A handy guide to this year’s Brisbane Festival
In Brisbane, spring is more than sunshine and roses. It’s a time for great food, theatrical performances and live music because, for almost the entire month of September, the Brisbane Festival is in full swing and the city bursts with colour, culture and tasty-goodness.
Although you’ll find pop up activations in Kelvin Grove and New Farm, the beating heart of the festival resides in South Bank and just like a heart, it will pump excitement through the veins of Brisbane city.
The festival fully immerses itself into the city. So, if you’re wandering the streets of Brisbane during the festival, keep an eye out for five 40-feet giant humanoids. We heard that they’ll live along the South Bank Parklands, QPAC and even the Brisbane International Airport.
Laugh and cry with your kids as you enter the world of Ethan. Diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome at the age of four, he perceives the world differently and wonderfully, just as you would if you looked through a Kaleidoscope. The 1-hour show features acrobatic circus performers, explosive colour, chaos and vibrant video projections. Plus, your little ones can explore the free play space before the show or participate in an easy tumbling and acrobatics workshop.
Turning Brisbane’s night sky into an epic work of art, the Sunsuper Riverfire is a must-do for families and firework photographers alike. Wrapping up the Brisbane Festival, the spectacle includes over 20 minutes worth of fireworks and a special display by the RAAF Super Hornet and Army Helicopters.
Tip: Get to your viewing site early in the afternoon to secure a comfy spot. Public transport is the best transport mode on this day as some major roads will be closed.
FOR FOOD LOVERS
Venture into the Treasury Brisbane Acardia a.k.a Festival Central and lose yourself in a world of colour, wonder and cheer. It’s also home to the festival favourite Courier Mail Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent and hosts wine bars, lounges and delectable food stalls. And the best part? Two words: free entry!
Mix your love of food and theatre together and you’ll get something close to this bizarre show called; CHEF: Come Dine With Us!
It’s a smorgasbord of treats and is based on two sous chefs competing in an ultimate cooking show. Think Master Chef meets a hilarious Korean game show.
FOR MUSIC FANS
Live music will set the festive tone and includes a variety of genres from rock to hip hop and even string quartet. There’s something to suit every playlist and most of the gigs are free and can be found in the Treasury Brisbane Arcadia.
FOR LAUGHS AND GIGGLES
Move over Sasha Fierce, Zoe Coombs Marr’s Trigger Warning introduces her alter ego Dave, a mouthy male stand-up disguised as a silent Gaulier clown. It’s an hour’s worth of laughs from a feminist comedian whose alter ego tries not to offend anyone. What’s the worst that could happen?
Pay a visit to the Theatre Republic in QUT’s Creative Industries Precinct at Kelvin Grove and catch a mind-boggling show. With over 14 acts including a modern Aussie take on Macbeth and a part-drag-queen-part-automaton fortune teller.
HOW TO GET TO THE FESTIVAL VENUES
THE HEART OF THE FESTIVAL: SOUTH BANK, SOUTH BRISBANE
Home to: Treasury Brisbane Arcadia, Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), The Courier-Mail Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent, South Bank Piazza, Bille Brown Studio, Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University, Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA).
Train: Arrive into South Brisbane Station
Bus: Arrive into Cultural Centre Station
Ferry: Arrive into the South Bank Ferry Terminal
Walk: Cross the Victoria or Kurilpa Bridge
QUT CREATIVE INDUSTRIES PRECINCT, KELVIN GROVE
Home to: Theatre Republic and La Boite Roundhouse Theatre
Bus: Arrive into QUT Kelvin Grove station
Bus: Arrive at the end of Brunswick Street at Oxlade Drive (short walk to Brisbane Powerhouse)
Ferry: Arrive into New Farm Park Ferry Terminal
BRISBANE CITY HALL
Bus: Arrive in King George Square Bus Station
Walk: If you’re staying near the city, the Brisbane City Hall is a short walk from Queen Street Mall
WHERE TO GET A LAY OF THE LAND
New to Brisbane? Take a Brisbane Greeters guided tour. Not only will you familiarise yourself with the city and how to get around, you’ll also learn about its rich history.
Climb to the top of the Story Bridge and see Brisbane city from a vantage point. You’ll get spectacular river views and a breathtaking panorama of South Bank and the CBD. And if you climb at twilight, you’ll witness an incredible sunset and watch as the city lights come on.
Not much of a dare devil? No problem! Drive to the Mount Coot-tha lookout and see Brisbane city from a different angle. You can even grab a bite to eat at the Kuta Café.
Psst! You could just multi-task and sip on a cocktail while you get a lay of the land from one of these roof top bars.
NEED HELP PLANNING?
- Find accommodation options here
- Find out more about South Bank here
- Discover 100 cool things to see and do in Brisbane here
- Want to come back for another event? Check out the line-up of Brisbane events here
- Want to take a sneaky trip to the beach? Here’s a guide to Brisbane best beaches.
- Hiring a car while you’re here? Check out this list of the best day trips from Brisbane.