Thanks to Brisbane's year-round wonderful climate, it's the perfect city to host outdoor events. The city often plays host to cultural and historic celebrations, music festivals and family entertainment, particularly in the Summer holiday months of December, January and February.
By far the largest and most popular event in Brisbane is the annual Brisbane Festival. This festival, which originally started as a celebration of the Brisbane River, now incorporates a number of smaller events at various places around South Bank Parklands, the Cultural Centre and the CBD as a celebration to Brisbane itself. Notably the 'Riverfire' event which is held in South Bank every September and draws the largest crowd. It offers free family entertainment all day and the city's biggest Fireworks display at night.
The annual Royal Queensland Show or The Ekka as it's almost exclusively called by the locals is a staple event in Brisbane's history and culture, held every August and dating back to 1876. It is hosted at the RNA Showgrounds in the inner-suburb of Bowen Hills and runs for a week, where the Wednesday is a public holiday (so expect large crowds on this day). Primarily marketed toward families, attractions at the Ekka include fairground rides, a Side Show Alley, animal parades, wood chopping competitions, agricultural displays, equestrian events and Showbags, usually containing food items (such as confectionery) and novelty items. If you are in Brissy at the time, it really is not to be missed!
In Musgrave Park, the Greek Paniyiri Festival is another popular family entertainment event. Brisbane has a large Greek population who come out in force to celebrate Greek culture. Offers authentic Greek foods and entertainment.
The St. George Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF) was held in July/August, but from 2010, early November, is in a variety of venues around Brisbane, including the Regent Cinema in Queen Street Mall and Palace Cinemas in Fortitude Valley. BIFF features new films and retrospectives by domestic and international filmmakers along with seminars and awards.
Brisbane has been named one of the world's top 5 hotspots for music by the influential US entertainment Billboard magazine. A night out in Brisbane is not complete without experiencing some of the live music on offer. The Valley has the highest concentration of bars, pubs and clubs anywhere in Australia and in 2005, was given Australia's first and only "Special Entertainment Precinct" zoning, which protects and promotes the live music scene.
If you are looking for what's happening in Brisbane, most music and entertainment stores as well as some hipster restaurants and cafés offer free entertainment magazines like Rave, Time-Off, Tsunami, Scene and City News that list what's coming up within the next month or so.
Though you might find most musicians playing in the numerous bars and clubs around the CBD, West End and The Valley, there are some venues which are geared specifically toward hosting bands or artists that are on official tours. Some events allows under 18s in, but not all, so it's best to check beforehand.
The Valley Fiesta is an annual three-day event. It was launched by Brisbane Marketing in 2002 to promote Fortitude Valley as a hub for arts and youth culture. It features free live music, market stalls, food and drink from many local restaurants and cafés, and other entertainment.
Brisbane and the Gold Coast also play host to a number of nationwide electronic and rock music festivals, mostly geared toward the younger crowd.
Whether watching or participating, Brisbane has a great range of sporting events.
Voted as one of the best stadiums in Australia, Suncorp Stadium is host to the Brisbane Broncos NRL and Queensland Reds Rugby Union teams in the winter, and Brisbane Roar Football (Soccer) Club in the summer. Other events such as the NRL State of Origin are also a very big draw-card. Most matches cost between $25–40 for an adult.
On the south side of city at Woolloongabba is the Brisbane Cricket Ground, or commonly known as the 'Gabba. Here, the Brisbane Lions AFL team plays in the winter, and all forms of cricket can be viewed in the summer.
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