Brad Rush, artistic director, Glitter Festival

Ultimately it’s the art that brings the festival together rather than gender or sexuality …

Get ready to be glitter bombed, Gold Coast. Glitter Festival is the Gold Coast’s first ever celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, A-sexual, Pansexual + community, which will run from September 28 to October 5. The festival, proudly and loudly presented by The Arts Centre Gold Coast with the blessing of the city and the Mayor, is an inclusive event that aims to bring the community together through the medium of art and culture. The Weekend Edition Gold Coast caught up with Glitter Festival’s artistic director, Brad Rush, to chat about running in heels and personal highlights.

For those who haven’t heard, can you tell us about Glitter Festival?
Glitter Festival is the first ever celebration of Gay and Queer culture on the Gold Coast. It’s a festival of arts including music, drama and cabaret as well as visual arts, a wonderful cinema program and external events.

How did it all come about?
It came about in an attempt to address a couple of things, first of all, there’s criticism within the Gay, Lesbian and Transgender community that it’s divided and somewhat hidden so we’re using arts and culture, which we know very well, as a reason to bring that community together. Secondly, the festival is intended to satisfy the criticism that there isn’t enough to do on the Gold Coast, particularly for those communities. The Arts Centre Gold Coast is a place of creativity and arts, which is very compatible to all audiences. Ultimately it’s the art that brings the festival together rather than gender and sexuality.

The festival has been hailed the Gold Coast’s coming of age and makes an important statement about our willingness as a city to be openly bold about our social views. Have you found everyone is quite open and supportive of Glitter Festival?
Outstandingly so! When we launched it in March, even I didn’t expect the program to be quite as extensive as it is but it’s come about because of an incredible support from the media, from the local community and some great service providers that are in the community doing some amazing work. The general public feedback has been outstanding, I can only think of two severely conservative opinions. I would have thought there would have been mass hysteria but that is definitely the minority. It’s been more than positive.

What do you hope to achieve from the event?
This is very much a celebration and I don’t want to use that term lightly. The program is so diverse and offers multiple access points to appeal to a wide audience so that everyone can get involved. I guess it would be my wish to see audiences packed with young people, old people, straight people, gay people, all kinds of people that are there to share the program but are also there because they are respectful of each other’s individuality.

Is there any one event in particular that you’re personally looking forward to?
I think the Fair Day on Sunday October 4, which is almost an entire festival in itself. There will be food and markets but above all of that, the day will showcase some incredible local and national talent and give some of the amazing service providers on the Gold Coast a chance to talk about the work that they do. The whole day finishes with a showing of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert in an outdoor cinema.

How hard was it to get insurance for the high heel dash?
PM9 are our event sponsors so the Pride Run really is their event, it’s sitting as an affiliated event in our program, but yes I think it was about three or four different insurance companies that they needed to go to. They finally did get it covered but can you imagine the conversation with the insurance company?

Glitter Festival has been organised with support of the LGBTIQAP community. How important was it to have that input?
I think it was very important. The Arts Centre Gold Coast has generously supplied its infrastructure, we know how to put programs on and we have a marketing department, a programming department, a technical department, if it was going to happen, we’re the kind of beast that can roll it out because that’s what we do on a day-to-day basis, maybe not on this magnitude but that’s only half of it. The other half of it is to make sure we have the support and make sure that we’re getting some stories out as well.

If people only get along to one event, which should it be?
One of my favourite and really important programs you can see is There’s something that I need to tell you and it’s just members of the public telling their stories in seven minute spots. We’re going to hear stories of abuse, we’re going to hear stories about what it was like to come out, we’re going to hear stories of HIV, I know some people whose father is gay and they’re going to tell us what it’s like to be a kid with gay parents, I’m really looking forward to that because I think it’s important to get the conversation started.

Only a Gold Coast local would know … that every 12 months or so there’s a supposed shark sighting in the lake, it never comes to fruition but it always grabs some media attention.

Perk up … Lark Cafe at Main Beach.
Relax … I’m very fortunate because my apartment actually looks out to the Pacific Ocean so my favourite place on the Gold Coast is actually my home.
Indulge …  Bar Chico at Main Beach.
Dine … 
Gemelli Italian at Broadbeach.
Be inspired… 
Federation Walk up to The Spit.


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