(7.15pm 4 November 2011, Sydney Town Hall)
Hello, everyone, and welcome. I would like firstly to acknowledge the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to the Elders, both past and present.
I think we can all relax a little after the successful launch on Wednesday and what seems to be a very positive response.
Lindy, I hope you're proud of what you've achieved over the last three years and on behalf of all of us, a very warm thank-you.
It's also a chance to welcome Lieven who will bring his own insights to Sydney Festival and build on the wonderful work of Lindy and her predecessors.
This Festival is something Sydney has really taken to its heart - and despite what they say about brash Sydney, it really does have a big heart - and that is largely thanks to the vision and dedication of the Festival directors, the terrific Festival staff, from Josephine on.
It's also in large measure due to our partners and supporters - the NSW Government, the City itself, of course, our corporate and other partners.
I'm particularly pleased to see three new sponsors:
China Southern is the new Official Airline. They are based in Guangzhou, one of our sister cities, and hoping to establish Guangzhou as the gateway to China. Welcome Nancy.
McGuigan wines are our new wine sponsor. It's wonderful that we'll be serving wines from New South Wales again. Welcome Neil.
The Keystone Group has taken naming rights on the Festival Bar in Hyde Park Barracks. Their restaurants and bars are part of the Fast Festival Feast program and we'll be using their venues for artist hospitality. Welcome John.
You make the dreams possible and keep the Festival flourishing as a stimulating and always engaging staple of the Sydney summer.
Welcome to you all, and once again, thank you, Lindy and welcome, Lieven.