16 Queensland festivals

16 Queensland festivals

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noosa food and wine festival
Photo: Supplied

Community celebrations promulgate the national heritage of nations. Festivals — including food, music, religious, sports — are held to celebrate culture, the arts and so much more. The depth and diverse range of activities on offer demonstrates that carnivals are a time to have pleasure, amusement, it’s an opportunity for the public to rejoice in their own identity and then there’s the chance of getting educated in the process of having fun. In this cross-section of Queensland festivals, we’ve put in some extra effort and added a few more options:

1-Noosa International Food and Wine Festival


Noosa Heads, Noosa area, Sunshine Coast (May)

Everyone loves a party and when you combine food and wine into the mix of activities then you’re onto a sure winner. The Noosa International Food and Wine Festival is no exception as Australia’s premier food, wine and lifestyle event.

noosa food and wine festival
Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland

This festival is a cut above the others as it integrates national and international emphasis on these very significant lifestyle aspects.

noosa food and wine festival
Photos: Supplied

Organisers endeavor to make this festival a cut above the rest. Celebrities from all walks of life — chefs, wine connoisseurs, presenters, entertainers and product experts — come together (from near and far) to learn and impart the latest on new techniques, trends, produce and wine.

They do all this along with having lots of fun. What’s more, they do this every year! And there’s plenty more things to do on the Sunshine Coast too.

2-Cairns Airport Adventure Festival

Tropical North Queensland (June)

If competing in the great outdoors is your choice, then you should not look past the Cairns Airport Adventure Festival.

You have to be fit to participate in all the activities, but we all can swim, ride and run as a matter of course. Right? If not, then you still have time to get into shape.

The festival features an events schedule that’s jam-packed for people of all ages and abilities.

What is your preference? Enter the ironman, triathlon events? Get ready to join in the fun. Registrations are now open.

3-Townsville Triathlon Festival

Townsville (June)

Get ready for a weekend of sport and fun at the Townsville Triathlon Festival that will be a sure-fire winner after the success of last year’s event.

The 13th annual festival is guaranteed to be an action-packed weekend.  Featured again will be the Olympic Distance Triathlon Age Group World Championship Qualifier!

If that doesn’t take your fancy, then race your chosen distance — sprint, enticer, elite mile, team challenge. There’s also something for the children with the kids TRY along Townville’s beautiful Strand with views across to Magnetic Island.

With six events over two days, you’ll be hard-pressed not to be inspired and to get involved!

4-Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival

Winton, Queensland (June/July)

brisbane festival
Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland

This is certainly a film festival like no other that you’ve ever seen before. Just imagine sitting under the stars in outback Queensland watching an unmatched program of classic and contemporary Australian films!

There will be a lot of entertainment, over nine days, seeing ‘ 30 films ‘ with some ‘1,000 scenes’.

Celebrate Australian film and culture in the wide expanse of Winton at the historic, open air Royal Theatre in the main street.

Not only that, you’ll also be able to participate in master classes, film making competitions, have conversations, listen to yarns, participate in tag-a-long tours and other social activities. You really should walk the ‘red’ carpet on opening night!

5-Jumpers and Jazz in July Festival

Southern Queensland Country, Warwick, Southern Downs Area (July)

Now this is a warm combination — jumpers with jazz  — and they are ideally suited to celebrate winter in Warwick, on Queensland’s Southern Downs. Jumpers and Jazz in July combines an amazing range of activities: toe-tapping jazz, earnest country hospitality and a combination of remarkable outdoor art.

Now you’re set to face even the frostiest of winter days as you go about participating in lively street celebrations, extraordinary art and craft exhibitions, ‘yarn bombing’ and innumerable other events that has the region bursting at the knitted stratums. The program features two weekends chock-full with things to do.

6-Mackay Airport Beach Horse Racing Festival

Mackay Harbour, Mackay (August)

Now this is a unique celebration that involves horses and the beach! The Mackay Airport Beach Horse Racing Festival is a unique combination of events surrounding the festival highlight, the Mackay Airport Beach Race Day.

