Brisbane Festival announce epic 2021 program filled with live favourites

Homegrown heroes and national icons are set to light up Brisbane stages this September as part of Brisbane Festival 2021.

From acoustic to electronica, symphony to swing, rock to baroque and every genre in between, there are an abundance of tasty live music treats locked in.

The 2021 program is stacked with a variety of shows for all live entertainment fans. From immersive and out of the box performance pieces like Restless Dream and Betty Grumble’s Enemies of Grooviness Eat Shit to unforgettable gigs from Jarryd James, Boy & Bear, and more.

Brisbane Festival Artistic Director Louise Bezzina says this year’s Brightly Brisbane program was designed to fill the city with music and joy and get people up and dancing again.

One of the things I felt most nostalgic for during the COVID restrictions of 2020 was the ability to come together, and celebrate. The joyous, basic human desire to move freely – to tap your toes, shimmy in your seat or bop to the beat – is at the heart of Brisbane Festival’s 2021 live music program and fingers crossed we will be able to dance in the streets of Brisbane.

Louise Bezzina, Brisbane Festival Artistic Director

So what planned for Brisbane Festival 2021? Let’s dig in!

Brisbane Festival 2021

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Betty Grumble’s Enemies of Grooviness Eat Shit

BETTY GRUMBLE // Sex Clown Saves The World Tease #1

Your lovingly local hysterical heretic and person of interest Betty Grumble is back with her new offering, Enemies of Grooviness Eat Sh!t, a deep dive into grief, pleasure and justice.

Grumble continues her quest for world-saving and lovemaking via our ancestors of rock ‘n’ roll, poetry and protest in this all-singing, all-howling cabaret du Sex Clown. This is the show she performs instead of an assassination, where laughter is sharpened to a blade, and the body, a feeling tonic.

Blak Day Out

Blak Day Out brings together some of the deadliest musicians in an epic one-day event. From throw blak’s to the pop matriarchs Shakaya to the new kids on the block The Ancient Bloods to the something beats of Dameeeela – this event is a celebration Blak excellence. 

Co-curated by Alethea Beetson and Jhindu-Pedro from Blak Social, Blak Day Out is all about reclaiming space in the music industry to celebrate sovereignty, music and community. 

Lineup (more to be announced):
The Ancient Bloods


The Stitchery Collective and Shandy Party have decided to embark on a collective imagining of utopia. We’re coming together to bring you a space emancipated from the out-dated shackles of expectations and prejudice around our gender, sexuality and bodies. Imagine a space where, for one evening, cis-het norms are discarded and we step together into a glitteringly queer multiverse filled with love, acceptance and wild dancing.

Boy & Bear

Boy & Bear – 3 Moons (Official Video)

Celebrated for their unique sound, rich harmonies, and trademark warmth and charisma, Boy & Bear will make a first-time appearance at Brisbane Festival this year. Audiences can expect them to deliver the musicianship and connection that their live audiences have come to love throughout their career.

Client Liaison

Client Liaison – House Of Holy (Official Audio)

Client Liaison are back in business and ready to reboot their new era.  Monte Morgan and Harvey Miller have spent the few years since the release of their debut album Diplomatic Immunity spreading the word of Client Liaison here and abroad.

The album reached No.15 at the ARIA chart and saw the pair take their acclaimed live show everywhere from The Falls to Groovin’ the Moo to Splendour in the Grass with special guest Tina Arena. Now, with their second album Divine Intervention ready to be unleashed, it is time to enter a new era of Client Liaison.



If Blade Runner 2049 had a club, COLLARwould be the house band. It’s industrial, it’s gothic, it’s electronic, and it’s live set toes the line between a grungy, dystopian rave and electrifying art installation. COLLAR is a way to give light to the things that shadow us, in order to be comfortable in our unrest.

House of Alexander Ball

The Alexander Ball 2021 – hosted by Meanjin’s pioneering ballroom house, House of Alexander – brings the highly anticipated LGBTQIA+ event of the year that is a celebration of ballroom culture, a chronically under-appreciated but fundamental part of queer subcultures. 

A symbiosis of different artistic and cultural practices, The Alexander Ball creates a safe space and provides an opportunity for queer persons of colour to fully express themselves and showcase their talents on the runway through eight different categories. 

Jarryd James

Jarryd James – Don't Forget (Official Video)

Launching the recently refurbished Princess Theatre is platinum-selling, ARIA Award-winning Jarryd James, with his first Brisbane show since putting out his critically acclaimed new album PM. He has had more than 480 million streams, an ARIA top 5 album, two triple platinum-selling singles and has the 4th most Shazamed song in Australia over the last decade.

Co-produced by James, the album was recorded in studios in Los Angeles, Nicaragua, Brisbane, Auckland and New York with Jarryd playing all the instruments on the record.

Jess Hitchcock – Songs That Made Me

Paul Kelly & Jess Hitchcock – Every Day My Mother's Voice (Live At The Domain, Sydney / 2019)

In Songs that Made Me, Jess Hitchcock performs a collection of songs that explore and celebrate her impressive rise to fame.

Following her award-winning opera performance in The Rabbits, Hitchcock has been touring with Kate Miller-Heidke, and in 2019 performed with her at the Eurovision song contest in Israel. In the same year she collaborated with Paul Kelly on his Making Gravy tour, leading to the release of their track, ‘Everyday My Mother’s Voice’. From her roots as a jazz singer, Hitchcock takes us on a journey exploring musical theatre and opera, country and folk, jazz and pop. 

Marlon Williams

Marlon Williams – Devil's Daughter (Live at Magic Radio)

New Zealand’s Marlon Williams possesses one of the greatest voices of his generation. His effortlessly distinctive tone and heartstring-plucking vibrato have garnered widespread love around the world.

Williams draws on folk and country traditions – often compared to Leonard Cohen, Roy Orbison and Elvis – but what makes Williams so special is his unique ability to traverse genres on both his award-winning records, and in his famously captivating live shows. 

An Evening With… is Williams first solo tour in six years, and captures his most loved songs, new material, and both original and traditional the reo Māori Waiata. 

Princess Housewarming Party

It’s time to give a royal welcome to Brisbane’s newest-oldest music and arts space, The Princess Theatre.

This September the doors of The Princess will be kicked back open for ‘Housewarming’, an exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime party to celebrate the revitalisation of Queensland’s oldest-standing theatre. Guests will be treated to a smorgasbord of Brisbane’s finest artistic talent, with over 20 artists taking over the space for a night full of music and incredible art. 

Keep your eyes peeled for some very special lineup news coming soon.

Restless Dream

Restless Dream is a is an innovative musical collaboration of contemporary music, traditional Kamilaroi language and spoken word. 

It’s a collaboration between Kamilaroi elder Uncle Bob Weatherall, Brisbane band Halfway, Digi Youth Arts and Alethea Beetson to create an immersive performance experience blending cinematic musical scores, dance and stunning visual elements from Country, and reflects Uncle Bob’s efforts to repatriate Ancestral remains.

Aboriginal ancestral remains and sacred objects are scattered across the globe, in museums both overseas and in Australia. It is a held belief that the spirits of these people cannot rest. It is a slow, difficult process bringing these remains back to their communities of origin, back to Country.


Sheppard – M.I.A. (Official Music Video BTS)

When we think of Brisbane family bands, Sheppard – known best for their hit songs ‘Geronimo’, ‘Symphony’ and ‘Coming Home’ – are one of the first that come to mind.

Boasting more than 740 million streams, undertaking massive world tours, and stacking up top 10 hits around the globe – they have well and truly cemented themselves as a musical force.

With their third album, Kaleidoscope Eyes, in hand, the trio are set to have another huge year.

The Coming Back Out Ball

The Coming Back Out Ball is a spectacular celebration of Queensland Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Gender Diverse, Intersex and Queer elders.

The Coming Back Out Ball is designed to be a gift; a gift that acknowledges the resilience of this community, a gift of visibility to LGBTIQ+ elders who have lived through it all and a safe space for those just discovering themselves. 

Created by All The Queens Men, The Coming Back Out Ball is a political action of reclaiming civic space and giving it back to a group of people who deserve our recognition and celebration. This spectacular Queensland celebration will star Aunty Dawn Daylight, William Yang, Gerry Connolly, Deborah Cheetham, Brian Lucas, Christine Johnston, Vulcana Women’s Circus, Cub Sport, Miss First Nations, Chinta Woo-Allcock, Leah Shelton, House of Alexander amongst many more Queensland Queer artistic Icons to be announced. 


Lead by the fierce energy of vocalist and founder Maz DeVita, WAAX have used a history of mortal trials faced and overcome to inform a brand of song writing that cut deep and gives no quarter.

Since the issue of their monster 2019 debut LP Big Grief, the Brisbane power post-punk outfit have maintained a singular drive to create and release their own uncompromising brand of high emotion, alternative rock ‘n’ roll. Their live show and energy are unmatched, so you don’t want to miss this!

Brisbane Festival will transform The Tivoli and The Princess Theatre from Friday 3 September until Saturday 25 September. Tickets are on sale via