There’s always something new and exciting happening in Perth – and this trend is set to continue in 2021. There are plenty of festivals to attend, new restaurants and bars opening and interesting exhibitions to see. Wondering where to start? Seeking some free events in Perth to fit your student budget? We’ve got you covered. To make sure you don’t miss out on anything, we have put together the ultimate guide outlining Perth’s upcoming events that you simply can’t miss in 2021.
Arts and culture in Perth
WA Museum Boola Bardip
The WA Museum Boola Bardip has recently reopened in Northbridge after four years of renovations. The museum features a variety of permanent and temporary exhibitions that explore the history of Western Australia. Look out for the museum’s opening exhibition, Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters. Running until the end of April, Songlines is a highly immersive experience that takes you on an ancient indigenous journey through Australia’s deserts. The museum is open every day of the week from 9am to 5pm and offers free entry.
Yagan Square Nyumbi
On Friday nights at Yagan Square amphitheatre, you can experience traditional Aboriginal song and dance performances known as Yagan Square Nyumbi. Performed by members of the Bindjareb Middar and Kwarbah Djookian dance groups, these showcases provide a unique insight into Western Australian Noongar history and culture. The Nyumbi will run every Friday night between 5:30pm and 6:30pm until 16 April 2021. As one of the many free events in Perth, you can enjoy the performances at no cost.
Sculpture by the Sea
Sculpture by the Sea is an annual outdoor sculpture exhibition held at Cottesloe Beach. The sculptures take on many bizarre and ingenious forms, showcasing the talent of over 70 local and international artists. While the outdoor gallery is open 24/7, many people choose to visit at sunset and grab dinner from one of the local cafés. Sculpture by the Sea is free to attend and will return in March 2021.
Festivals in Perth
The oldest arts festival in the Southern Hemisphere returns on the 15 February with a host of brand new films, literature, performance and visual arts events. This year, the festival is named Bilya, the Noongar word for the Swan River, and the festival program is themed around the iconic waterway. The State Theatre Centre courtyard will be hosting free music every night of the festival from 5pm. If you’re keen to see what else is on, you can browse through the festival’s full program on their website.
Ice Cream Factory
Ice Cream Factory is a summer-long festival offering some of the best nightlife in Perth. Held in an outdoor venue in the centre of Northbridge, the event features multiple dance floors, DJs, silent discos, show rides and games. The festival also hosts some of Australia’s favourite music performers, with this year’s line-up including What So Not, Peking Duck, Hayden James, Hermitude and Illy. Ice Cream Factory runs from 19 March to 5 April, with tickets starting at just $40.
Alliance Française French Film Festival
The Alliance Française French Film Festival brings the best of contemporary French cinema to Perth. The films are screened in some of Perth’s coolest cinemas, including Luna Cinemas, Windsor Cinema and Palace Cinemas Raine Square. Keen for the full French experience? Many of the venues also serve French wine and cheese platters for your enjoyment. While it has been announced that the festival will run from 10 March to 7 April, more details will be released closer to these dates. Keep your eyes peeled on the Alliance Française Perth website to be the first to know.
New restaurants and bars in Perth
Clarences Company Store
Cherished local venue, Clarences, is back and better than ever, having recently reopened under a new name: Clarences Company Store. Inspired by New Orleans’ French Quarter, the revamped bar has a courtyard lined with fairy lights and a cosy interior where you can enjoy the classy cocktail menu, plates of fried chicken and ambient jazz music. Clarences Company Store is open Wednesday to Sunday from 4pm.
East Street Jetty Bar
If you’re hoping to sip on a drink and enjoy some seabreeze at the same time, you’re in luck: a new waterside bar is set to open on East Street Jetty in East Fremantle in May 2021. Taking inspiration from Fremantle’s Mediterranean immigrant history, the bar is planning to serve Italian aperitivos, Greek small plates and plenty of good wine. While the venue is still in the building stage, it is expected to hold up to 120 people upon completion and will offer an atmospheric alfresco dining setting.
The Leederville Laneway
The iconic Leederville Hotel is being revamped into a vibrant food and retail precinct, known for now as the Leederville Laneway. Set to open in June 2021, the hotel and its adjacent laneway will feature a new dining area, small bar and multiple food kiosks. The precinct is drawing inspiration from the laneways of Melbourne in an attempt to bring more shops, restaurants, food trucks, art and bars to the streets of Perth.
Upcoming events in Perth
Upmarket is a quarterly design market held at The University of Western Australia. The market showcases some of Perth’s best craftsmen and designers who sell a variety of artisan wares and locally made products. Here you will find everything from natural skincare products and baked goods to handcrafted homewares and ceramics. The next Upmarket will be held on 21 March at 10am.
Chinese New Year Fair
Perth will be celebrating the Chinese New Year in Northbridge on Sunday 14 February 2021. The Year of the Ox will be ushered in with a celebratory street carnival featuring firecrackers and a performance by the Chung Wah Dragon and Lion Dance Troupe. The celebrations will start at midday, with the parade travelling through James Street towards the Perth Cultural Centre. Nearby, you can choose from one of the many Chinese restaurants for a delicious and festive dinner.
Rottnest Student Day
Hosted by StudyPerth, the Rottnest Student Day sees over one thousand international and domestic students congregate on Rottnest Island for a day of festivities. The day not only gives students the opportunity to see the island, but to also meet other students from other education providers in Perth. Students will also enjoy an array of fun group activities and opportunities to take the classic Quokka selfie. Details for this year’s event will be released soon so make sure that you keep an eye on StudyPerth’s event page.
For details on all of the upcoming international student events in Perth and around, check out the StudyPerth website.