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There’s not much like a city-wide festival to awaken us from our winter slumber and get us moving again. This year, The Brisbane River and city landmarks will once again be transformed into a stage for an explosion of arts and performance to occur between September 1 – 23 for Brisbane Festival. Whether it be watching on in wonder at a multicolour drone show, seeing a mindblowing circus act inside St John’s Cathedral, or getting a good spot for Riverfire, there’s something for everyone this year. Take a look at our pick of events, installations and performances below.
The annual Riverfire fireworks display is a staple of Brisbane Festival. And each year, the spectacular light show seems to get better and better too. However, with huge crowds all trying to get the best spot, it can also feel a little overwhelming sometimes. We recommend heading to Wilson Reserve Outlook to catch the display over Story Bridge for free.
Riverfire is set to light up the Brisbane city skyline on Saturday, September 2.
Here are some Brisbane venues holding events for Riverfire, with fantastic views of the fireworks:
- Lina Rooftop, South Brisbane ($225 per person)
- Fridays($35 for general admission, $149 for all-inclusive package)
- Emporium Hotel, South Brisbane ($299 for all-inclusive package
- Riverland ($179 for all-inclusive package)
- W Brisbane (staycation with prime seating from $759)
Nieergoo: Spirit of the Whale
In a Queensland premiere, Nieergoo: Spirit of the Whale is set to open Brisbane Festival in a truly spectacular way. 400 drones will take to the sky and light up the night with a dreamtime story dating back 65,000 years.
Directed by Traditional Owner and storyteller, Shannon Ruska and Tribal Experiences, this 3D multicolour drone show highlights the dreamtime Yuggera and Toorabul story of Nieergoo: Spirit of the Whale through dazzling visuals and an original score. The creation story of Moreton Bay’s islands will also be told from the sky.
We recommend heading to South Bank to get the best views.
If you’re a lover of gorgeous art installations, then you’ll be spoilt for choice this year at Brisbane Festival.
After sell-out seasons in Sydney and Melbourne, the gorgeous after-dark experience, Lightscape, is also finally coming our way as part of Brisbane Festival, popping up at the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens. Lose yourself in a garden paradise, filled with over 100, 000 tiny lights and colour-changing installations, including a glowing tunnel and huge illuminated flowers.
During the month, be sure to check out the world premiere of Hiromi Hotel: YU KA 夢花, a stunning installation of giant rainbow coloured peony flowers from internationally renowned artist, Hiromi Tango.
The main Hiromi Hotel installation is free to see and located on Little Stanley Street in South Brisbane. There’s also a pop-up installation at Brisbane Quarter in the city.
Several venues at Brisbane Quarter are celebrating the installation with their own creative concoctions, such as the “Citrus Smile” cocktail from W Brisbane’s Living Room Bar, which is a tasty mix of mandarin gin, lemon juice, egg white, vanilla syrup, and sumac spice, adorned with edible art.
Out of the unique interactive experiences coming to Brisbane Festival this year, Erth’s Shark Dive is one we’re keen to check out. Through visuals and audio, this choose-your-own adventure gives you the chance to dive with sharks without getting wet.
If you’re after something more nostalgic, then head over to Esc. With Us, a retro collection of inflatable gaming consoles.
Music, Circus & Theatre
This year at Brisbane Festival, there are plenty of gigs to give you that live music fix, including shows from Gretta Ray, Seasonal Fruit, and Paul Kelly.
In terms of theatre and performances, we recommend checking out Eternity, which is an awe-inspiring acrobatic show performed inside St John’s Cathedral, as well as Cut Chilli, a comedy drama performance about displacement and cultural identity.
To avoid disappointment, make sure to check the Brisbane Festival website for specific dates and times for these events as some installations do not run for the full length of the festival program.