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Kate Miller-Heidke announced for Festival 2018

You may have heard the sporting juggernaut that is the Commonwealth Games will take up residence on your doorstep in just five short months. But were you also aware the Games will bring with it a festival of music, dance, theatre and visual arts known as Festival 2018?

Yep, for two weeks in April 2018 your senses will be on extreme overload thanks to world-class sporting events and, now that the first festival act has been announced, art and culture galore.

Brisbane born Kate Miller-Heidke is that first act and thus, the bar has been set high. The much-loved Aussie musician will perform on the Queensland Music Stage, in Broadbeach, at various times throughout the Games.

The stage will host an array of talent including Aria-nominated rock band The Jungle Giants and hip hop artist Mau Power along with several local Gold Coast acts.

It will be a free event-space throughout the festival and will cater to all ages and musical tastes.

The Festival itself will join forces with your favourite art and culture gurus, Bleach*, to bring the good people of the world a bold, aspirational 12-day, multi-arts festival with events from Coomera to Coolangatta.

While the full program won’t be released until February 2018 we can guarantee good times and even better talent.

2018 is shaping up to be a good one gang.

LOCATION: Queensland Music Stage will be located on Surf Pde, Broadbeach

Words by Kirra Smith.

16 live music venues on the Gold Coast

Vinnies Dive (image supplied)
Vinnies Dive (image supplied)

There’s never been a more important time to support our local hospitality business’ and musicians for a dose of live music in South East Queensland. Whether you’re the mid-week beer sipping and knee-slapping type or the seltzer slurping weekend warrior: live music is here for us all. Across the Gold Coast, there are abundant options for you to get involved in live music, with a breadth of venues all with their unique personalities and offerings.

So tell mum not to wait up, and head out to these live music venues across our lively city (listed north to south)!

Southport Sharks
The largest AFL club in Queensland, Southport Sharks has been up and running since 1961. Every weekend they showcase local musical talent, including tribute bands and good old rock and roll (or maybe a spot of karaoke is more up your alley?). There are endless food options, but we suggest starting your night at one of the Gold Coast’s most northern rooftop bars Aviary and fuel up to power through those dance sessions.
Where: Cnr Musgrave and Olsen Avenues, Southport

Vinnies Dive
Not ones to hang around, this Southport rockin’ bar has hosted over 700 live music events in their short lifespan, and on any given night of the week, there is always something going down. Vinnies is in every inch of the word a dive bar, and inside you’ll find walls decked out with album covers, and an overall moody, low-lit vibe where revellers dance up a storm.
Where: Shops A & B, 44A Nerang Street, Southport

Hard Rock Cafe (image supplied)
Hard Rock Cafe (image supplied)

The Avenue
When it comes to finding live acts and having yourself a good time in the central Gold Coast, you’ll be hard pushed to look past The Avenue in Surfers Paradise. If you don’t believe us, check it out for yourself; there is literally something on every night of the week. Feeling the work week getting the better of you? Then we suggest you hit up their Tunes Tuesdays or House Music Thursdays, but if you can survive till the weekend, you’ll be spoilt with a variety of live music and the best partygoing atmosphere.
Where: 3-15 Orchid Avenue, Surfers Paradise

Surfers Pavilion
Should you arrive by jet ski or by Uber, it doesn’t matter. Surfers Pavilion is your one-stop venue in the heart of Surfers Paradise for drinks, eats and catching a live DJ set or two. And not just any disc jockeys either; The Stafford Brothers and Peking Duk have both played to jubilant crowds here in recent times. Currently, the wheels of steel are spinning Thursday and Friday evenings and all through the weekend: perfect long weekend territory.
Where: 30/34 Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise

Hard Rock Café
Climb the stairway to heaven and enjoy handcrafted cocktails, impossible to ignore thick shakes, and a freshly prepared Americana menu over an impressive local rock music guest list. Since the first live music performance (Sir Paul McCartney no less) in 1973, the Hard Rock Cafe chains have been the home of live music and this Surfers Paradise institution is no different. Not just a great way to start off your weekend, there’s also mid-week events like musical bingo to cure any hump day melancholy.
Where: Corner Cavill Avenue and Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise

