Kate Fell, co-creative director, Festival 2018 Gold Coast

my favourite quote, which has become a mantra in the lead-up to the festival, is the joy is in the climb

Hold on to your hats folks, things are about to get next-level across our fine city. With the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games just around the corner (April 4–15, in case you’ve been living under a rock), excitement is buzzing, and it just went up a notch (or ten) with the announcement of the Festival 2018 program, which will feature a spectacular line-up of more than 1000 arts and cultural experiences in more than 28 locations. We had a chat with the festival’s co-creative director Kate Fell about highlights, Holoscenes and home.

Before we get into the huge line-up of events, can you tell us a little bit about Festival 2018 Gold Coast for those who may have missed the memo?
Festival 2018 Gold Coast is 12 action-packed days of free culture celebrating the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. The festival spans the length of the coast, with two main festival sites in Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise.

It really is such an incredible program, from performances by Amy Shark and Yothu Yindi and The Treaty Project to fabulous foodie events, can you tell us about some of the highlights?
There are so many highlights! The Main Stage at Surfers Paradise has 12 huge concerts, with artists from 17 countries – I cant wait to see Young African Commonwealth, hosted by Kweku Mandela with some of the hottest artists coming out of Africa. The Queensland Music Stage at Broadbeach has over 30 of your favourite Queensland bands including The Jungle Giants, Paces, Kate Miller-Heidke plus so many local bands. We have so much on offer for children and families. Plus circus, dance, interactive art….and that is just a taste.

What do you personally consider to be this year’s must-see event?
You definitely have to go see ‘Holoscenes’ – set on Surfers Paradise beach, an enormous aquarium-like tank unpredictably floods with water, engulfing the performer. This Australian premiere will be a stunning performance exploring our relationship with rising seas and connect the everyday actions of individuals to global climate change.

Let’s take a quick step back, how did you get involved with Festival 2018?
I’ve been working with Circa for the last seven years. In late 2015, we were awarded the contract to curate the festival and to program all the different artists and shows in the Gold Coast. I’ve been working on it ever since with an amazing team.

The Gold Coast has previously had a, let’s say, rather ‘ambiguous’ reputation when it comes to culture, how do you think Festival 2018 is changing this perception?
I hope that Gold Coast residents are very proud that 50 percent of the artists involved in this festival are local and that they will be performing alongside national and international artists. We have commissioned many new shows, many of them by Gold Coast artists, and what I love about the work that is being created is that it really responds to this place, and the unique culture that you can find here on the Gold Coast.

Do you think visitors to the Gold Coast will be surprised at what this city has to offer?
The Gold Coast is so much more than the theme parks and beautiful beaches. It has a well-deserved growing reputation for fantastic food, unique arts and cultural experiences, great bars and evolving live music scene.

If you had one wish for the Gold Coast, what would it be?
The city has made some great investments in arts and culture – Bleach* Festival, the new HOTA venue – keep supporting arts in the Gold Coast!

What inspires you?
My children who live life to the absolute fullest.

You’ve been entrenched in the art scene for some time. What are the biggest changes you’ve seen over the past few years?
There has certainly been an increase in artists taking a more entrepreneurial approach to their creative practice. Artists are also taking advantage of the global marketplace – they can base themselves in great places like the Gold Coast but can tour the world.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
I’m loving the advice in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – a must-read…my favourite quote, which has become a mantra in the lead-up to the festival, is the joy is in the climb.


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