was my children who introduced me to the Festival and made us realise what we had been missing out on!”

Martin-Weber family

When it comes to Festival highlights, our donors have many.

Peter Freedman still has vivid memories of seeing Tex Perkins as Johnny Cash in the exercise yard of the old Parramatta Gaol for 2015 Festival favourite Far From Folsom.

“The sound, the vibe the whole thing…it was brilliant,” says Peter.

Tex Perkins

Angus Hayward, 19, loved Waterfall Swings at Darling Harbour 2015.

“I found it very satisfying to see the excitement this activity could bring to people of all backgrounds and ages,” says Angus.

Young lawyer Ben Brady’s Festival highlight was Amadou & Mariam’s Eclipse, performed in the dark in 2014, while Jenny Solomon says the intertwining of classical music and Vivienne Westwood couture in 2013’s Semele Walk made for “the most amazing event I have seen in my entire life”.


Semele Walk

For Beau and Paris Neilson, 2017 delivered many gems, including The Encounter – “a mind-blowing and hypnotic adventure that cannot be adequately described in words” and The Beach at Barangaroo.

“Our young children were dazzled by the volume and scale of the work, and loved rolling and jumping around in the sea of bubbles,” says Paris.

Denver at The Beach

While everybody has a personal favourite, there can be no argument when Peter Freedman says, “it’s summer, it’s Sydney, there’s something for everybody!”

Sydney Festival donors

Interested in joining the fun?

Sydney Festival offers you the opportunity to join a growing number of like-minded private donors who support our vision through our philanthropic program. Get closer to the Festival and its artists while helping us present productions that might otherwise be out of reach. The program offers various levels of support with a variety of benefits including priority booking, VIP access and exclusive event invitations.

For further information, please contact Philanthropy Manager, Marita Supplee on (+61) 2 8248 6510 or by email: