A Bold Opening Weekend

28 Jul

Media Release
A Bold Opening Weekend

Smoking Ceremonies, Musical Surprises and a heavenly laser and light installation signal a bold start to Brisbane Festival 2020

Brisbane Festival returns brighter and bolder in 2020 with a joy-filled opening weekend that will cleanse, reset and illuminate the city while filling it with music, art and excitement.

The anticipated annual festivities begin as Brisbane Festival and Cross River Rail present Opening Weekend from Friday 4 September with a program of events, performances and experiences that acknowledge the challenges Brisbane faced this year and offer a beacon of hope to its residents and visitors.

Three weeks of celebration commence with Jumoo; a special smoking ceremony on 4 September from 6pm.

Brisbane Festival Artistic Director Louise Bezzina said Jumoo – which means “smoking” in the language of the Turrbal people - will herald a fresh and peaceful start to Brisbane Festival while honouring and paying respect to the city’s First People.

Jumoo (smoking) ceremony will lead Brisbane respectfully into the Festival and provide the reset and refocus we need

Louise Bezzina

“I’m delighted to reunite with long-time collaborator of Brisbane Festival, Tribal Experiences Managing Director and Yuggera and Turrbal man Shannon Ruska, who will direct the celebration and connection to country with ceremonies taking place at South Bank and Roma Street Parkland.”

As the smoke clears, Brisbane is invited to turn its gaze skyward for the first of many Sunsuper Night Sky laser and light experiences.

“Every Friday and Saturday night during Brisbane Festival, Sunsuper Night Sky will beam from rooftops across Brisbane’s skyline, projecting an awe-inspiring laser light installation set to an ethereal contemporary soundtrack,” Ms Bezzina said.

Created by renowned Australian audio-visual artist Robin Fox, this exquisite installation is visible from hundreds of vantage points across Brisbane, from the deck of a CityCat to a suburban veranda as well as numerous suggested walking tours.

Residents can rediscover their city by night by downloading the Sunsuper Night Sky Walking Circuits map at

It’s not just the heavens set to surprise and delight Festival-goers on opening weekend with celebratory flash mobs popping up throughout the city in All You Need Is Love.

From Friday 4 September to Sunday 6 September, Brisbane’s favourite brass band Excelsior, led by the fabulously frivolous Fez Faanana, will entertain without notice at key Festival hubs, markets and a raft of surprising Brisbane venues.

“An uplifting playlist reflecting the theme of All You Need Is Love will serve as a loud, proud and bold declaration of love from Brisbane Festival to the city,” Ms Bezzina said.

Messengers of Brisbane, a public art installation featuring six Gouldian finches perched atop some of the city’s most iconic landmarks will be unveiled on 4 September.

Created by internationally renowned visual artist Florentijn Hofman in collaboration with Brisbane’s UAP (Urban Art Projects), the vibrant, larger-than-life sculptures can be seen at Queensland Museum, QPAC, South Bank, Brisbane Powerhouse, the Goodwill Bridge and Brisbane City Hall throughout the Festival.

The Little Red Company brings its online smash, The IsoLate Late Show, to life at The Tivoli with three performances on Thursday 3 and Friday 4 September featuring the same blend of show-stopping songs, rapid-fire banter and jaw-dropping local talent that won it a legion of fans during lockdown.

“The past few months have been challenging for many people, so we are throwing a party where everyone is invited to let their hair down and rediscover what they love about Brisbane,” Bezzina said.

“We are celebrating the talent of boldly Brisbane artists, declaring our love for the people of Brisbane, welcoming visitors to our city and putting on a Festival that everyone can access and safely enjoy.

“All You Need is Love will put a spring in your step, Messengers of Brisbane will put a smile on your face and Sunsuper Night Sky will inspire you to look to the heavens, contemplate life and wonder at the beauty of our city and our world,” she said.

View Program

Brisbane Festival expresses deep respect to and acknowledges the First People of this Country.