Look, every year the Perth Festival is on there is an overwhelming amount of great events on, but if you ask me, the 2020 season is the best yet.

Honestly, I have no idea how people are going to manage their time trying to see everything and anything on offer, with both paid and free events taking place all over Perth from February 7th through to March 1st. With an overwhelming amount of arts and live events taking place, there is truly something for everyone.

During the festival, Perth will be transformed into the ‘City of Lights’, playing as an homage to 1962, when the City of Perth turned on their lights at night for astronaut John Glen as he passed over the city.

Elsewhere, the Lotterywest Film Festival astounds once again with a truly essential lineup of films ranging from the latest Pedro Almodovar film, Pain & Glory, to the much-hyped Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe film The Lighthouse, all the way to my personal favourite film of 2019: H is for Happiness.

As expected, there’s a brilliant array of live theatre, live music, and art events to keep that artistic itch well and truly scratched.


Here are my five must see events of the festival:

Mavis Staples

Mavis Staples brings the Perth Festival to a close with her stunning voice. As far as ‘bucket list’ artists go, seeing Mavis Staples live should be high up on your list. Staples uses her music as part of her activism, with her being part of the American civil rights movement. This event should be at the top of your list. If you’re not sold, then give her a listen here and clear your calendar for March 1st.

Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer


I’m cheating a little here as these are two separate events, but none the less, both Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer should need no introduction. Palmer will be performing her show There Will Be No Intermission, a three and a half hour event showcasing everything the Dresden Dolls artist has. Gaiman will be doing a talk about all of his work. Fortunately, these both take place on different days so you don’t have to make the difficult decision as to what to see.

Highway to Hell

Quite possibly the biggest musical event that Perth has ever witnessed, Highway to Hell will be a celebration of all things AC/DC, with local artists like Abbe May, the Perth Symphony Orchestra, and more, joining up with international acts like Shonen Knife, to celebrate the work of AC/DC. Taking place all the way along Canning Highway, from the Raffles Hotel to Freo, this is going to be a massive event (that’s free!) that you simply cannot miss.

Tao of Glass

Composer Philip Glass and performer-director Phelim McDermott join up together to create this theatrical work about ten meditations on life, death, and Taoist wisdom. This is part-concert, part-performance and will most definitely be a memorable experience. Fortunately, there will be multiple sessions so it should be easier to clear your calendar for this one, but if you want to make it an extra special event, then head to the 20th of February event for a special post show Q&A.

Bran Nue Dae


Finally, what’s old is new again. Making a reappearance after playing at the Perth Festival thirty years ago is Bran Nue Dae, Jimmy Chi’s expressive, joyous, entertaining musical comedy. I’ve only ever experienced Rachel Perkins luminous film version, so getting to see this classic Aussie musical with an audience. I mention Bran Nue Dae not to discount the other great indigenous events going on at the festival – there’s a huge amount going on – but as a way of saying that this is a great entry level event that will accompany all the other brilliant events going on.


Seriously folks, I’m barely scratching the surface of what great events will be going on at the 2020 Perth Festival. Make sure to check out the website and book your tickets right away, you don’t want to miss out.