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Fire Gardens — CANCELLED

The immersive 'Fire Gardens' installation will take over the inner-city spot for four fiery nights.
By Sarah Ward
August 26, 2019
By Sarah Ward
August 26, 2019

UPDATE: SEPTEMBER 14, 2019 — Brisbane Festival's Fire Gardens installation has been cancelled due to the extension of Brisbane's total fire ban, with ticketholders due to receive refunds. You can read more about the bushfires and the festival's decision over here.


Come September, one of the most peaceful patches of the CBD will become the most fiery. Don't worry, it's only temporary. Already a hit everywhere from Stonehenge to The Kremlin to Melbourne, French art collective Compagnie Carabosse is bringing its acclaimed Fire Gardens to town as part of this year's Brisbane Festival.

While the full Brisbane Festival program features plenty of other fun, this sprawling — and suitably glowing — installation is worth getting hot and bothered about (in a good way, of course). For the four nights between Wednesday, September 18 and Saturday, September 21, Fire Gardens will take over the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens in Alice Street, filling the Gardens Point spot with thousands of fire pots, sculptures and terracotta urns. Pathways will be illuminated, burning pyres will sit in trees, huge spheres will roar and crackle with flames, and structures will be set alight in the middle of ponds. The installation will also take visitors through a blazing maze-like realm, and feature luminous animatronic sculptures.

Given that the group has been starting fires professionally for more than 20 years, Compagnie Carabosse knows what it's doing — not only when it comes to safely cloaking a huge expanse of grass, plants and trees in flames, but in tapping into humanity's innate fondness for and primal attraction to fire. This isn't just about watching things burn, obviously, with a mysterious soundtrack boosting the mood and allure. Expect live musicians performing French music, adding to the radiant ambience.

More than 40,000 people are expected to make their way through the huge work, so nabbing a ticket in advance is recommended sooner rather than later. Prices will rise from $25 to $33 the longer they're available, with the cheapest options put up first. Once you've nabbed your spot, blaze-loving Brisbanites can enter at five times each night — in half-hour blocks from 6–8.30pm — and once you're inside, you can stay until close at 9.30pm.

Although Fire Gardens has popped up around the world, this iteration will be crafted specifically for the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens. That means that you really won't see anything like it anywhere else. And, of course, you haven't seen the gardens set on fire before anyway.

Images: Sylvie Monier, Regina Marcenkiene and Vincent Muteau.

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