Sydney Festival opened its 2012 program with Australia’s largest free outdoor cultural event, Festival First Night, attracting hundreds of thousands of people into the city centre for eight hours of music, theatre, dance and visual arts. Headlining the event was internationally-acclaimed music superstar Manu Chao, who had 60,000 people dancing to his unique blend of Latin reggae. Audiences thrilled to a mix of Australian and international entertainment including a 1950s swing dance, painted caravans, Australian singer-songwriter Meagan Washington, Indigenous singer Gurrumul and dapper Jamaican gents, The Jolly Boys. Keeping things at a lively pace were street performances by Tuba Skinny, Lewis Floyd Henry and Norman J and his Good Times Bus. Casper Babypants, Holly Throsby and Erth’s mythical puppet creatures kept the kids laughing and dancing throughout the afternoon.
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