HOTA Outdoor Stage (Image supplied by Destination Gold Coast)
HOTA Outdoor Stage (Image supplied by Destination Gold Coast)

HOTA
The Home of the Arts is certainly doing the heavy lifting to finally elevate the arts and culture scene here in our section of Queensland. From headline acts performing on one of Australia’s best outdoor stage to intimate gigs indoors, variety is certainly what comes to mind when visiting a HOTA show. They’ve now decided your afternoons deserve an injection of outdoor live music too, now presenting Fridays on the Lawn. With a host of local talent scheduled to celebrate the end of the working week, we suggest you grab a blanket, acquire a drink from their lawn bar, and relax in their sophisticated sun-kissed setting as you plot your moves for the weekend.
Where: HOTA, 135 Bundall Road, Surfers Paradise

Den Devine
Open Tuesday to Sunday for your listening pleasure, Den Devine feature jazz and blues artists from a talent pool right here in our city. This intimate hidden venue is well-known amongst live muisc fans, so we definitely recommend booking in advance to nab a seat. Grab a bev from their serious selection of whisky (the perfect accompaniment to some moody blues), a Mediterranean dish from their menu (it might sound like an odd fit, but trust us, the food is delish!) and make yourself comfortable as you’re treated to a fine selection of the best performers on the Gold Coast.
Where: 15 Victoria Avenue, Broadbeach

Garden Kitchen & Bar at The Star Gold Coast
When it comes to star-studded acts and internationally recognised music performances, The Star Gold Coast is the place to grab a seat in a full-blown theatre and experience music as it was intended. On the regular, though, you will find Garden Kitchen & Bar’s Live on the Lawn sessions a worthy alternative between headline acts. Each week they kick things off on a Friday evening and don’t let up until late Sunday night, with different music for every taste. Local band, McKenzie invite you to bop along to their Sunday residency with their energetic mix of feel-good pop-rock — a classic way to see the week out. Once you settle in, you’ll also be looked after with their dedicated lawn bar, and container kitchen, meaning leaving is one of the hardest things to do.
Where: 1 Casino Drive, Broadbeach

Live on the Lawn at The Star Gold Coast (image supplied)
Live on the Lawn at The Star Gold Coast (image supplied)

Nightcap
Having duly stamped its authority on the Nobby Beach bar scene as the place to go for frolic fuelled nights, these guys will have you rocking out until the wee hours with a live band or DJ every night of the week. The venue also offers new bands the chance to get themselves out there, so keep an eye out for fresh talent!
Where: 2245 Gold Coast Highway, Nobbys Beach

The Cambus Wallace
Jump aboard and set sail to a nautical-infused destination full of food, rum, and live music. The Cambus Wallace awaits you for a night filled with charismatic blues, raw acoustic sets, and finger flicking vinyl delights. Depending on your taste, take your pick and be sure you try at least one of their cocktails!
Where: 2237 Gold Coast Highway, Nobbys Beach

Miami Marketta
Open from 5pm every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights, Miami comes alive with foods from all around the world mixed with local blues, jazz and independent artists. And this isn’t all — the venue is one of the prime places to catch amazing national and international acts as they tour the country and drop by. Be sure to keep an eye on their gig calendar; tickets always sell out fast!
Where: 23 Hillcrest Parade, Miami

Miami Marketta (image supplied)
Miami Marketta (image supplied)

Nightjar
Burleigh’s original back alley after-hours haunt is always an epic time. Nightjar is known for late-night revelry and an often stellar line-up of weekly live music. With drink specials aplenty, come and enjoy local acts as they take to the floor and keep the swinging yet sultry atmosphere going long into the night.
Where: Justin Lane, Burleigh Heads 

Mo’s Desert Clubhouse
Combining events, gigs, workshops, yoga classes, and collaborative office spaces, Mo’s Desert Clubhouse is a melting pot of goings-on and a principal meeting place for the Gold Coast’s coolest movers and shakers. The industrial-style venue is outfitted with a bar and has a plethora of gigs lined up for the rest of the year. Make sure you pencil in a date with Mo’s Desert Clubhouse ASAP.
Where: 6/36 Central Drive, Burleigh Heads

