Cahill Expressway – the freeway with million-dollar views that hovers above Circular Quay Station – will close to traffic for a week this summer when the new Elevate Sydney festival transforms it into a stage for more than 180 performers.

In an effort to bolster the NSW economy post-lockdown, the state government is giving away 30,000 free tickets to the festival, where locals and visitors can enjoy live music, talks and performances across six days and nights.

And it’s enlisted some big names for the line-up. Headliners include Tones and I, Tim Minchin, Baker Boy, The Wiggles, Electric Fields, Marcia Hines, Leo Sayer, Ngaiire and L-Fresh the Lion. Shows will be across three different zones and two stages on the iconic harbourfront freeway.

Attendees can also expect a hypnotic light show with 500 choreographed drones flying over Sydney Cove, set to an original soundscape. Other highlights include an opening night First Nations celebration, afternoon talk sessions with leading sportspeople, family-friendly morning sessions with live entertainment, and evening parties with performances by the likes of Courtney Act, Hauskey and Todd McKenney.

Elevate Sydney runs January 1–6, 2022. Tickets are available from December 2.