Yothu Yindi and The Cat Empire set the scene for Festival 2018 last night for what will be a first for the Gold Coast. Eleven days and nights of next-level entertainment on an enormous stage right on our world-famous Surfers Paradise beach.
And this ain’t no usual festival, either. With a focus on casting light on the culture and voices of Commonwealth nations, Festival 2018’s Surfers Paradise stage is a feast for the senses every night. And of course, it’s not just the on-stage action that will draw crowds to the beach. There’s public art, pop-up theatre, sing-a-longs and participatory installations happening all day and well into the night. Srsly, something for people of all ages.
But the on-stage Festival 2018 program – years in the making – is both eclectic and world-class. There’s jungle grooves from New Zealand’s kings of dub, some of Africa’s leading DJs and vocalists, artists from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and an explosion of beats from Belize and the Torres Strait.
Festival 2018 in Surfers Paradise – highlights:
Magnifika Pacifika, 8 April
When you’ve played more than 200 festivals in 25 years, you probably know a thing or two about getting the party started. So dust off the dancing shoes (or leave them at home, you’re on the beach) as Salmonella Dub celebrate their 25th anniversary with an iconic back-catalogue mash-up. And if that’s not enough to get you moving, Tiki Taane and Maori songstress Whirimako Black will bring jungle grooves to Festival 2018 with Mike Cooper also performing a live soundtrack to the sublime film ‘White Shadows in the South Seas’
Young African Commonwealth, 11 April
Join Nelson Mandela’s grandson Kweku Mandela as he hosts an insane lineup of African music to celebrate his grandfather’s 100th birthday at Festival 2018. Some of the continent’s best young bands, vocalists and DJs, including Spoek Mathambo will show you why Africa has led the evolution of music across the globe and how Mandela made that possible.
The Spirit of Churaki, 12 April
Discover the story of Aboriginal man Churaki, the Gold Coast’s first surf lifesaver. Set to evocative visuals and combining traditional ceremony , ancient sounds of Traditional language and compelling musical theatre, it’s an epic production. Starring Brian Ritchie (Violent Femmes), Kyle Slabb, Fred Leone and Leah Flanagan as well as a massive lineup of legendary Australian musicians, this is one of those performances you’ll regret missing.
Ecstatic, 13 April
The spiritual traditions of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will be explored with music, film and performance in an odyssey far beyond the ordinary. This major gig, described as “wildly original, passionate and dangerous” is led by world-music legend Susheela Raman (pictured in feature image).
The Big Bang, 14 April
A massive explosion of beats, rhythms, drums and energy hits Surfers Paradise with ‘The Big Bang’. As well as local percussion group Circle of Rhythm, you’ll see Garifuna Collective perform their first Australian show (featuring Umalali from Belize) to deliver a hypnotic blend of ancient and modern sounds. Indigenous super-group Yarwah also joins the lineup, with Didjeridu performer Tjupurru, Torres Strait Islander snowman Chris Tamwoy and beatboxing sensation Tom Thum also on the bill.
Need more Festival 2018 goodness?
>> Here’s our top picks for contemporary music programming
>> Here’s our favourite international acts across the Festival 2018 program
>> And here’s the insanely talented women performing as part of Festival 2018
There’s music on every night at the Surfers Paradise stage for Festival 2018. Get across the full program at the GC2018 website.