It may not have happened overnight, but the Gold Coast is now a fully-fledged hub of arts and culture here in Australia, and as devoted locals to our perfect corner of the world, we’re sure you’ll join us all in being proud as punch. One of the integral pieces to this movement is undoubtedly our very own home-grown arts and cultural festival, Bleach*. Evolving, growing, and always attracting a big crowd, the festival has flourished into a massive program of events.
Now in its tenth year, the festival is sure to impress. Artistic Director for Bleach, Rosie Dennis, is as excited as can be, “We’re thrilled to be celebrating the tenth Bleach* Festival! Featuring the work of more than 355 artists, this year’s festival theme is “Listen To Your Heart” – and that’s exactly what we’ve done to create a program of experiences that reflect our contemporary Gold Coast.” The program runs from 12th-22nd August and spans 6 locations across the coastline from Currumbin to the CBD of Southport, Burleigh Heads to the gorgeous Botanic Gardens in Benowa, and Springbrook Valley’s winding roads. There is so much to see and do with a staggering 72 performances across 34 events! It’s quite enough to give you anxiety when you try and consider what events you’d like to check out. Well, let your heart rate drop a smidge and continue to read on. Our research has led us to produce you a neat little list of the festival highlights that we think should be on everybody’s radar — because we’re kind like that.
Think electronic music, queer performance art and DJs as they amalgamate to create an unforgettable night. Betty Grumble is a unique performer, to put it lightly, and her work always displays offerings of possibility, protest and play. Dare to open your mind? Then take a sensory plunge into this multi-dimensional spectacular, and rejoice our ongoing existence as people, bodies, spirit and living poetry.
Where: Dust Temple, Currumbin (ticketed)
Feast with Us
A program of not one but three evenings of unsurpassed culinary experiences from renowned chefs of differing backgrounds. The first night’s feast has indigenous community and culture at the forefront as First Nation Chefs Aunty Dale Chapman from My Dilly Bag, and Chris Jordan from Three Little Birds share the vibrant flavours of our native bush and showcase food from the oldest living culture in the world. A middle Eastern treat awaits those who attend the second evening as an eclectic group of women from the Multicultural Families Organisation will be cooking fresh, wholehearted, and flavourful foods from their home countries of Eritrea, Egypt, Lebanon/Syria, and Bosnia – all to share with you! Finally, the last evening promises to be a dive into the big flavours of the sea with Scenic Rim ambassador, chef, and author Brenda Fawdon (who is also the brainchild of Picnic Real Food Bar.) So if you feel your palette deserves some spoiling, then any one of these evenings is your answer.
Where: Justins Park, Burleigh Heads Hub (ticketed)
Big City Lights
Usually specialising in the creative design of lighting and video for live music, television, and installation projects, Colourblind will utilise cutting-edge technology and optical panache to transform our city, turning night into day. You’ll be mesmerised by hypnotic projections and technicolour magic as building facades mutate, pulse, and shine. Electrify your visual senses and feel your pulse race as the orchestrated fantasy of light play produces a spectacular fairyland on the Gold Coast. Guaranteed to be better than any fireworks display you’ve ever seen!
Where: Nerang Street, Southport Hub (ticketed)
Fans of this Australian singer-songwriter will all tell you how incredible her songs are: works defined by enchanting melodies and honest lyrics. So don’t miss your chance to catch Sarah Blasko in the beauty of our backyard with musicians from the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. Sarah will perform in full her multiple-award-winning album As Day Follows Night, as well as other crowd favourites within the enchanting surrounds of our Botanic Gardens, a night to remember indeed.
Where: Botanic Gardens, Benowa (ticketed)
Acoustic Life of Sheds
Beautiful settings and awesome music go together hand in hand. Big hART’s Acoustic Life of Sheds brings composers, musicians and artists in a collective celebration whilst at the same time honouring architectural examples of rural culture as sound shells — by seeing them as auditoriums in the landscape. Musical performances will be presented in a series of promenade concerts over a 20-kilometre journey along Gold Springbrook Road outside Mudgeeraba. Drive your way between the tunes and hear four different artists across a four-hour tour perform music specific to their setting. Be involved, and you’ll find yourself among the lush, green foothills of our hinterland and experience a completely different side of the Gold Coast. Picnic boxes are available to pre-order with your ticket – so why not?
Where: Mudgeeraba, Various locations (ticketed)
She predicted the colour of the season
If experiencing extraordinary and left of centre stuff is your thing, then we propose you strongly consider popping along to this performance. You’ll be treated to revolutionary designs by famed Brisbane-based visual and installation artist Justene Williams. With a backdrop of post-punk metal, her work will centre on elaborate sets and costumes made from collaged paper and repurposed objects, creating her line of imaginary fashion. – Watch out The Iconic!
Where: Nerang Street, Southport Hub (ticketed)
Briggs is an icon of modern indigenous creativity, the multi-award-winning (and multi-faceted) talent that you cannot miss in this year’s Bleach* Festival program. The inimitable pioneer of Australian hip-hop will headline a special one-off evening event at the Burleigh Hub with a stellar line-up of Australia’s finest contemporary artists and musicians. Assuring spectators a grand opening to the festival’s first weekend, although not ticketed, organisers ask attendees to register as there will be limited capacity due to Covid restrictions.
Where: Justins Park, Burleigh Heads Hub
Bleach* Festival runs 12th – 22nd August 2021.
Words by Alex Mitcheson.