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The live-music scene in Sydney has passed its boom time, and pub venues keep closing down to make way for the dreaded poker machines. However, there are still enough venues to just barely nourish a steady stream of local, interstate and overseas acts passing through, peaking in summer with a well-established open-air festival circuit. Bands in pubs and clubs are often free, especially if you arrive early; door charge is usually from $5, with $30 the top price for smaller international acts or the latest interstate sensation. Sunday afternoon and early evening is a mellow time to catch some music, particularly jazz, around town.

There are several big outdoor summer rock concerts in Sydney. Homebake (http://www.homebake.com.au) is an open-air music festival in The Domain in early December with food and market stalls, rides, roving performers and a line-up of up to forty famous and underground Australian bands. The Big Day Out, on the Australia Day weekend (http://www.bigdayout.com), at the Showground at Sydney Olympic Park, is an institution and features big international names. Check out also Good Vibrations, a dance/hip-hop festival held in mid-February at Centennial Park (http://www.goodvibrationsfestival.com.au), and Future Music Festival at Royal Randwick Racecourse in March (http://www.futureentertainment.com.au).

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