Burleigh Brewing Co.
Beer and music is an ensemble that will never die. Burleigh Brewery approaches their live music offering just the same way as they make their beer: balance, character and soul. Local acts are regularly paired with food trucks and your favourite brews from Friday through to Sunday. There’s also the occasional art show, movies under the stars and theatre performance for good measure. Oh and did we mention exceptional beer?
Where: 2 Ern Harley Drive, Burleigh Heads

Mo's Desert Clubhouse (image by Melting Wax Photography)
Mo's Desert Clubhouse (image by Melting Wax Photography)

Soundlounge
It’s one of the Gold Coast’s favourite live music venues, having hosted local, national and international acts — but also remains one of our best-kept secrets. Find your way down to Currumbin RSL, where Soundlounge hosts acts from folk soloists and DJs to rock and roll bands. Listening to fantastic live music can be a hungry business, but this venue has you covered with food options, including pizza, an a la carte restaurant and bar snacks.
Where: 165 Duringan Street, Currumbin

The Coolangatta Hotel
Whether you’ve been catching world-class waves or lounging in the afternoon sun, Coolangatta — and specifically the Coolangatta Hotel — is the place to round out a perfect afternoon with live music. Being one of the Gold Coast’s largest live music venues, this venue features both national and international touring bands and DJs on any given weekend. The vast space has long been famous for all types of weekend warriors to dance the night away — just don’t forget that Monday morning meeting.
Where: Cnr Warner Street and Marine Parade, Coolangatta

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

Creekfest at Soundlounge (image supplied)
Creekfest at Soundlounge (image supplied)

Crafted Beer & Cider Festival

A festival dedicated to drinking, tunes and just generally chilling out is definitely the most Australian thing we’ve ever heard of. Except for maybe that lady who picked up a shark with her bare hands and threw it back into the ocean.

Obviously none of us will ever live up to her but we can get involved in the next best thing – the Crafted Beer and Cider Festival – debuting in Broadbeach on November 4th.

In celebration of all things beer and cider, Crafted will showcase (over 100) Aussie brewers from the Coast, wider Queensland and some of your faves from interstate.

Think Balter, Burleigh Brewing, Black Hops, Newstead Brewing, Stone & Wood, Batlow Cider and plenty more. We really are quite the beer connoisseurs aren’t we?

Because no festival (and drinking in general) is complete without quality tunes, there are some of those too. The lineup features Brisbane surf-pop/rockers Shag Rock, Byron Bay reggae/hip hop quintet Drop Legs, local indie-rockers Eliza & The Delusionals, alt-rock quartet The Maslows, GC-based soulful acoustic duo Azmosphere and Beatniks DJs.

ALSO, how did we survive before gourmet food trucks? All your local faves will be there from the Wiener Haus boys to Little Wahaca and Food Kartel and isn’t this going to be a good time.

If you’re still reading but just remembered you aren’t a fan of beer or cider, never fear. The Chandon S Spritz Pop Up Bar will be ahh…popping up for those who like to get sparkly and there’ll also be wine, cocktails and the like.

Round up your crew, re-locate your favourite Mexican picnic throw and get yo’ tickets ASAP because this one is not to be missed.

LOCATION: Pratten Park, Broadbeach
COST: $29.60 per person

 

Miss Mandy Swings

She’s been tapping her toes on stage since she was three years old and since then Miss Mandy Swings has enjoyed an international career.

We sat down for a chat with the local lass about her colourful history as a Gold Coast performer and her thoughts on the future of our city’s music scene.

What was like growing up on the Gold Coast as a performer?
Similar to today, there were dance studios leading to eisteddfods and talent quests. Tropicarnival was a big highlight, performing on stage in Cavill Avenue. There was no Arts Centre early on, so the opportunity to perform in a theatre, with wings, backstage areas and state of the art sound and lighting wasn’t available. It’s a great addition to the Gold Coast for the young talent of today to perform in a professional venue with the opportunity to audition for musicals, The Junior Green Room project and school holiday workshops with industry artists.

