Cliffside concerts and escapist experiences – BLEACH* Festival unveils its jam-packed program for 2021

Cliffside concerts and escapist experiences – BLEACH* Festival unveils its jam-packed program for 2021

Unless you’re new to the coast or you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably well familiar with BLEACH* Festival. For those who aren’t, well, allow us – BLEACH* Festival is our premier arts and cultural festival that is proudly and passionately Gold Coast. In 2021, BLEACH* Festival will not only celebrate its ten-year milestone but will once again transform the city’s esplanades, vacant blocks, Botanic Gardens and hinterland hideaways into backdrops for awe-inspiring, thought-provoking, and exhilarating experiences from August 12–22. Intrigued? You should be! Here’s what BLEACH* Festival 2021 has in store …

Turning ten is a pretty big deal. To celebrate this monumental milestone, Placemakers* Gold Coast – the team behind the iconic BLEACH* Festival – has dug deep and put together a jam-packed line-up featuring 72 performances, 355 artists and 34 events across the 11-day showcase. The celebration will be staged across four main hubs including Burleigh Heads, The Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens, Southport and Mudgeeraba, as well as cultural corridors at HOTA and Dust Temple in Currumbin. The festival launches at dawn (6:00 am, for those who aren’t normally awake at that time) on Thursday August 12 with the magical and powerful performance of First Light, a sunrise ceremony blending traditional and contemporary First Nations connections, featuring Rick Roser and Emma Donovan supported by Yugambeh Aboriginal dancers, Myora Stone and Yugambeh Choir.

Burleigh Heads will once again be a popular hub to catch all of the BLEACH* Festival action. Feast With Us invites guests to dine under the stars for three unique, culinary and cultural experiences under the stewardship of celebrated chefs Aunty Dale Chapman (My Dilly Bag), Chris Jordan (Three Little Birds), women from the Multicultural Families Organisation and Brenda Fawdon (Mondo Organics/The Soup Kitchen Café). This year, the fun extends to the North Burleigh Headland with the world premiere of BEACONS by percussionist and composer Vanessa Tomlinson and sound artist Lawrence English. The genre-blurring collaboration has been years in the making and will feature an orchestra positioned on a cliff face over the moonlit ocean – sounds pretty dreamy, right? Briggs will headline a (free) night concert that also features some of Australia’s finest contemporary hip-hop artists and musicians and Massive Band will see 100 girls, women, trans and non-binary folk bring the noise, performing rock classics from the likes of Patti Smith and Joan Jett. Rounding out the Burleigh program is Surfing the Fringe, which looks back at the last decade and celebrates with some of the talented artists that have participated in BLEACH* over the years. Once again, The BLEACH* Club (Beachside Bar) will be the perfect place to kick back with a couple of cheeky sundowners throughout the festival.

The city’s beautiful Botanic Gardens will host three nights of signature concerts under the stars including one very memorable set from singer-songwriter Sarah Blasko alongside an orchestra from the Queensland Conservatorium. Internationally renowned jazz legends The Necks will headline the opening night of the Botanic Gardens concert series, before the Queensland premiere performance of Nineteen to the Dozen by The Song Company – a tapestry of 20 compact commissions from 19 composers performed by eight vocalists and conducted by Anthony Pitts. It’s the musical equivalent of a mixed bag of lollies!

This year, Southport will see its fair share of the fun with the vacant site of a former convent transformed into a contemporary psychedelic saturation of the senses. Vernon Ah Kee’s text-based works will become vast typographic installations alongside Colour Blind’s audio-visual experimentation, collectively morphing the surrounding buildings to create an immersive spectacle. In the foreground you’ll experience rock concert/fashion parade hybrid, created by Brisbane’s Justene Williams alongside Tower Divas – a collaboration of three powerful voices led by Corrina Bonshek. The Double Backed Beast promises to heighten your senses, being the first ride in history that combines adrenaline mechanics, deep massage and intimacy technologies. We’re very interested. You’re also invited to climax in the CBD with Glittery Clittery – a comedy cabaret meets interactive club night featuring the Cliterati, an all-singing, all-dancing group of feminists from a not-so-secret society dedicated to combating misogyny and oppression. Expect music, games and more set against a disco soundtrack.

Offering a little change of pace, the hinterland will host Big hART’s Acoustic Life of Sheds featuring Mzaza, Michael Askill, Christine Johnston, and Andrew Tuttle performing new site-specific works as audiences travel between rural Mudgeeraba properties in a carpooling convoy. Meanwhile, things will be heating up at HOTA’s Fireside offering a stellar line-up of live music, great art, food, and conversation, and last but in no means least, Betty Grumble has curated the party of the year at Dust Temple in Currumbin full of queer performance art, DJs and electronic music in a multi-dimensional extravaganza.

Friends, that’s just the tip of the huge, diverse and awe-inspiring iceberg that is BLEACH* Festival 2021. Jump online to check out the full festival program and start planning your way through this spectacular, culture-soaked showcase of the Gold Coast from August 12–22. The Weekend Edition is excited to be an official media partner for BLEACH* Festival 2021. 
Image 1: Beacons – Photo by Claudio Kirac Art-Work Agency
Image 2: Emma Donovan – Photo by Michelle Grace Hunder
Image 3: Briggs – Photo by Tristan Eduoard
Image 4: SwingJam – Photo by Claudio Kirac Art-Work Agency
Image 5: Sarah Blasko – Photo by Wilk
Image 6: The Necks – Photo by Holimage
Image 7: Glittery Clittery – Photo by Jamie Penlidis
Image 8: Acoustic Life of Sheds – Photo by Claudio Kirac Art-Work Agency

To find out more about what’s on in Brisbane, head to our Event Guide.


Sign up for our weekly enews & receive more articles like this: