Why Brisbane Festival is a must-see bucketlist travel destination

With Brisbane Festival launching next month, there is no better time to plan a trip to the River City.

Check out our Brisbane Festival Guide

Every September since 2009, Brisbane Festival explodes across the city with a huge program of theatre, music, dance, circus, opera, and more. Attracting around one million people every year, there is definitely something for everyone in their program. If you’re looking for your next getaway, look no further than Brisbane Festival.

Why travel to Brisbane?

Right about now, things are looking endlessly gloomy in most parts of Australia, but as the capital of the Sunshine State, Brisbane locals are blessed with what seems like eternal sunshine – their average winter temperature is a toasty 21 degrees, what a dream!

That’s exactly the weather you need to enjoy their award-winning food and wine, extensive calendar of events, Instagram-worthy scenic spots, adventurous activities, and beautiful city.

Don’t believe what you hear from rival capital cities, Brisbane has come a long way from its ‘big country town’ reputation. Not only is it Australia’s largest capital city, but it has the perfect balance of bustling city life, coastal relaxation, and tropical adventure to make every visit effortlessly unique. It’s a no-brainer really.

What makes Brisbane Festival so special?

If you’re yet to tick Brisbane off your travel bucketlist, or you’re due for a return visit, there is no better time to lock in a trip than during Brisbane Festival.

While the city’s events calendar never seems to stop, during Brisbane Festival’s 23 days the city truly comes alive.

With more than 500 performances of over 80 shows and events spread across Brisbane’s most iconic venues and intimate spaces, there is more than enough to keep you busy. And with a program covering everything from theatre to music to visual arts, including international heavyweights, Australian heroes, and local up and comers, you’ll be absolutely spoiled for choice.

Must-see Brisbane Festival events: 

The 2019 Brisbane Festival program is their most ambitious yet and it is absolutely heaving with interesting and exciting must-see events. We thought we’d make things a little easier for you and pick out some of our highlights. These are the events you don’t want to miss.

City and Colour, The Jezabels, Asha Jeffries

Riverstage, Saturday 28 September

What better way to wrap up Brisbane Festival’s 2019 festivities than spending your night with the gorgeous vocals of Canadian musician Dallas Green AKA City and Colour. Not only will his visit to Brisbane be his only Australian performance, but he will also help to wrap up Riverstage’s 30th birthday celebrations.

Last in Australia in 2016, City and Colour will perform long-time crowd favourites alongside new tunes from his forthcoming sixth album – his first collection of original music in almost four years. Also known for his contributions as a singer, rhythm guitarist, and songwriter for post-hardcore band Alexisonfire, together with duo You+Me, a collaboration with Alecia Moore (P!nk), Green has compiled a much-celebrated catalogue of songs over the course of five studio albums, amassing a legion of fans worldwide and garnering him three Juno Awards, including two Songwriter of the Year awards.

He will be joined by acclaimed Australian act The Jezabels and rising star Asha Jefferies, with more special guests to be announced. As a special treat, there will be a great view of the dazzling fireworks display that is Sunsuper Riverfire.

Hot Dub Time Machine, Cub Sport, Confidence Man, Last Dinosaurs, Clea

Riverstage, Saturday 7 September

While we’re chatting about Riverstage’s 30th birthday celebrations, we should probably make sure we pass on your invitation to their huge birthday party event.

The venue has well and truly cemented itself as a staple of Brisbane’s music scene, so time-travelling DJ extraordinaire Hot Dub Time Machine will use his incredible knack for curating the best-ever party playlists to take punters through three decades of Riverstage music history – all in one night.

That’s just the icing on the cake though, Riverstage have pulled together an epic lineup featuring some of Brisbane’s best and brightest including pop stars Cub Sport, party starters Confidence Man, indie-rockers Last Dinosaurs, and the mesmerising Clea.

Groove Terminator with Live Gospel Choir, Paul Mac, Josh Abrahams, DJ Black Amex

The Tivoli, Friday 6 September

Can we get an amen? We are ready to be taken to church and there is only one man for the job – Australia dance music royalty Groove Terminator.

