9 upcoming Queensland festivals to plan your life around in 2018
The excitement and anticipation of an upcoming festival is infectious. You can feel it in the air and see it on the faces of anyone who has tickets. Festival veterans, you know what we’re talking about, right?!
And whether you’re into surfing, eating, dancing, flowers, movies, or even bog snorkelling (yep, it’s a thing), there’s a festival out there for you.
If you’re all about the festival life, get your comfy shoes ready because 2018 is going to be a huge year! You’ll probably definitely need a hand massage after pencilling this epic line-up into your calendar.
NOOSA FESTIVAL OF SURFING
In March, there will be surfboards aplenty on the streets of Noosa when surfers from all over the world arrive for the 27th annual Festival of Surfing. Last year, over 800 surfers (and a handful of heavily-talented surfer dogs) competed at the event.
You can catch all the action, watch specialist surfers demonstrate nose-riding, and participate in the thrill and entertainment from the festival village right on the beach, in front of the break.
This festival is the leading surf cultural event in the world and surfers of all ages (and species, ie: dogs) can get involved in the festivities. It’s grown into an epic celebration of sun, surf and good times. And if you’re going along as a spectator, don’t forget to slip, slop and slap while you’re enjoying all the action with a nice cold beer.
BONUS: NOOSA FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL
If you really want to visit Noosa but surfing doesn’t float your board, head to the Noosa Food & Wine Festival and eat your heart out. From fine wine to gourmet dishes, you can taste your way through the food and wine stands and even get a glimpse of award-winning and celebrity chefs along the way.
When: 17-20 May 2018
Where: Noosa, Sunshine Coast
Entry cost: Event prices vary
Proving there’s more to the Gold Coast than just great stretches of sand, the annual Bleach* Festival is upping the ante on art and community to celebrate all things creative.
For 17 full days, the Gold Coast will transform into a picturesque outdoor gallery and stage, allowing locals and visitors to enjoy the work of the city’s best artists. Creative works, poetry and dance acts from national and international collaborations will also be on show.
Parents; excite your little ones with creative art spaces, interactive performances and pop-up installations. And since no festival is complete without great music, this one boasts contemporary live music to amplify the experience and get the creative juices flowing.
JULIA CREEK DIRT ‘N’ DUST FESTIVAL
When: 13-15 April 2018
Where: Julia Creek, Outback Queensland
Entry cost: Prices vary
Family-friendly: Yes (check out the Junior Triathlon!)
Where to stay: Camp under the stars or snag a motel/hotel room (book in advance).
Triathletes, put your endurance to the ultimate test at the Julia Creek Dirt ‘n’ Dust Festival’s triathlon. Make no mistake folks, this is where tri-superstars are made. Competing athletes must conquer an 800m swim, 25km ride and 5km run whilst being exposed to the scorching sun of Outback Queensland.
And while the serious athletes take on the toughest triathlon course in the country, others opt for the ancient sport of Bog Snorkelling. Never heard of it? Well, it’s an endurance test all its own. Competitors are required to snorkel their way through a muddy pit where visibility is nil… trust me, it’s a great idea after a beer or two.
Hot days turn into beautiful nights in the outback and festival-goers will enjoy falling asleep under a star-filled sky. But, if you’re not exhausted after long days of fun-filled novelty events, hit the main stage for nightly outdoor concerts or watch the spectacular Dirt ‘n’ Dust Bull Ride.
When: 4-6 May 2018
Where: Woodford, Brisbane Region
Entry cost: Prices vary
Family-friendly: Yes (check out the Children’s Program)
Where to stay: Enjoy camping in Queensland’s ultimate folklore destination; Woodfordia.
Consider yourself a bit of a green thumb? Well, this festival has your name all over it. The Planting is all about sharing knowledge and encouraging the environmental preservation of the renowned Woodford Folk Festival site. Combining education, music and art, it’s a must-do festival that celebrates the flora and fauna of Queensland.
