The eyes of the sporting world are turning towards the Gold Coast, with the Queensland city hosting the 2018 Commonwealth Games. That's great news if you're a fan of athletes and nations vying for glory — and, while it might not initially seem like it, it's great news for arts and culture lovers too. As well as the expected competitive endeavours, the event will also feature a huge multi-arts festival, called Festival 2018.
First announced last year, Festival 2018 mightn't boast the most exciting name, but it does promise a plethora of exciting programming across 12 days. Taking place from April 4 to 15, the fest will feature more than 1000 arts and cultural experiences, complete with 1440 artists from 50 countries, and including 35 world premieres and 15 Australian premieres.
Highlights include the inflatable labyrinth that is Arboria, which will take over Broadbeach's Kurrawa Park; plus Circa's world-first take on The Rite of Spring, but in circus form; and Dancenorth's 360-degree dance performance Surge. Elsewhere, Yothu Yindi and The Treaty Project will kick off the music offerings, while an evening of African tunes will mark what would've been Nelson Mandela's 100th year, and Courtney Act will host a celebration of LGBTQI pride.
Also on the bill is the Gold Coast's own Amy Shark; the all-female Electric Lady, bringing together Aussie female-fronted acts; Hot Dub Time Machine 's latest stint; the seven-metre-wide, floating moon sculpture that is Museum of the Moon; and Holoscenes, the performance artwork which comes to Australia for the first time after wowing crowds in New York City's Times Square.
Or, attendees can take part in a participatory dance performance featuring hundreds of people; and sing karaoke as they've never experienced it before — via a field of microphones on Surfers Paradise beach. Other standouts include a Champagne party, an extensive food program at Helensvale's NightQuarter, a silent disco tour, a seaside meditation zone and open-air short film screenings showcasing talent from across the Commonwealth.
As previously announced, Kate Miller-Heidke, The Jungle Giants and Mau Power will also feature, as part of a lineup of art, music, theatre, dance and more spanning from from Coomera to Coolangatta. To deliver the massive event, The Festival has joined forces with the existing Bleach* Festival — and will also include satellite events held across the state.
For Brisbanites not heading to the Goldie, that includes free music from Regurgitator, The Preatures, Bob Evans, Kev Carmody, Cheap Fakes, Airling, Major Leagues and more at South Bank's Cultural Centre Forecourt, a screening of Warwick Thornton's Aussie flag-focused doco We Don't Need a Map and the return of La Boite's refugee production The Village.
Image: Dancenorth, Amber Haines