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Ten Events to Flock to at This Year's Valley Fiesta

Hop between pinball sessions, rooftop parties and more during this year's five-day festival.
By Sarah Ward
August 27, 2018

Ten Events to Flock to at This Year's Valley Fiesta

Hop between pinball sessions, rooftop parties and more during this year's five-day festival.
By Sarah Ward
August 27, 2018


Hop between pinball sessions, rooftop parties and more during this year's five-day festival.

It has been 22 years since the Valley Fiesta first turned Fortitude Valley's live music scene into a weekend-long street party — and, returning for its annual spin across August 29 to September 2, it's bigger and better than ever. From live music to boozy shindigs to learning to dance in the middle of the Brunswick Street mall, the event's 2018 lineup is packed with things to do. Outdoor gigs, a light-filled art showcase and a special focus on active activities designed to get punters moving beyond making shapes and tapping their toes are all on the bill as well.

Indeed, the area around Brunswick, Wickham and Ann streets is the place to be across five massive days, but if you're a little overwhelmed for choice, we're here to help. Add these ten top happenings to your Fiesta itinerary, and prepare for a busy stint of Valley revelry.

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    Fancy a few stints at the flippers during Valley Fiesta, but don’t quite possess the skills? Pinball is a game that looks easy, but can be downright frustrating if you’re struggling to find your button-mashing rhythm — which is where Netherworld‘s experts come in.

    If you’re going to run a retro-style gaming and arcade bar, then you’re going to staff it with folks who know their stuff. And, with pinball lovers happy to share their talents with the masses. Just mosey on by from 5–9pm on Thursdays, August 30, where the venue’s experts will teach you their tricks — for free, including a few games on the house.

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    Neanderthal Tequila Fiesta

    Pop-up tequila bars and tequila cocktails on tap are both on the menu at Woolly Mammoth from 9pm on Thursday, August 30, all as part of the Ann Street spot’s Neanderthal Tequila Fiesta. It in turn forms part of this year’s Valley Fiesta, so consider it a party within a party.

    A live Mariachi band will unleash their festive sounds between 9.30–11.30pm, with DJs keeping the beats going afterwards — and, to ensure that all of the tequila isn’t too harsh on everyone’s stomachs, there’ll be nacho specials. Actually, because the whole thing falls on a Thursday night, there’ll also be free wings with every drink between 9–11pm. To add to all of the above, general entry is free as well.

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    The Ironing Maidens

    Spending your Friday night in a laundromat isn’t most people’s idea of a good time. Understandably so, but let The Ironing Maidens convince you otherwise. You won’t be doing any washing or drying from 8pm on August 31 — rather, you’ll be catching an electronic music performance that’s based around housework, complete with on-theme advertising samples, actual laundry sounds and lyrics that probe gender roles.

    The Ironing Maidens have won awards, toured local and international festivals, and generally wowed crowds by using ironing boards as instruments — and now they’re hitting up the Central Valley Laundromat on Wickham Street. It’s part of the Valley Fiesta, and it’s in line with their latest tour (which, as you might’ve guessed, only involves places where you’d normally wait for your clothes to finish their spin cycle).

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    Heathers: An 80s Dance Party

    Put down your croquet mallet, plaster on your best game show host smile and grab a slushie: it’s Heathers‘ dance party time, again. As part of Valley Fiesta, the fun-loving folks at Black Bear Lodge are celebrating one of the most very films of the ’80s once more, and the whole decade in general of course. Big hair, blazers with shoulder pads and giant red scrunchies are a must. Complaining about everyone you know called Heather — that’s optional.

    Whether you channel your inner Veronica or JD, or broaden your remit to other cult flicks of the era, you certainly won’t lack in fashion inspiration in what will definitely be a night of big fun. The party’s DJs won’t lack in ace retro tracks to spin, either, for this free shindig that starts at 11pm on Friday, August 31.

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    Common People Dance Project

    Brisbanites, you’d best kick off your Friday and Saturday shoes — it’s time to get footloose on the dance floor. As part of Valley Fiesta, the Brunswick Street Mall is hosting free hour-long dance classes on August 31 and September 1. If you’ve always wanted to boogie your way through a public space, this is your chance.

