Throughout the year, festivals provide free live music.  These are mostly held outdoors, to take advantage of Sydney's warm weather.

During the Sydney Festival the city's favourite outdoor concert take place , including Opera in the Park, Symphony in The Domain and the Australia Day Concert, all held in The Domain, as well as Latin music in the Aquadome at Darling Harbour and events in the Sydney Opera House forecourt.

The Conservatorium of Music holds a weekly series of inexpensive concerts in their Verbrugghen Hall during the university semester, entry is by gold coin  ($1 or $2)  donation.

Staff and students present classical, modern and jazz music in ensemble, soloist and chamber performances.  Buskers, jazz bands, string ensembles, guitarists or dancers perform most weekends and during school holidays at Circular Quay, The Rocks and Darling Harbour.

Sydney attracts some of the biggest names in modern music all year round.  Venues range from the cavernous Sydney Entertainment Centre to small and noisy back rooms in pubs.

Visiting international DJ's frequently play sets at Sydney clubs.  Some venues cater for a variety of music tastes - rock and pop one night, jazz, blues or folk the nest.  There are several free weekly gig guides available, including Drum Media, 3-D World and Brag, which tell you what is on.

Tickets for major shows are available through booking agencies such as Ticketek and Ticketmaster.  Prices vary considerable, depending on the shows that are going to take place.  You may pay from $30 to $70 for a gig at the Metro, but over $150 for seats for a Rolling Stones concert.

Moshtix also sells tickets for smaller venues across Sydney and their website gives a good idea of the various venues and what is on.  Buying online also prevents you from having to queue early for tickets from the door.

You can also pay at the door on the night at most places, unless the show is sold out.  Nightclubs often have a cover charge, but some venues will admit you free before a certain time in the evening or on weeknights.

Most venues serve alcohol, so shows are restricted to those at least 18 years of age.  This is the usual case unless a gig is specified  "all ages".

It is advisable that people under 30 years old carry photo identification, such as a passport or driver's licence, because entry to some venues is very strict.  You are also not allowed to carry any kind of bottle into most nightclubs or other venues.  Similarly, any cameras and recording devices are usually banned.

Dress codes vary, but generally, shorts  (on men)  and flip flops are not welcome.  Wear thin layers whivh you can remove when you get hot instead of a coat, and avoid carrying a big bag, because many venues do not have a cloakroom. 

Pop's big names and famous rock groups perform at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, Hordern Pavilion, and sports grounds such as the Aussie Stadium at Sydney Olympic Park in Homebush Bay. 

More intimate locations include the State Theatre, Enmore Theatre and Sydney's best venue, The Metro Theatre.  Hip Hop acts usually play in rock venues rather than in nightclubs. 

You are almost as likely to find a crew rapping or a band strumming and drumming at the Metro Theatre, the Gaelic Club, Newtown or the Hopetown Hotel.  It is not unusual to catch a punk, garage or electro-folk band at Spectrum or the Annandale Hotel on Parramatta Road.

Pub rock is a constantly changing scene in Sydney.  Weekly listings appear on Fridays in the  "Metro"  section of the Sydney Morning Harald and in the street press.

Music stores are also full of flyers and gigs by international acts and popular Australian bands,  on every week at the Metro Theatre and Gaelic Club, usually sell out.

For many years, the first port of call for any jazz, funk, groove or folk enthusiast has been The Basement.  Visiting luminaries play some nights, talented but struggling local musician others, and the line-ups now also includes increasingly popular world music and hip hop bands.

Soup Plus, Margaret Street, plays jazz while serving reasonably priced food, including soup.  Experimental jazz is offered on Fridays and Saturdays at the Seymour Theatre Centre.

The Vanguard, a newer venue, also offers dinner and show deals, as well as show-only tickets, and has been drawing and excellent roster of jazz, blues and roots talent.

Annandale's Empire Hotel is Sydney's official home of the blues, and the Cat & Fiddle Hotel in Balmain of acoustic music and folk.  Wine Banq, a plush CBD bar and restaurant, dishes up smooth jazz most nights of the week.

Sydney's only super club, Home Sydney in Cockle Bay features three levels and a gargantuan sound system.  Friday night is the time to go, as the DJ's present house, trance, drum and bass and breakbeats.

A mainstream crowd flocks to the nearby Bungalow 8 on King Street Wharf.  Once the sun has set, house DJ's turn the place into a club.  At the swank Tank on Bridge Lane, the emphasis is on pure house music and the decor is a throwback to Studio 54 in New York.  Cave, at Star City, is another mainstream house club.

For something a little more hip, try Candy's Apartment on Bayswater Road, or the fashionable tech-electro Mars Lounge on Wentworth Avenue, with its red lacquered interior.

Enter Goodbar on Oxford Street in Paddington by a barely marked door, descend a flight of stairs, and you will find yourself in one of Sydney's longest established nightclubs.  There is hip hop some nights, house others.

Down the road, Q Bar on Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, has arcade games for when you need a breather.  Or try the low-ceilinged Chinese Laundry on Sussex Street, tucked under the gentrified pub, Slip Inn.

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