RIVERFIRE - PENTHOUSE
RIVERFIRE - PENTHOUSE

Brisbane Festival makes decision on Sunsuper Riverfire

How do you get over the fact that Sunsuper Riverfire won't be the finale of Brisbane Festival this year? Easy, you create a giant party and take the festival to the suburbs of Brisbane and that means every suburb.

Brisbane Festival has reimagined the Festival so it may proceed in the era of social distancing, but organisers say certain elements of the 2020 program - including Sunsuper Riverfire - are unable to go ahead because it would encourage crowd gathering.

Brisbane Festival artistic director Louise Bezzina says the festival program, which launches today (Tuesday August 28), will be mostly free and will include the festival's largest community event - Street Serenades. It is planned to be the biggest music extravaganza in Brisbane's history according to Ms Bezzina.

"And we won't just be taking it to just a few suburbs," she says. "We will be going to every one of Brisbane's 190 suburbs."

Busby Marou, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, beatboxer Tom Thum, Brisbane choir The Australian Voices, Jaguar Jonze and many more acts will all perform in streets and cul de sacs across Brisbane during the festival this September. For free.

Brisbane Festival artistic director Louise Bezzina hopes she has designed a COVID-proof festival. Photo Mark Cranitch.
Brisbane Festival artistic director Louise Bezzina hopes she has designed a COVID-proof festival. Photo Mark Cranitch.

 

Ms Bezzina says Brisbane Festival will employ 700 local artists and that of the 91 events this year 73 of them are free.

Under the theme of Boldly Brisbane she has designed a festival for pandemic times.

"It has been a year of cancellations and postponements," she says. "So I have created a program that is pretty COVID-proof because it was made in the thick of the pandemic. It hasn't been a leisurely walk in the park but I have tried to maintain a sense of positivity. And there's a surprising amount of work that could still be presented."

Venues such as QPAC, the Brisbane Powerhouse, The Tivoli and the relaunched Metro Arts will be activated within strict guidelines. The festival's centrepiece, a massive work called Leviathan by Brisbane circus troupe Circa will be performed in the Playhouse at QPAC.

Many other works will be in public spaces including this year's reason to look up. It may not be Sunsuper Riverfire but Sunsuper Night Sky promises to be a spectacle, one that can be enjoyed by socially distanced people all over the city.

Created by renowned Australian audiovisual artist Robin Fox, this laser spectacular will dance across the sky and the city's architecture every Friday and Saturday night during the festival which runs from September 4 to 26.

The interconnecting and pulsing beams of Sunsuper Night Sky will be set to an ethereal soundtrack composed by Fox who's says he is not trying to compete with Sunsuper Riverfire. "I want to be clear that this is not a fireworks display," he says. "It's an installation which is something quite different."

Robin Fox has created the laser show Sunsuper Night Sky for this year’s Brisbane Festival. Picture: PATRICK GEE
Robin Fox has created the laser show Sunsuper Night Sky for this year’s Brisbane Festival. Picture: PATRICK GEE

 

With no international guests this year the accent is on local talent according to Louise Bezzina who says she wants to "redefine the expectations and experiences of an international arts festival and really shine a light on the rich seam of exceptional talent running through this city and this state".

And while there may not be the usual fireworks and flyovers of Sunsuper Riverfire some aerobatics may be possible along with the 490 performances planned, many of them coming to your suburb in flash mob style performances in the great outdoors that Louise Bezzina hopes will help make this festival very special.

And it officially kicks off at 6pm On September 4 with Jumoo, a smoking ceremony that will honour and pay respect to the First Nations People of Brisbane, the Turrbal and Yuggera People. From Boggo Road, Mount Coot-Tha, Mount Gravatt and New Farm Park you will see the smoke rise and know the festival has begun.

More info : brisbanefestival.com.au

 

SOME BRISBANE FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS

MESSENGERS OF BRISBANE: Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman may not be coming to Brisbane but he has sent his emissaries instead - six giant and colourful Gouldian finches that will perch atop iconic Brisbane locations to spread messages of hope.

THROTTLE : A B-grade thriller viewed from within the safety of your own car performed by Gold Coast outfit The Farm September 23-26, RNA showgrounds. $100 per car.

EMBASSY : Brisbane Indigenous artist Richard Bell's homage to the Aboriginal Tent Embassy is a work of art and a forum for discussions. It has appeared at the TATE Modern in London and at the Venice Biennale and for this Brisbane Festival Bell is pitching it in Musgrave Park South Brisbane on September 12.

EXERCISE SURPRISES : The bikeways and walking paths of a suburb near you will be ambushed by some of Brisbane's best and brightest artists with prehistoric puppets, playful lollipop ladies, flash mob cheer squads and acrobats all flipping down pathways across Brisbane during the festival.

LEVIATHAN : A spectacular work by Brisbane's own internationally renowned circus outfit. September 3-12, Playhouse, QPAC. $45-$55.

THE TYPE: Pro-girl gang Pink Matter star in this world premiere. It's an uplifting and empowering show featuring street dance and hip-hop music with plenty of funky girl power. New Benner Theatre, Metro Arts, West Village, West End, September 10-13. $15.

THE SWEETEST TABOO : Katie Noonan, one of Queensland's best known artists returns to her jazz roots. September 19, The Tivoli, $45.

 

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Originally published as Brisbane Festival makes decision on Sunsuper Riverfire



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