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Sydney Festival is gearing up once again, despite a funding cut for the event’s opening night. While the funding cut is yet to be announced, it is expected to hit the Festival on its most anticipated night.

“In line with the austerity measures the NSW Government announced in its June budget, Sydney Festival lost some of its variable funding through Arts NSW,” Executive Director of Sydney Festival, Chris Tooher said.

Sydney Festival is an initiative conceived by the Sydney Committee, the NSW State Government and the City of Sydney.

“Funding for the Festival consists of both fixed and variable grants and thus does fluctuate from year to year, along with the overall budget for the Festival,” Mr Tooher said. “The City of Sydney has maintained its investment in our outdoor free programming, increasing its commitment in 2013.

“The State Government remains the principle government supporter of Sydney Festival, with the City of Sydney also a major investor in the program.

“The Festival works closely with both partners to deliver a broad program of both free and ticketed events.”

The Festival runs annually each January and has been running since 1977.

“The Festival has explored new options for its opening celebrations and is pleased to present in 2013 Day One: An Opening in Three Acts,” Ms Tooher said. “A free opening celebration, Day One will offer a series of events throughout the day and into the evening, utilising some of Sydney’s favourite pedestrian precincts.”

The Festival will take place at Hyde Park, The Domain and Darling Harbour. Early release tickets are on sale  for three shows, including Semele Walk, an opera show encompassing the music of George Frederic Handel and outrageous costumes from Vivienne Westwood.

It will run from January 11-15 at Sydney Town Hall. The full program for the Festival will be announced on October 23.