(6pm, Wednesday 23 October 2013, Sydney Town Hall)
Welcome to Town Hall. Since 19977, when the first Festival was held, Sydney Festival has developed a national and international reputation for modern, popular and thoughtful programming.
In a way that seems uniquely Sydney, it transcends old boundaries of "popular culture" and "high art". It fuses summer, art and life in one of the world's great cities, and is founded on a unique partnership between the City, State and corporate sector.
Next year will be the second of Lieven's four Festivals.
Once again we'll see an emphasis on contemporary programming, outstanding work from Australia and overseas, and an expansive program of free events, keeping Sydney Festival accessible and affordable for all.
By animating public spaces with live music and visual arts, and by inviting people to join in the city's cultural life, Sydney Festival brings to life many of the initiatives proposed in the Cultural Policy we are developing.
It meets our green vision, having become the first festival in Australia to gain international certification for sustainability.
It brings artists and performers from 16 countries to our city, while showcasing Sydney as a global city.
And it connects communities across greater Sydney, with the Enmore Theatre, CarriageWorks, Sydney University, the City Recital Hall and The Star's Lyric Theatre all hosting shows in 2014.
Next year, the fabulous Paradiso will return here to Town Hall, a meeting place in the City centre with contemporary music and DJs.
Festival Village in Hyde Park will boast not only the Speigeltent but also the Circus Ronaldo in a second tent, as well as the Tix for Next to Nix booth.
There are, of course, the Domain concerts and large-scale artworks, from Merchants Store at Darling Harbour to a life-sized inflatable Stonehenge in Hyde Park.
Following its presentation of I am Eora in 2013 and The Secret River this year, Sydney Festival 2014 will bring us Black Diggers, an important new production commissioned from the Queensland Theatre Company to mark the centenary of World War I.
Some of Australia's leading indigenous theatre professionals will reveal the little-acknowledged contribution of Aboriginal diggers, in an event which will have its world premiere at the Sydney Opera House.
This is a significant step in recognising the past and continuing role Aboriginal people have played in all aspects of our national life. It's one more reason I'm proud to commend Sydney Festival 2014 to you.