What unique opportunities were you given as a local artist here?
I was lucky enough to audition for the Casino when I finished school and performed in two productions – Starz and Galaxies as an acrobat and singer/dancer, the greatest first professional contracts ever! I learned so much from the Directors, Choreographers, guest acts and the cast and crew. We had a live orchestra, galloping horses and a Cadillac driven onto the stage. There was a rotating floor and world-class sets and costumes, it was mind blowing. After the show we’d head to Surfers and perform in the nightclubs doing dance shows at Twains, The Penthouse and Cocktails and Dreams. After a stint in Japan I came home to sing jazz in the piano bar at The Sheraton Mirage. In the corporate market my 9-piece band Oz Hornz have played all the big ballrooms and functions around town. We’ve had the pleasure of playing support for a lot of celebrities – Harry Connick Jnr. and Chris Isaaks being a highlight at the Indy Ball.

You’re performing at Sunday Sounds this weekend, what can we expect from your set?
I’m performing with my quartet to kick off the afternoon of Swing. You can look forward to Natalie Cole and the big band singers of years gone by – Doris Day, Bette Midler, Ella Fitzgerald. I’m a singer and dancer so you won’t see me keep still. The bouncy swing of songs like Stuff Like That There and Get Happy is infectious.

What do you love most about swing music?
Definitely the vibe, it makes you feel good. The lyrics and story telling of the old tunes give you a sense of how much times have changed. The rhythm is so relaxed and cruisey. I love watching the swing dancers kicking their legs and throwing their partners around. The greatest part of swing music is a live band and the horns! You go along for the ride and never know where they will take you.

How have you seen the Gold Coast’s music scene grow in your time as a performer?
I have seen the music scene grow in certain areas. The introduction of Surfers Paradise Festival, Blues on Broadbeach and the Country Music Festival have been great. Miami Marketta and The NightQuarter have also provided locals with options to see live acts. Sunday Sounds at Sanctuary Cove is giving locals a great variety of music and entertainment for families to enjoy. The Broadwater Parklands is a great venue for Christmas Carols and some duos on the weekend. I do like the idea of entertainment in our parks; we have the best climate for outdoor events. Twin Towns have been great supporters of live music and continue to do so. Our local RSL and Sports Clubs are providing a great opportunity for our musicians and entertainers to get some experience too.

Back in the day live rock venues and Sunday sessions were big on the Coast. Live rock, pop and horn bands were something you could go out and enjoy.  Kids who are learning instruments actually got to see musicians performing their craft because it gave them something to aspire to.

What do you think is the future of music here?
I think there is a very positive vibe around the GC. There are a lot of people in the industry pushing to keep music alive and live. We have some of the best players/tutors on the Coast teaching our younger generation their instruments. I hope that we can get more live music back in to venues with more players on stage. I’ve seen it at functions; some young people are in awe and have never seen a live band. The young musos need to know they are mastering their talent and have somewhere they can play a live show.

How did your career kick off?
I started singing and dancing at three years old. After performing on a talent show with Paul Sharratt at 10 years old, another producer was looking for young singers and dancers for his program. I made it on to Channel 7’s Super Saturday as a regular junior performing weekly through to high school until I graduated and left for the Casino.

What does the future hold for you?
My business Oz Hornz Entertainment keeps me very busy with all our different acts. I’m performing with my rock/pop band Funky Monkeys at Steampunk Surfers on July 8th, which I am very excited about. I’m pushing to get live bands back into some local venues before the world gets here next April for the Commonwealth Games. I have many dreams to fulfill in this crazy life; cruise ships are on the hit list with my Beehives Tribute Show.

Your favourite piece of life advice…

I live by a few rules:

  • Never give up
  • If you don’t honour your talent you don’t deserve it
  • Go hard or go home
  • No regrets
  • Be thankful for this life, make the most of it

Local favourites…

Beach: The Broadwater and South Currigee. I’m a boaty so our family jump off the grid a couple of times a year and chill out tubing and camping on the Island. If I had to choose a beach it would be The Spit.
Café: Meraki Wholefood Kitchen in Chirn Park
Restaurant: Thai Magik Chirn Park
Music venue: Steampunk Surfers Paradise

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