Festival 2018: biggest festival Gold Coast has ever seen

Festival 2018, Gold Coast

yugambehWe already knew that when the Commonwealth Games hits town in April there’d be an arts and culture program. The city’s creative leaders have been talking about it for years. What we didn’t know was that it would be the biggest cultural festival the city has ever seen.

Festival 2018 will run 4 – 15 April, alongside the Commonwealth Games, spilling out onto beaches and waterways, taking over streets and outdoor spaces, delivering roving performances and entertaining outside stadiums.

The 12 day program includes some 160 events, with more than 1000 performances across 28 venues with 35 world premieres, 15 Australian premieres and 20 Indigenous works.

The program includes a full Childrens’ Festival in Kurrawa Park, Broadbeach; a world-class lineup of music across stages in Broadbeach and Surfers as well as contemporary dance, Indigenous art, visual and public art installations, theatre and circus as well as film and food.

On the music front, Yothu Yindi, Peaches, Kev Carmody, Amy Shark, The Cat Empire, Bullhorn, Kate Miller-Heidke, Confidence Man, Salmonella Dub, Wilson Pickers, PACES, Busby Marou, The Jungle Giants all have gigs for Festival 2018. They’re joined by the City’s own rising stars in the form of Hanlon Brothers, Tijuana Cartel, Karl S Williams, Hussy Hicks, Felicity Lawless, Black Rabbit George, Moreton, Electrik Lemonade, Lastlings, Bobby Alu, Eliza and the Delusionals, Ella Fence and Aquila Young – among others – who’ll fly the flag for Gold Coast music with aplomb. It’s an eclectic musical offering, dishing up indie rock, country, hip-hop, electronica and funk.

Indigenous works and collaborations feature heavily. Yothu Yindi and the Treaty Project sees Yothu Yindi reunited with Gavin Campbell, founding member of seminal remix producers Filthy Lucre for an exclusive Queensland performance. The much anticipated World Premiere of ‘The Spirit of Churaki’, commissioned and produced by Bleach Festival and City of Gold Coast will also take place on Surfers Paradise Beach as part of the program.

Churaki was the Gold Coast’s first lifesaver and an epic production starring Brian Ritchie (Violent Femmes), Kyle Slabb, Fred Leone and Leah Flanagan tells his story through the ancient sounds of Aboriginal language and compelling musical theatre in a World Premiere on Surfers Paradise Beach. ‘Gathering’ will celebrate the oldest living culture through traditional song, dance and storytelling. ‘ ‘Gauri’ will bring Aboriginal creation stories to life through dance, music, puppetry and text and Freya Carmichael and Lisa Sorbie-Martin will create a large-scale woven installation celebrating water and its role in sustaining and replenishing life. Kev Carmody, Emily Wurramura, Baker Boy, Mau Power and Chris Tamwoy are also on the lineup.

Surfers Paradise plays host to the Australian premiere of ‘Holoscene’, fresh from mesmerising crowds in New York City’s Times Square. Each five hour show sees a lone performer in an aquarium-like tank that unpredictably floods. Submerged for up to three minutes at a time, performers are forced to adapt to the rapid rise and fall of water as they carry out everyday tasks. And children of all ages will love ‘Impulse’ – 15 illuminated musical see-saws forming an interactive art playground on Surfers Paradise Beach. Punters will become musicians and artists as they take a ride and use their movement and rhythm to activate lights and sounds of the see-saw.


The Roundabout Stage in Broadbeach will see World Premieres of contemporary dance, circus and theatre as well as physical theatre in the form of ‘Mallakhambindia’ – a mix of wrestling, gymnastics and aerial yoga that takes place on large, wooden, vertical poles.

And it’s not just tourist hubs delivering program highlights: Mudgeeraba, Palm Beach, Currumbin, Helensvale, Southport, Burleigh and Nerang also host Festival events.

More than a quarter of the programmed acts are from the Gold Coast.

If you missed tickets to the Games opening ceremony, you may actually be in luck. Not only will the opening ceremony be screened on the beach at Surfers Paradise, it will be preceded by a performance by Yothu Yindi and the Treaty Project and followed by The Cat Empire live. And if that’s not enough to kickstart your festival experience, the following night (5 April), none other than Peaches joins a stellar lineup of musical talent to perform some of Australia’s most loved anthems, ballads and love songs.

And that really is just the beginning. Every night and every day, on stages in Surfers, Broadbeach and beyond, some of the world’s most talented musicians, performers and artists will enthrall and entertain. For free. If you’re not too fussed about sport, this is just the news you’ve been waiting for.

Festival 2018 takes place 4 – 15 April and the full program is available at gc2018.com/festival2018. Many festival acts have been commissioned or co-curated by Bleach* Festival.

Bleach* Festival has also announced its program, some of which forms part of Festival 2018. Get the low-down here. 

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