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Blown your Brisbane Festival budget already? We’ve got you, doll!
This September, Brisbane Festival lights up the city across three jam-packed weeks of celebration, wonder and delight. From circus treats and physical feats to a picnic under the moon, a collection of free activities and experiences await you to enjoy.
See below for our must-do free Festival events so you can keep celebrating September in champagne style (while pinching those pennies).
RIVERFIRE BY AUSTRALIAN RETIREMENT TRUST | Saturday 3rd September, from 4pm
Mark your diary for the most spectacular night of the year as Riverfire by Australian Retirement Trust heralds the start of Brisbane Festival. The skies light up as Foti Fireworks launches a stunning pyrotechnics display across Brisbane. For key timings, vantage points and fast facts, see here.
JUMOO | TBA
Under the creative direction and Custodianship of Tribal Experiences Managing Director and Yuggera and Turrbal man Shannon Ruska, this smoking ceremony cleanses and connects to Country to lead Festival-goers peacefully and respectfully into September. Jumoo is performed at BOQ Festival Garden by the First People of Brisbane who have occupied this country for more than 65,000 years.
DANCE HALLS | Friday 2nd — Saturday 24th September
Global talent. Irresistible music. Festoons and fan-dancing. Torch songs and hot moves. Dance Halls celebrates the beauty of our community under tingling lights and velvet drapes, infused with disco fever! Led by the unstoppable creators, Finucane & Smith, community members can come along and watch at eight community centres across Brisbane or dust off their dancing shoes and get involved.
BRISBANE SERENADES | Saturday 10th — Saturday 24th September (Various Locations)
A program of bespoke concerts, celebrations and gatherings traverses the river to reach the North, South, East and West of the city. The bold Brisbane program brings the suburbs alive, and places them centre stage. From smooth jazz at Manly Harbour and pumping beats at Zillmere to a block party at Moorooka and a roller rink at Milton, there’s something (and somewhere) to get everyone shimmying.
EPHEMERAL | Friday 2nd — Saturday 24th September
Much like the finite nature of a delicate, mesmerising bubble, our lives are lived in a permanent state of impermanence. This immersive light and sound environment explores the concept of ephemerality — that of fleeting existence. By sunshine or by moonlight, visitors to BOQ Festival Garden can experience the magic and snap a picture inside Ephemeral.
MUSEUM OF THE MOON | Friday 2nd — Sunday 11th September
The first in a series of three awe-inspiring large-scale installations by Luke Jerram at West Village, Museum of the Moon is a fusion of lunar imagery, moonlight and surround sound. Experience the majesty of the moon like you’ve never seen before.
EEPHUS & SUDO’S FUNDERDOME | Friday 2nd — Saturday 24th September
A playful reimagining of the classic video game arcade, this Metro Arts exhibition transforms the gallery into an interactive space filled with eccentric games and friendly monsters. Alongside fellow humans and virtual monsters, Tara Pattenden invites you to play the digital attractions in unexpected and collaborative ways.
THE POOL | Tuesday 6th — Saturday 24th September
The Pool, created by New York artist Jen Lewin, comprises 100 concentric circles that swirl with colour when activated by touch, inviting visitors to jump, dance and play across the cosmos. Originally built for Burning Man, the installation has travelled to over 60 exhibition venues in more than 20 countries since 2008 and is located at BOQ Festival Garden.
LORD MAYOR’S CITY HALL CONCERTS | Tuesday 6th, 13th and 20th September, 12pm
Across three weeks, Brisbane City Council proudly presents a special series of free lunchtime concerts. A lively and entertaining selection of the most evocative and treasured songs from across a variety of genres navigate a rich and vibrant atmosphere for both the heart and mind by the power of orchestral song.
GAIA | Tuesday 13th — Sunday 18th September
See the Earth as if from space; an incredibly beautiful and precious place that needs our care. Gaia is the second in Luke Jerram’s The Planet Series of large-scale installations at West Village.
MARS | Tuesday 20th — Saturday 24th September
The final piece in The Planet Series, Luke Jerram’s Mars allows us to view the red planet as though we are a satellite mapping and studying the surface in perfect detail. Every valley, crater, volcano and mountain is laid bare for us to see. Measuring seven metres in diameter, the artwork incorporates detailed NASA imagery of the Martian surface.