Thousands of people congregate on Mackay Harbour Beach to witness the fourth annual running of this thrilling spectacle on August 8, 2015.

In the lead-up, you have to be there to partake of some stimulating hospitality that includes a fun charity golf day, a cocktail party and sportsman dinner.

If shopping is more to your liking, then you’ll have plenty of opportunity to check out some classy couture shops and to satisfy your palate with the help of some booming restaurant-café culture of Mackay.

This district could even end up rewarding you by pursuing some activities that are on your bucket list.

7-Noosa Jazz Festival

Multiple locations, Sunshine Coast(September)

noosa food and wine festival
Photo: Supplied

Merriment over the four days includes much more than the musical vivacity of jazz in Noosa. Annually held along over the first weekend in spring, there’s a wide array of musical genres from blues, folk and jazz.

The diverse program could answer your prayers if you win the talent search. Included also are master classes, legends lunch series, jazz river cruises and ‘Tastings on Hastings’ … an annual event that’s always a sell-out.

noosa food and wine festival
Photos: Supplied

A noteworthy feature of the festival’s ‘social fabric’ is the Youth in Jazz program that provides schools from the local region, Cooloola Coast, the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane an opportunity to perform on centre stage.

Not bad when you realise that this event entices people to Queensland’s Noosa Heads from around the world.

8-Brisbane Festival

Brisbane (September)

A grand celebration covering music, theatre, dance, circus, comedy, opera, cabaret, visual art, talks, family, live art, photograph competitions and food and beverages.

This year is the 18th anniversary of the Goa Project and if you dabble in photography, then this is your opportunity to participate in this rewarding experience.

brisbane festival
Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland

It is anticipated that in line with this year’s theme ‘I Am Brisbane’, entrants will be encouraged to create an original portrait that is reflective of someone who somehow represents Brisbane.

The subject can be globally famous, of ‘suburban notoriety’ or of an unusual demeanour. The choice is yours.

brisbane festival
Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland

The Brisbane Festival program is jam-packed with activities at numerous locations. Vantage points include South Bank, Victoria Bridge, City Riverwalk, Kangaroo Point Cliffs, Captain Burke Park and Wilson’s Lookout.

The finale is explosive when Sunsuper Riverfire erupts across the city skyline for a stunning fireworks display. This is one pyrotechnic extravaganza that’s set to a rocking soundtrack of the year’s biggest songs that are mingled together with some classic favourites.


Multiple locations, Gold Coast (October 8-11, 2015)

Australia’s favourite holiday destination, the Gold Coast, offers many attractions and this one of the sporting kind is every netball fan’s fanciful dream come true.

Whether you are a participant or a spectator, NetFest is Netball Australia’s 18+ mass participation netball event that offers a choice of beach netball or traditional outdoor tournaments.

NetFest is, of course, supported by a broad range of social activities.

It’s not surprising to realise that NetFest has swiftly established itself as one of the most trendy events on the netball calendar. In its first year, there were just 500 contestants.

The figure doubled in 2012 and then drew a massive 1,757 netballers from around Australia and New Zealand to this giant celebration of funtastic netball and camaraderie!

10-Airlie Beach Festival of Music

Whitsundays (November)

What more could you want? A tropical seaside town that forms an ideal backdrop for a perfect weekend in paradise surrounded by the sound of music!

Now in its third year, Airlie Beach Festival of Music is a drawcard for inspirational musicians and dedicated music lovers.

Customised for an audience that’s over 35 years, the wonderful keen jamboree relishes the opportunity to listen to more than 70 bands and 240 musicians from Australia and New Zealand. The musical genre is assorted from country, folk and hip hop to reggae, rock and blues.

Performance locations take you from bars and restaurants to under the high-top.

The main stage sits on the magic shores of the Coral Sea and the Whitsunday Sailing Club. Headline acts including many Aussie rock legends and up-and-coming stars.

11-Brisbane Asia-Pacific Film Festival 

Brisbane (November)

It’s a new celebration of movies in Brisbane, but one that’s sure to bring joy to many film buffs in Australia and the world.

The Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival (BAPFF) will feature 80 films from more than 30 countries.

The 11-day international event will have an estimated 120 screenings that will include Australian and world premieres.

The stimulating program includes highlights from the festival circuit, multi award-winning documentaries and the best films from the Asia Pacific.

12-Woodford Folk Festival

Brisbane (December/January)

This year is a milestone for the Woodford Folk Festival as it is the 29th festival and the 21st to be held at Woodfordia. Local, national and international guests are featured in a schedule that features more than 2,000 performers across 1,536 shows. No mean feat!

brisbane festival
Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland

The festival program, which will be released in October, will incorporate many activities including street theatre, dances, concerts, writers’ panels, comedy sessions, social dialogue and debate, acoustic jams, an environmental program featuring debates, talks, art and craft workshops, circus performances and workshops and film festivals with emphasis on children’s products.

brisbane festival
Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland

Other highlights include parades, late night cabarets and special events.

As well, the streets are lined with cafes, stalls, bars and restaurants and in the village there are 35 performance venues, including 18 all-weather sites.

13-Brisbane International

Queensland Tennis Centre, Brisbane (January 3-10, 2016)

The Brisbane International is held annually just before the first Grand Slam tournament of the season, the Australian Open. It is part of the ATP World Tour 250 series of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) World Tour and the WTA Premier tournaments of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour.

14-Cairns Chinese New Year Festival

Tropical North Queensland(February 2016)

The lengthiest and most important festivity in the Chinese lunar calendar is the Chinese New Year.

The Cairns Chinese community hosts lively and effervescent annual celebrations for the occasion, and next year will be no exception.

Supported by the Cairns Regional Council, the city’s rich Chinese heritage is showcased with dance, music and cultural performances.

With visitor numbers swelling for the carnival, there will be many other attractions including market stalls, food and a parade featuring the traditional Chinese dragon, lions and the 12 zodiac animals.

15-Bleach* Festival

Gold Coast (March 4-20, 2016)

The briskly-growing Bleach* Festival about music, arts and beach culture will be  bigger and better when it returns in March 2016.

As you rejoice in listening to the best contemporary musicians and artists from the Gold Coast and around the nation, make the most of the three mega weekends as you relish some fun in the sun and sand between your toes.

Just get set to be surprised, anticipate the unpredicted and get your eyes to consciously seek out the streets parties and picnics in atypical and fanciful settings.

Head to the beach or the street to become a part the Gold Coast’s largest arts and cultural festival and partake of an artistic celebration that is the essence of a coastal lifestyle.

16-Julia Creek Dirt ‘n’ Dust Festival

Julia Creek, McKinlay Shire, North Queensland (April 15-17, 2016)

brisbane festival
Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland

The population of the tiny north-west Queensland town swells from 400 to 3,000 for one weekend during the Julia Creek Dirt ‘n’ Dust Festival.

For three days, this is one outback adventure you have to place on your must-do calendar.

brisbane festival
Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland

For fun and entertainment back a winner at the outback horse races, watch the plucky Dirt ‘n’ Dust Triathlon, jiggle your assets in Australia’s Best Butt competition, view the remarkable Dirt ‘n’ Dust Bull Ride, experience getting muddy and compete in the Bog Snorkelling Championships!

Last word

With such a phenomenal variety of Queensland festivals across the state, start to assemble your gregarious groupies now and follow this festive line-up to celebrate the passion for all things adventurous, epicurean and of course, wickedly self-indulgent!

India’s first Nobel laureate, Rabindranath Tagore, succinctly summed up the sentiments with:

You are invited to the festival of this world and your life is blessed.

Discover Queensland

For more ideas on what to do in Queensland go to Best of QueenslandFind out more about holidaying in Queensland at www.Queensland.com

Are you going to Port Douglas? Make some time to visit the Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas.

For a fabulous island holiday in northern Queensland, check out Green Island and Fitzroy Island.

Need more ideas? Here are some things to do near Hervey Bay and Townsville activies you might be interested in. Check out the Magnetic Island snorkelling.

16 queensland festivals


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