Cockatoo Island has been host to many great events, here is a selection of just a few:
- Cockatoo Island Film Festival 2012
- Red Bull X-Fighters 2012
- The 18th Biennale of Sydney 2012
- Outpost Project 2011
- Red Bull X-Fighters 2011
- The 17th Biennale of Sydney 2010
- All Tomorrow's Parties Festival 2009
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In October 2012, Cockatoo Island was transformed into a state of the art cinema complex and cultural precinct, featuring film premieres, documentaries, local films, a nightclub precinct, workshops and a yacht race – there was something for everyone.
Featuring the largest competitive film program in Australia, Cockatoo Island Film Festival showcased foreign and local film productions, connecting the Australian and International screen industry and presenting a comprehensive program of panel discussions, forums and master classes. Classic cinema, programs devoted to young people and children, special program of low-budget indie works, as well as raucous, rowdy, and outrageous midnight screenings featured - the festival delivered the most surprising and entertaining experience on offer in Australia and beyond.
In October 2012, Cockatoo Island once again took centre stage as the venue for the grand finale of the Red Bull X-Fighters World Series Tour. This was the second consecutive year that the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust hosted the Red Bull X-Fighters World Series Tour Grand Final on Cockatoo Island. It built on the success of the inaugural Cockatoo Island leg of the Red Bull X-Fighters World Series Tour on 17 September 2011 when 11,000 spectators watched the amazing freestyle motocross action safely within a purpose-built motocross stadium on Cockatoo Island's Eastern Apron. The 2012 event was the sixth and final stop on the world tour. Held in some of the most spectacular locations around the world including Dubai, Istanbul and Madrid, the Red Bull X-Fighters World Series Tour had a thrilling climax on Cockatoo Island.
In 2012, Cockatoo Island was a Major Venue for the Biennale of Sydney for the third time. Held every two years, the Biennale of Sydney is Australia's largest contemporary visual arts event, showcasing bold and innovative contemporary art from around the world. The free exhibition is presented over 12 weeks in the heart of Sydney at leading contemporary art spaces and on world heritage-listed Cockatoo Island. Alongside the exhibition, the Biennale presented artist talks, guided tours, performances, forums, film screenings, family days and other special events – all free to the public. The 18th Biennale of Sydney: all our relations (27 June – 16 September 2012) was based on a collaborative framework and dynamic new exhibition model. Artistic Directors Catherine de Zegher and Gerald McMaster brought together international artists to collaborate and create artworks, exploring new ideas from unexpected voices around the world.
Sydney Harbour Federation Trust presented The OUTPOST PROJECT in association with aMBUSH Gallery (4 November - 11 December 2011) and transformed the gritty industrial spaces of Cockatoo Island into an explosion of urban art featuring over 150 artists, in a first for the Southern Hemisphere.
Renowned international and local artists such us ROA (Belgium), Ethos (Brazil), Kid Zoom (USA/Australia), Anthony Lister (USA/Australia) and the Everfresh Collective (Australia) illuminated the island with large-scale installations, live art creations including aerosol art, stencilling, paste-ups, sticker art, cup rocking, sculpture, murals and billboards.
Exhibitions and forums immersed visitors into global street art culture. Must-sees included George Shaw's Oi You! Collection boasting works by Os Gemeos, Swoon, Faile and the world's best known and most influential Street Artist Banksy.
The OUTPOST PROJECT exhibited works from the 2011 Australian Stencil Art Prize, a major T-shirt streetwear exhibition, the MAY's: The May Lane Street Art Project presented by Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, plus local collectives collaborating with international artists.
Against this backdrop, a vibrant live and changing weekend events program offered a mix of grand experiences and unexpected happenings. Street sports took centre stage with the creation of a vast waterfront skateable plaza setting a scene for Skateboarding Australia's Pro/Am Tour Grand Final on the 10th December.
Alongside the action, an array of pop-up bars, retail and gallery spaces, artist battles, demos, DJ's, tours and art-making projects covered the island with activity for all ages. The OUTPOST PROJECT also presented an innovative education program, engaging students with the artists, voices, styles and issues of Street Art.
Over 86,000 people attended Outpost Project over 5 big weeks on Cockatoo Island between 4 November and 11 December 2011.
Local hero Josh Sheehan double-back-flipped his way to glory on home soil at Cockatoo Island in front of a sell-out crowd of 11,000.
More than 157,000 visitors flocked to Cockatoo Island to see the first full scale visual arts event on Cockatoo Island. 56 artists displayed over 120 of the world's most innovative installation artworks from 12 May to 1 August 2010.
As part of Sydney Festival 2009, the sandstone workshops and industrial spaces of Cockatoo hosted over 12,000 music fans over a weekend for All Tomorrow's Parties, an event curated by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.