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Brisbane Festival 2016 - Free Events

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by Roy Chambers (subscribe)
Lover of all things interesting and new
Published August 11th 2016
A guide to all the free events at the Brisbane Festival 2016
The Brisbane Festival is a month of theatre, music, dance, opera and circus performance. There are also a range of free public events which culminates in the ever popular Riverfire. This is a guide to all the free events for the Brisbane Festival in 2016.



Riverfire: Along the Brisbane Rive - Sat Sep 24 at 7pm

The big event of the festival calendar is Riverfire. The event starts in the afternoon with Army Helicopters and RAAF Super Hornet jet fighters flying at low level up and down the river. The fireworks themselves kick off at 7 pm.

Riverfire seen from Riverlife
Riverfire seen from Riverlife


Riverfire will feature fireworks up and down the river from Victoria Bridge down to the Story Bridge. The most popular location is South Bank, but it is also the most crowded. The Kangaroo Point Cliffs provides the best views of the whole event. People will also head up to various vantage points such as Mt Coot-tha and High Gate Hill Park.

The crowd gathers in the afternoon on the Kangaroo Point Cliffs
The crowd gathers in the afternoon on the Kangaroo Point Cliffs


If you want to avoid the crowds you can book at spot at one of the many venues that host Riverfire events, such as Riverlife, or even book a spot on a boat on the river itself.

People at Riverlife watching Riverfire
People at Riverlife watching Riverfire


You Should Be Dancing: Queens Park - Sep 3-11, 7pm - 10pm

For the first time in 2016, Queens Park will become a pop-up venue for festival entertainment. You Should Be Dancing lives up to its name in that if you come to this event, you should be dancing.

From 7 to 8 pm you have the opportunity to learn the dances moves, then from 8 to 10 pm there will be a dance show. You will be expected to get up and dance as well.

There will be a variety of dance styles, September 3 while be a a combination of modern styles, September 4 Polka, September p 6 Swing & Jive, September 7 Boot Scooting, September 8 Reggae Style, September 9 Bollywood, September 11 Latin Dancing and on September 11 it will finish with a touch of class as you waltz and promenade.

3D Street Art: South Bank Cultural Forecourt Sep 3-24

Street Artists Jenny McCracken, Dom Intelisano and Amelia Batchelor create 3D illusions using chalk on the pavement at the South Bank Cultural Forecourt.

Street Art Workshops: Arcadia - Cultural Forecourt South Bank Sep 20 - 23 11am to 2pm

These workshops are aimed at kids aged 7-12 will teach the basics of 2D chalk art walk.

Clem Jones City Hall Concerts: Brisbane City Hall: Brisbane City Hall Sep 6-20, Lunch time

The Brisbane City Council has long held free lunch time concerts at the Brisbane City Hall. This will continue during the Brisbane Festival with Folk/Pop Music from All Our Exes Live in Texas, a musical theatre Concert performed by Queensland Conservatorium of Musical Theatre and rock music from Ella Hopper

Details of these events are yet to be published but you should be able to find more information closer to the date on the Brisbane City Council Website.

Kaleidoscope Project: Theatre Republic - QUT Creative Industries Kelvin Grove Sep 6-24

This installation artwork combines photography and the performing arts to create an ever evolving creative journey.

Art From the Margins: Brisbane City Hall - Sandgate & Sherwood Rooms Sep 15-18

This exhibition features works by artists who are experiencing disadvantage and social isolation, including artists who are homeless, have physical or intellectual disabilities or mental health issues.

The concert hall at Brisbane City Hall
The concert hall at Brisbane City Hall


Gender Gaze Photographic Exhibition; Metro Arts Sep 15-24

This annual photography exhibition invites anyone interested in photography to submit original work. This year the theme is Gender.

Gender is on our minds. The gap in gender opportunities and privileges. The shifts in gender roles. The increasing opening up of our understanding of gender identity. How do you see gender in the world around you?

Prizes are awarded in two main categories, school students and open.

Centenaries: Artists Destabilising Irish Histories: Judith Wright Centre - Institute of Modern Art Jul 30 to Oct 8

Celebrating 100 years since the establishment of the Irish Free State, this exhibition looks to challenge the conventional rhetoric around the history of Ireland. With photographic, video and other installations, the exhibition looks to open a dialogue about this time in Ireland's history.

South Bank PinkStallation: South Bank - Stanley Plaza Sep 3-24

You know it is Brisbane Festival time when an odd looking giant pink rabbity thing starts appearing around Brisbane. This year apparently the plan is for it to sit overlooking the top hatted unicycle on a tightrope in Stanely Plaza at South Bank.

The PInkStallation will be at Southbank this year
The PInkStallation will be at Southbank this year


Symphony for Me: Queensland Performing Arts Centre Concert Hall, Sep 23 at 7 pm

The Queensland Symphony Orchestra will perform a free concert at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre Concert Hall featuring orchestral music chosen by the public. That is right, you have the opportunity until August 12 to submit your choice of music to play.

QPAC will hold a free concert during the festival
QPAC will hold a free concert during the festival


Those selected will have their music played but also be invited on stage to discuss why they chose this piece and what it meant to them. Maybe it was something from a film, a piece remembered as a kid or perhaps it is linked to some important event n their life.

Photo courtesy of the Brisbane Festival
Photo courtesy of the Brisbane Festival


Tickets are free and will be released on Monday September 5 at 9 am. Last year all the tickets were snapped up in 27 minutes.

Festival Conversations: Queens Park Sep 4 -11 Midday

To break down the barriers between audience and artist the Brisbane Festival will be holding a series of public talks in Queens Park next to the Treasury Casino & Hotel (with one talk at the Brisbane Powerhouse).

Topics include
- The Record Label
- Snow White & The Little Mermaid
- Taking Part
- Irish Rebellion
- Festival Oration

You will need to register online to attend.
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Why? Everyone likes free style
Where: Various locations around South Bank and Brisbane City
Cost: Free
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