But it’s more than just planting a few trees, the festival is a cultural experience where you’ll meet like-minded people and enjoy an interactive program involving workshops, masterclasses and presentations.
Reap what you sow and return to Woodfordia in December for the Woodford Folk Festival to see your hard work enjoyed by festival patrons.
WINTON’S VISION SPLENDID OUTBACK FILM FESTIVAL
When: 29 June – 7 July 2018
Where: Winton, Outback Queensland
Entry cost: Prices vary
Family-friendly: Yes (check out the daily kids club)
Where to stay: Winton has a handful of hotels/motels or you can opt to keep it real and camp under the stars.
Winton’s Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival is the ultimate nine-day Aussie movie marathon set in the heart of the outback. The festival combines an incomparable program of classic and contemporary films directed, produced or starring incredible Australian actors and actresses. Rumour has it a total of 30 films will be shown!
During the day you get to meet the actors, directors and producers behind some of your favourite Aussie films and at night, enjoy their talents on the big screen at the open-air theatre.
If you’re a film buff or consider yourself the next George Miller, head to Winton a.k.a ‘Hollywood in the outback’ to pick the brains of the pros and experience a film festival you’ll never forget.
Insider’s scoop: You’ll also be invited along to tour the locations where some of the films were shot!
AIRLIE BEACH RACE WEEK FESTIVAL OF SAILING
When: 10-16 August 2018
Where: Airlie Beach, The Whitsundays
Entry cost: Free
Family-friendly: Yes (check out the Family Fun Run)
Where to stay: Airlie Beach boasts 5-star resorts and family-friendly budget accommodation options.
Ahoy Sailor! Catch the wind in your sails and chart a course to Airlie Beach in August to experience a week of fun-filled sailing activities at the Race Week Festival of Sailing.
Attracting around 1800 competitors and over 5000 on-shore attendees, this event is now the largest keelboat regatta on the coast of Queensland! And the action extends from the sea to the shore where you’re invited to participate in the festival’s social program including wine tasting, a family fun run, and late long lunch on the lawn.
Enjoy the tropical climate and scenery of the Whitsunday’s Coast during the day and be entertained by the electrifying line-up of bands at night.
BONUS: SEALINK MAGNETIC ISLAND RACE WEEK
If you’re a sailing fanatic, point your compass toward SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week and keep partying!
When: 30 August – 5 September 2018
Where: Magnetic Island, Townsville North Queensland
Entry cost: Prices vary
Every September, Brisbane ignites with colour, art, music and astonishing performances by national and international entertainers and artists. From cultural exhibitions that inspire you to contemporary installations that make you ponder, the iconic Brisbane Festival has an attraction to suit everyone.
Book tickets to watch comedians, musicians and entertainers amaze you with their talents, or take a stroll through the heart of the festival and find yourself swept away with the variety of food stalls, pop-up art installations and brain teasers, like illusion alleys and 3D street art.
On the final day of the festival, find a great spot along the river to watch the nationally broadcasted Sunsuper Riverfire conclude the epic event, complete with fighter jets on display.
TOOWOOMBA CARNIVAL OF FLOWERS
Nothing shouts spring louder than the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers. Get lost in a sea of floral beauty and be surrounded by happy people, laughter, music, great food and wine. You’ll never want to leave.
Kids (and big kids) will love the Sideshow Alley, complete with dagwood dogs and thrill-seeking rides. But the highlight for most families is the Grand Central Floral Parade where thousands flock to see carefully designed floral floats, stilt walkers and street performers make their way through the heart of the city.
With nightly performances and live concerts, the festival is jam-packed with attractions to entice all your senses.
CRUSH FESTIVAL BUNDABERG
Get creative and immerse yourself in an artistic experience at the Crush Festival in Bundaberg. From creative writing to anime drawing workshops, this festival has everything your creative heart desires.
You can opt to hear local singers showcase their talent or get your hands dirty and create your own personal clay sculpture. Either way, your festival itinerary is completely in your control. Little ones will love the contemporary circus and you’ll love the outdoor music and culinary delights.