    Held between 8–9pm each evening, the sessions are all about being comfortable and not feeling self-conscious. It’s exactly what it sounds like: an inclusive class for everyone, with all skill levels welcome. Throw on whatever helps you move freely and unleash your best steps. It’s free, bookings aren’t required, and it’s all going down in the middle of the mall — to a fitting retro soundtrack.

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    RIDE - Backbone Youth Arts

    When you’re heading out to see a show, you might hop in your own car, wait to get picked up by a mate or call an Uber. Whichever transport option you choose, it’s usually just a means to an end. That’s not the case with RIDE by Backbone Youth Arts. You’ll still have to make your way into Fortitude Valley for this Valley Fiesta performance, but once you’re there, you’ll be jumping back into a vehicle and driving around town.

    An hour-long show that’s taking place at 6.30pm, 7.45pm and 8.45 pm on Friday, August 31 and Saturday, September 1, RIDE really is exactly what it sounds like — you’ll ride around as part of the production, which involves searching for a big party. It all starts with a text message telling you to meet the driver in a secret location. Then, you’ll get picked up, listen to music, talk, dance, sing and see where the show takes you. And, obviously, we mean the last part literally. Tickets cost $20 for what sounds like a performance like no other, and groups of four can book if you’d like to experience the fun with your pals.

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    Valley Fiesta Silent Disco

    Come Saturday, September 1, one of Fortitude Valley’s favourite pubs will become a huge dance floor — but, unless you’re out there making shapes yourself, you won’t be able to hear it. Yes, it’s silent disco time as part of this year’s Valley Fiesta, and the Pig ‘n’ Whistle on Brunswick Street is doing the energetic yet quiet honours.

    Of course, if you’re one of the 200 folks wearing headphones and stepping out under the lights, things will be rather loud. The fancy footwork runs from 8–11pm, with the $30 + booking fee tickets including a Red Bull cocktail on arrival.

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    The Elephant Hotel's 130th Birthday Party

    What a difference 130 years can make. Back in August of 1888, the final bricks were laid on The Prince Consort Hotel. Now, after weathering many a change over many a decade, the place now known as The Elephant is throwing a Valley Fiesta party to commemorate their huge longevity.

    Saying that it’s going to be quite the gathering is probably one of the understatements of the venue’s century-plus of operation, so prepare for a wild night whooping it up in heritage-listed confines from 8pm on Saturday, September 1. Alter Egos, Bris182, Mashmouth and more will take care of the live music, with DJs spinning tunes until the soiree stops at 3am. Plus, all The Elephant’s usual drinks, meals and revelry will be on offer. Remember, you only celebrate an iconic pub’s 130th birthday once.

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    Workout Wine Down

    Held by the folks at Sweat Social, with the class itself taught by Tyler Eve, Workout Wine Down will have you stretching through a yoga class then sipping boozy beverages. You’ll certainly be in the right place for the latter, with the session taking place at Cloudland.

    On the bill at this year’s Valley Fiesta, the event hits the Ann Street bar from 12.30–3.30pm on Sunday, September 2 — and, even better, attendance is free. You will need to register in advance, however, and bring your wallet for the tipple part of the afternoon.

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    4ZZZ Rooftop Oasis Party

    When this year’s Valley Fiesta comes to a close, it’ll do so with live tunes on a Chinatown rooftop. To finish up the 2018 with a big ol’ bang, 4ZZZ are letting the masses onto 31 Duncan Street’s upper level for one massive blowout from 2pm on Sunday, September 2.

    Gabriella Cohen, Sweater Curse, Whalehouse and The Ancient Bloods will be doing the musical honours, rocking on through until 6pm in what promises to be quite the Sunday session. And, because this little shindig is called the 4ZZZ Rooftop Oasis Party, it’ll be tropical-themed with lilos, palm trees and tiny umbrellas. Entry is free, but bring some cash to grab a bev from the bar — it’ll be raising money for 4ZZZ and Backbone Youth Arts.

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