South East Queenslanders – particularly Gold Coasters – are certainly spoilt for choice when it comes to festivals in 2018. Check out some of these epic announcements.
Woodford Folk Festival
27 December – 1 January
Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know Woodford isn’t a Gold Coast event, but seriously, it’s only a 2hr drive up the road, plus there’s no other festival like it in Australia. Partly due to its sheer size, but also due to its eclectic programming, Woodford Folk Festival is a bucketlist festival of epic proportions. What started as a community folk festival in Maleny has grown to be one of the biggest folk festivals in the world, attracting hundreds of thousands of people to the Sunshine Coast hinterland every year. This year’s event, which runs 27 December – 1 January is no different. The international lineup includes artists from Canada, USA, Ireland, UK, Japan, Sweden and Iceland. They join 350 local acts including Kate Miller-Heidke, Hollow Coves, Sue Ray, Dubmarine, Afro Dizzi Act, John Butler, Mama Kin Spender, Baker Boy, Birdz, The Babe Rainbow, Caravana Sun, Leah Flanagan, POW! Negro and Holy Holy. Now in its 32nd year, the event also incudes an incredible array of hands-on workshops covering dance, creativity and art as well as a full speakers’ program covering the environment, Indigenous issues, humanitarian response, science and ageing.
The light rail extension to Helensvale opened in December and to celebrate, NightQuarter is throwing a party. The Interchange Festival will see the old world meet the new with nods to heritage railway culture as well as the city’s growing arts and cultural community. ‘Interchange Festival’ celebrates the fact that the transit centre at Helensvale will be Australia’s only single multi-modal transport hub with bus, passenger rail and tram interchange when the light rail is connected. There’ll be two large brass bands roving through the precinct as well as busking stations (featuring the world’s most famous busker, Juzzie Smith) as a homage to busking culture which has grown around rail stations, and a trackless train running through NightQuarter with free rides for kids.
Ozfest is one of the City’s favourite one day Festivals and in 2018 organisers have called in the help of Australia’s all-time party crew, hip-hop collective One Day. While these guys roll out the party tunes on Miami Shark Bar’s rooftop carpark, the venue’s indoor spaces will play host to punk and indie bands while the Hottest 100 entertains between sets. The live lineup includes Polish Club, punk legends Cosmic Psychos, WA’s Psychedelic Porn Crumpets plus Rackett, Pandamic, IVEY, Peach Fur, Bad Pony, Dangerpenny and Beddy Rays. Tickets are via Oztix and come in at just $30 for first release, but this is a very limited capacity event, so you might wanna hustle.
Under the Southern Stars
It’s a rock royalty roll-call at Broadwater Parklands next February. This brand new, one-day summer festival is rolling out the red carpet for none other than Jimmy Barnes. The man has had more number one albums than any other Australian artist and been inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame. Twice. He’ll be joined by Ian Moss, Tex Perkins, Diesel, Richard Clapton, Ash Grunwald and The Rich and Famous. Tickets via Ticketmaster.
29 March – 2 April
Byron Bay Bluesfest is synonymous with Byron Bay and its culture. The internationally acclaimed event has taken out more awards than you can poke a stick at. Helpman Awards, Greener Festival Awards, Australian Event Awards, Business Excellence Awards and Australian Festival of the Year Award at Canadian Music Week. Given that the event attracts an audience of over 100,000 people as well as providing camping for 6000 and its eclectic programming is renowned across Australia’s music industry, the awards don’t really come as a surprise. This will be the 29th annual event and the lineup is bigger than ever. Artists as diverse as Kesha, Asgier, Canned Heat, Gomez, Sheryl Crow, Robert Plant, Lionel Richie, Harts, John Butler Trio, Melissa Etheridge, Morcheeba, Seal, Tash Sultana, The Teskey Brothers and Ziggy Alberts make up the five-day lineup. And if you’re still undecided, you should know that the stunning venue for Bluesfest is a tea-tree farm, complete with honey-making bees and a koala population that keeps the organisation’s social responsibility charter humming. Plus, it’s only a 45 minute drive from Burleigh.
29 March – 15 April
As usual, Bleach* Festival 2018 will deliver a cutting-edge program of performance theatre, music and unexpected experiences. What’s different about the 2018 event is its connection to Festival 2018 as well as the influx of international guests visiting the City for the Commonwealth Games. While the Festival doesn’t release its full program until 29 January it has released details of its opening night celebration, which will take place at Bond University. Melbourne Ska Orchestra and Mighty Duke and the Lords will get the 18-day party started in true ska fashion. Stay tuned to blankgc.com.au for the program announcement soon. You don’t want to miss the Gold Coast’s signature arts and culture event, right?
4 – 15 April
When people flock to the Gold Coast for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, it won’t just be athletic prowess on show. A 12-day program of arts and culture will take place at the same time featuring highly acclaimed contemporary music, Indigenous music and art as well as dance and physical theatre. In partnership with Bleach* Festival, Festival 2018 will spill out onto the streets an artists will be part of the entertainment around Games venues. Kate Miller-Heidke, Thursday Island rapper Mau Power, Austen, The Jungle Giants and Karl S Williams have been revealed as the Festival’s first confirmed artists with the full program due in early February. This month, organisers also revealed a partnership with NightQuarter which will see the Helensvale venue deliver ten days of food and music during the event.
Surfers Paradise LIVE
3 – 6 May
Surfers Paradise will cement its reputation as one of Australia’s ultimate event destinations with rock royalty Daryl Braithwaite, Kate Ceberano and Jon Stevens announced as headline acts for the fourth annual Surfers Paradise LIVE music festival. The free, family-friendly festival will appeal to a very broad array of musical tastes, with the high-octane Justice Crew and 2013 X-Factor Australia winner Reece Mastin also confirmed to headline the Friday night. The event will also consolidate its relationship with Gold Coast Music Awards with the two partners working even closer to promote local talent included in the lineup.
Blues on Broadbeach
17 – 20 May
Without a doubt one of the city’s biggest cultural events, Blues on Broadbeach has grown to attract international artists with serious street cred as well as some of Australia’s favourite acts. The 2018 festival, sees the four-day festival bring five international acts to the Gold Coast, to perform alongside a treasure trove of national and local talent. The Robert Cray Band (USA), The Screaming Jets, Backsliders, Lloyd Siegel, Jon Stevens (who’ll perform at The Star Gold Coast), Eilen Jewell (USA), Charlie A’Court (Canada) and Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds (USA) are all on the bill, alongside Gold Coast musicians, Karl S Williams, Mason Rack Band, Benny D Williams and Hell and Whisky. Best of all? It’s entirely free. Aaaaaand, there’s a heap of other acts yet to be announced.
Groundwater Country Music Festival
27 – 29 July
Australia’s fastest growing music festival is now known as Groundwater Country Music Festival. Known as Broadbeach Country Music Festival for the past five years, the event has grown its attendance figures by 77% in just the past year with more than 55,000 punters fronting up. And while Groundwater Country Music Festival says it will “stay true to its country roots” we know it’s already following current music trends and blurring the lines in its programming of contemporary country and diverse genres. Applications to perform are open right now and close 1 February which means a lineup announcement ain’t too far away either.