Spend Brisbane Festival’s opening night worshipping the gods of house music when the Tivoli transforms itself into a golden home of worship set to raise its roof beyond the heavens.

Groove Terminator will reimagine his legendary ’90s music ‘House 5 DJ’ mix live onstage, with singers from the Gospo Collective and Brisbane’s Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts (ACPA). With guest vocalists and an amazing lineup of DJ legends including the likes of Paul Mac, Josh Abrahams and DJ Black Amex, this is set to be a cracker.

Invisible Cities with 59 Productions and Ballet Rambert

Yeerongpilly, Tuesday 24 September – Saturday 28 September

Step inside a huge warehouse located in Yeerongpilly (just south of Brisbane CBD) and discover, what is quite possibly, Brisbane Festival’s most ambitious project yet.

Inspired by Italo Calvino’s 1972 novel of the same name, this Australian exclusive centres on the edgy relationship between Kublai Khan, the volatile head of a vast empire, and explorer Marco Polo, who must transcend a language barrier to describe it for him.

Invisible Cities brings together a global collective of incredible, talented, and daring artists while combining theatre, choreography, music, architectural design and projection mapping to reimagine what is possible in live performance.

Fire Gardens

City Botanic Gardens, Wednesday 11 September – Sunday 14 September

For more than two decades, French artists Compagnie Carabosse have been setting fire to some of the most well-known landmarks around the world. From Stonehenge to the Kremlin, their work has been by many. Now, across four spectacular nights, they will transform Brisbane’s City Botanic Gardens. Huge spheres of leaping flames, sculptures that flicker and dance, fiery urns that cause shadows to play, and a soundtrack as brilliant as the garden itself, the wondrous, maze-like garden welcomes all.

Places to stay:

Whether you want city views, the beach on your doorstep, or a rainforest walk in the morning, Brisbane has accommodation options to suit every taste and budget. Whether you’re looking for panoramic river views, rooftop bars that look out onto the skyline, or even spa retreats – every luxury is catered for. From five-star rooms right on the river, to easy-going hostels, self-contained apartments, cosy lodges, or even glamping under the stars – in Brisbane, you can shape your holiday exactly the way you want.

Whether you want to be in the heart of the bustling city action or you want to wake up surrounded by nothing but nature’s greatest views, you can be certain that you’ll be close to amazing attractions, gorgeous coastlines, and breathtaking outdoor activities. The best part – no matter the terrain you choose, you’ll always be just minutes away from all the Brisbane Festival action. Explore all your options here.

Brisbane City V Beach

Things to do:

Whether it’s shopping, sport, or the arts that takes your fancy – you can bet there is enough action to discover in between all the Brisbane Festival festivities.

For the foodies, there are world-class restaurants, wineries, and an unrivalled craft brewery scene to keep your stomach full and your palate wet. From Eat Street to Noosa Chocolate Factory, a rooftop bar crawl, or the West End – there is something for every craving.

Culture vultures will find everything they need on the southern banks of the Brisbane River in South Bank. Not only is it home to QAGOMA – Australia’s largest gallery of modern and contemporary art – there are also theatres, museums, markets, and of course the Instagram-worthy Brisbane sign to keep your mind ticking over.


If the outdoors is more your thing, there is adventure on every corner. Whether you’re keen on a hike to the breathtaking lookout at Mount Coot-tha, a stroll around the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, or a visit to any of the beautiful waterfalls and watering holes located less than a two-hour drive from the CBD, the views are spectacular. Add abseiling down the Kangaroo Point Cliffs and a dip in Australia’s only city-located beach to your list and you are more than covered.

If live music and entertainment is more your scene, you need to get down to Fortitude Valley. With more pubs, clubs, and music venues than you can count, all in easy walking distance of each other, your night might just stretch into the early morning hours.

Brisbane Botanic Gardens

Getting around Brisbane is a breeze too. Need to get across the river in a hurry? Brisbane’s Cityhopper ferries (the red ones) will take you across the river for free. If you’d rather stay on dry land, Lime Scooters or City Cycle Bikes will get you where you need to go with ease.

Brisbane River

For tickets to all the above shows and to keep up to date with what else is on at Brisbane Festival, head to