Flaming gardens, mind-bending mazes and more – our guide to Brisbane Festival 2019
Folks, we weren’t joking when we told you that this year’s Brisbane Festival is an absolute showstopper. The annual outing brings an extra explosion of colour and life to our city, spreading a program of world-class entertainment through the streets for three glorious weeks. Whether it’s visionary installations, racy cabaret or international musical superstars you’re after, this year’s Brisbane Festival has got you covered – we’ve had a look through the program and sorted it into handy sections depending on what you love. Block out September 5–28 in your diary because you’re going to be very busy.
The special ones
It wouldn’t be Brisbane Festival without some world premieres and truly ambitious works, and this year’s program truly delivers on both fronts. For an all-in sensory treat, Invisible Cities is a must-see (and do, and experience) – the multidisciplinary work is taking over a huge warehouse in Yeerongpilly to showcase a global collective of daring artists pushing the limits of theatre, choreography, music, architectural design and projection mapping. Trust us – you can’t put this into words. Another highlight is Fire Gardens, the deservedly hyped installation from French artists Compagnie Carabosse that will turn the City Botanic Gardens into a (literally) flaming dreamscape. Were you a fan of last year’s House of Mirrors? The same team is back on their mind-bending game with 1000 Doors, an immersive labyrinth that will have you second-guessing yourself and seeing double.
One area where Brisbane Festival truly turns it out is the live-music offering. This year sees a whopping array of talent take to storied venues around town, including Kate Miller-Heidke, City and Colour, Tropical Fuck Storm and even The Amity Affliction. The Tivoli in the Round shows return with slots from Paul Dempsey, No Mono, Emma Louise and Husky, while you can catch solo shows at various spots from The Middle East, Tia Gostelow, Holy Holy and loads more. We also have a birthday on our hands – the beloved Riverstage is celebrating 30 years in operation, and will be welcoming a party including headliners Hot Dub Time Machine and Cub Sport to mark the occasion.
The comedy and cabaret
Get ready to pop bottles and get a bit cheeky, because when Brisbane Festival comes to town it really brings the sass. The 2019 comedy and cabaret spread is to die for, featuring some iconic names alongside returning faves. The salacious scamps from Blanc de Blanc are back for Encore, while the boylesque community gets a spicy look-in via Briefs: Close Encounters. Cabaret icon Trevor Ashley is also bringing his stunning retrospective to town, celebrating two decades of divadom (sequins and feathers heavily encouraged). On the comedy front, you can catch knee-slapping shows from the likes of Sam Simmons, John Safran, Cal Wilson and Anne Edmonds just to name a few.
There is more happening for Brisbane Festival than we could possibly ever cram into one article – to see the full jam-packed program and grab tickets to events, be sure to head to the Brisbane Festival website.