Immerse yourself in Brisbane’s best cultural and art experiences
Brisbane is full to the brim with world-class arts and culture, with live theatre, gigs and exhibitions coming at us from every corner. The city is truly putting on a show over the coming months and to help you discover some of the magic, we’ve rounded up some of the best arts festivals and events to mark in your diary.
Brisbane Street Art Festival –May 1–16
Set to bring our city’s laneways and streets alive with colour, the Brisbane Street Art Festival (BSAF) is a 16-day public arts event. It showcases street art across the city including live murals, workshops, exhibitions, street theatre and music performances. Highlights include the festival launch party at the newly established arts venue Superordinary, the annual Within These Walls exhibition, and the beer-soaked Felons X BSAF Party at Howard Smith Wharves. There’s plenty to see at this year’s event – to learn more or to find a live painting near you, head over to the BSAF website.
Indigenous Art Program: Hyperlocal – May 1 to July 31
Head to The City for Indigenous Art Program: Hyperlocal, where you can immerse yourself in breathtaking Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander works, such as large-scale banners, vitrines and projections in city streets and laneway spaces. Keen to stroll through some art? Visit Council’s Outdoor Gallery page for a full list of artworks and a map, and the Indigenous Art Program page for artist profiles and a public events program.
Anywhere Festival – May 6–23
Bigger and better than ever, Anywhere Festival has returned for its bumper tenth anniversary. A festival like no other, Anywhere means ANYWHERE – theatre, comedy, music, circus, cabaret, dance, poetry, walking tours, spoken word and even a little bit of magic – but set in gyms, underground reservoirs, backyards, ferry stops, power stations, plant nurseries, golf clubs, rooftops, warehouses, cafes, trams, parks and heritage homes. Highlights of the festival include virtual reality experience PRISON X (an immersive play in virtual reality where you play the role of a drug mule), Muscle Up Circus (a showcase of fitness and physical theatre) and Coterie Cabaret (a cheeky and hilarious celebration of kink). For more information on this exciting event, head here.
Botanica – Contemporary Art Outside – May 7–16
Currently taking over the City Botanic Gardens, Botanica – Contemporary Art Outside is a huge display of illuminating artworks that light up the park after dark with picture-perfect projections and immersive installations from May 7–16. The event also features a children’s discovery trail where kids can play hide-and-seek with micro-projections of Australian fauna, musicians filling the air with live tunes, food trucks slinging delicious eats and a pop-up bar quenching event-goers’ thirsts. Head to the Brisbane City Council website for further information on this starlit showcase.
BRISBANE ART DESIGN (BAD) – May 7–30
Attention art lovers – Brisbane Art Design (BAD) is returning for another year of creative action! From May 7–30, Brisbane will come alive with eye-catching exhibitions, artist talks, open studios, workshops, walking tours, demonstrations, street parties and much, much more. Highlights include guided tours of The City’s galleries and pop-up art installations, a wine tasting at City Winery’s Edward Street sipping station and a clay play day at Dabbler Studio. To check out the full program of BAD events, pop over to the Brisbane Art Design website.
Brisbane Powerhouse 21st Birthday Celebrations – May 6–15
Can you believe it?! Brisbane Powerhouse is turning 21! To celebrate the occasion, New Farm’s cultural gem is hosting a star-studded line-up of local and national acts, culminating in a special birthday concert. During the ten-day celebration (happening from May 6–15), there will be a performance from ARIA award-winning Brisbane band george, a retrospective in-conversation with ABC Radio’s Rebecca Livingston and a special exhibition commemorating Brisbane Powerhouse’s rich 95-year history. Prepare your best party gear and head here for more information.
MELT: Festival of Queer Arts and Culture – May 19–30
Glitz, glamour and a whole lot of glitter is just some of what you can expect at this year’s MELT Festival, which is taking over Brisbane Powerhouse from May 19–30. Full of fresh faces and festival favourites, the 2021 program features more than 15 magical events over 11 days – there’s everything from cabaret and music to theatre and visual arts. Slap on your face and don your best ball gown for the MELT Beauty Pageant, sing along to your favourite Queen hits with help from five show-stopping females at Killer Queens, or watch roles reverse in Showguys, a boylesque and drag tribute to the 1995 cult classic film Showgirls. There’s plenty more happening – to view the full program, head here.
Brisbane Fashion Festival – August 23–25
The Brisbane Fashion Festival is taking the runway to the streets this year, taking over King George Square in the heart of the city from August 23–25. The new location will allow for Brisbane Fashion Festival’s biggest runway yet, inviting hundreds of fashion aficionados to join in the festivities. The mammoth event showcases collections from top-tier local fashion designers, with past participants including the likes of alice McCALL, Camilla, George Wu, Scanlan Theodore and Ginger & Smart. This year, event-goers can expect looks from much-loved Queensland fashion labels alongside a clutch of adored national labels and pieces from the industry’s brightest up-and-coming talent. The official program of events has yet to be revealed so stay tuned for further details.
Brisbane Festival – September 3–25
Brisbane Festival is back, baby! The crowd-favourite festival has just announced that it will set our city alight from September 3–25 with a yet-to-be-announced but sure-to-be-phenomenal program. After its huge success last year, the festival is bringing back Street Serenades with a truly unique live music program. This year, Street Serenades will turn up the volume with bigger performances as it takes the show on the road again, performing across all 190 Brisbane suburbs throughout September. The full program will drop in July, so keep your eyes peeled on the Brisbane Festival website for further information.
This article was written in partnership with our friends at Brisbane City Council. To find out more, head over to Brisbetter Days Out.