Pyrotechnics, seesaws and overwater exhibitions – Brisbane Festival itineraries for the wonder seeker in all
With the very large-and-in-charge Brisbane Festival coming around the corner like the speed of light (it’s all happening from September 3–25, for the forgetful folk), it’s safe to say we’re spoiled for choice – and choosing can be hard! Don’t fret, fellow wonder seeker, as we have your back. We’ve curated four itineraries to help you tackle all of the festival goodness – whether you’re a proud parent, eager bar hopper, art enthusiast or weekend chaser.
The family-friendly day out (September 22–23)
The 2021 Brisbane Festival is boasting a jam-packed catalogue of events and a lot of these happenings are family-friendly. Those who have the little ones in tow can begin their Brisbane Festival experience with an 11:00 am session of Summer Play Factor (SPF), which is set to fill South Bank Piazza with surfboard acrobatics, ice-cream juggling and beach cricket. Then take a stroll through town to West End, but make sure to look up and keep your eyes peeled for the Messengers of Brisbane, a bevy of giant Gouldian Finches that will be popping up around our city. Kids complaining that their tummy is grumbling? If that’s a yes, then make tracks to West Village for lunch and grab a protein-packed bowl from Cheeky Poke or wrap your mitts around a bun from Betty’s Burgers. Follow your feast with the 1:00 pm show of Wilbur the Optical Whale, an immersive story that’s taking over Metro Arts.
The night with the girls (September 17–18)
Got plans with the gals? Don your best cocktail dress and kick off the evening with a few liquid refreshments and an early dinner in Fish Lane – you’re spoiled for choice with Maeve Wine Bar, Gauge, Julius Pizzeria, Southside, Hello Please and more lining the laneway. Then make your way to the South Bank Piazza for Skyfall, a seductive tribute to James Bond and all of the chart-topping songs that the 007 franchise has produced. Afterwards, gather your crew and head to the BOQ Festival Garden for a few drinks. Hot tip – for a dose of carnival fun, be sure to take a ride on the Light Seesaw while you’re there. Finish off the night with some boogie-worthy tunes courtesy of TV darling Hugh Sheridan, before hopping back over to the BOQ Garden for some late-night snacks.
For an immersive art experience (Thursdays and Saturdays, September 9–23)
Art lovers will be in heaven when Brisbane Festival rolls around and we know just the events to check out. Start off at South Bank to enter Imaginaria, a ‘grammable playground full of shimmering light sculptures and architectural inflatables. Fuel up for an evening of entertainment and grab bite to eat at River Quay – a couple of our favourite places include Italian locale Popolo and riverside restaurant Otto. Once you’ve filled up on flavourful nosh, head to the BOQ Festival Garden to traverse through the dazzling IMB Institute of Light, before popping on your sailor’s hat and jumping aboard Brisbane’s Art Boat to Northshore. Depending on what date you go, this magical art-filled cruise will feature the luminous arches of Sky Castle or the mesmerising inflatables of Airship Orchestra.
For a weekend of wonder (September 24–25)
TGIF will take on a whole new meaning at Brisbane Festival, which will pack your calendar with enchanting affairs. Welcome in the weekend on Friday September 24 with an evening tipple at Lloyd’s General Store before moseying down to King Street for a bite to eat – devour a hearty German-inspired meal at Beerhaus, stick a fork in to fancy French eats at Montrachet or opt for frozen margaritas and tantalising Mexican eats from El Camino Cantina. After dinner, it’s showtime – make your way to The Tivoli for queer costume and dance party Bowerytopia. With stars in your eyes and glitter in your hair, finish the evening off with a nightcap in The Valley – Savile Row or Suzie Wong’s are two top-notch drinking destinations to keep the party going. On Saturday September 25, head to South Bank for an early lunch at the BOQ Festival Garden and discover the glowing extraterrestrial realness of I Believe. Then you’ll want to focus your attention on nabbing a good spot – the show-stopping finale of Brisbane Festival, Sunsuper Riverfire, will be lighting up the evening sky in a truly unmissable display of pyrotechnics and aerial tricks. Conclude the festival goodness with throwback sing-a-long Massaoke Oz, where you can belt out all of your favourite hits from decades past.
Want to lock down your seats? You can jump in to the 2021 Brisbane Festival program and purchase tickets to events here.
Please note: In case Ms Rona pays Brisbane a visit and events can’t go ahead, Brisbane Festival will do quick and easy refunds for everyone. So, grab your tickets and dive into the Festival – it’s going to be a blast!
This article was written in partnership with our friends at Brisbane Festival.