Brisbane Festival - top picks for what to see this September

As the calendar edges closer to September, there’s a buzz that starts to weave its way through Brisbane as we prepare to welcome BrisFest for another year.

This year is no different as a Brightly Brisbane Festival lights up more than 222 locations across the city from 3-25 September. There are world premieres of iconic Brisbane stories and welcome home concerts for Brisbane-grown superstars, plus the return of the much-loved, family-favourite Sunsuper Riverfire.

We’ve pulled together our top picks of the free, family-friendly, and straight-up inspiring events worth adding to your Brisbane Festival wish list.

For one-of-a-kind inspiration

Airship Orchestra - Northshore Hamilton

Every year there is always that one event you shouldn't miss! This year it's Airship Orchestra with its mesmerising inflatables up to six metres high and arresting orchestra score. The orchestra will spend the first two weeks of the festival on Brisbane's Art Boat before docking in Hamilton to beckon locals with their multi-sensory installation. Believe us when we say this is THAT event for BrisFest 2021!

Brisbane's Art Boat

Hughman - BOQ Festival Garden, South Bank Parklands

Light up the night with the unbridled joy of Hugh Sheridan's new show, Hughman, as it premieres in Queensland. Hugh and a crew of Australia's top dancers take cues from disco and cabaret to spin a show that's an entertaining mash-up of music, colour and costume. After this hour of power, you'll be walking into the night with your groove back. 

Cost: $35-50 plus booking fee

Housewarming - Princess Theatre, Woolloongabba

Brisbane's newest home of art and music is throwing a Housewarming party and we're all invited. From 11-12 September, Queensland's oldest standing theatre, The Princess Theatre, will be a hive of music and artistic inspiration, with more than 20 local musical and artistic acts taking to the stage. Join in the festivities and turn up the volume for this housewarming like no other. 

Cost: From $35

For family-friendly fun inspiration

Introduce the family to the magic of art, dance and performance.

Messengers of Brisbane - various locations across Brisbane

Up the ante on your usual game of I Spy and keep your eyes peeled for the return of internationally renowned artist, Florentijin Hofman's, Gouldian Finches. These spectacularly coloured birds will be flying back into town and will be perched on iconic Brisbane locations. Take advantage of sunny skies and e-bike your way to seeing these feathered friends.

Summer Play Factor (SPF) - BOQ Festival Garden, South Bank Parklands

Brisbane's own Flipside Circus brings us the spirit of summer with their premiere 'extravagant-sundae-of-a-circus' Summer Play Factor (SPF) show from 21-23 September. With two shows daily (11am, 1pm) this combo of circus, live DJ, and dance is a chance to slip, slop, slap and soak up the sunshine in all its summer delight. 

Cost: $15

Auntie's Fiafia Night - BOQ Festival Garden, South Bank Parklands

Get ready to clap the night away in this celebration of Pacific song and dance by circus troupe, Casus Circus. The 75-minute Auntie's Fiafia Night show combines gravity-defying acrobatic moves with traditional slap and fire dances, chants, and ancient urban legends. 

Hot tip: Book the Saturday 4pm show and enjoy a family dinner after at a nearby restaurant. 

Cost: $20-35

Auntie's Fiafia Night

Sunsuper Riverfire - Brisbane River and surrounds

See the city skyline burst into colour and light with Sunsuper Riverfire. A spectacular display of fireworks will be launched from bridges, barges and city rooftops. Make sure you get your viewing spot early to see the opening smoking ceremony and air displays from the Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force.

For free inspiration

If you've maxed out your ticket budget, keep your Brisbane Festival run going with these top free events.

Street Serenades - various suburbs across Brisbane

Take international names like Boy & Bear, Christina Anu and Montaigne, pair them with local favourites Queensland Ballet and Luke Kennedy and mix with indie up-and-comers Aya J, Babushka and Hello Jane to create Brisbane's biggest music extravaganza Street Serenades - serenading 190 Brisbane suburbs. Stay tuned to see when your suburb will be treated to a cul-de-sac concert and get ready to dance in the streets.

Street Seranades

IMB Institute of Light, BOQ Festival Garden, South Bank Parklands

Harness the power of light in this game of hide and seek to unlock the secrets of the natural world at the IMB Institute of Light in the BOQ Festival Garden. Bring the family along for this mystery plot by techo-troublemakers, Counterpilot who have taken the University of Queensland's Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) work and hidden them for rediscovery.

Piano Burning, Northshore Hamilton

Celebrate letting go, the changing forms of material possessions and a multi-sensory performance with the magical and masterful experience of Piano Burning. First ignited in 1968 by New Zealand-born composer, Annea Lockwood, this is a unique and intriguing work for the truly curious.

Want more?

BrisFest 2021 kicks off its Brightly Brisbane season from 3 September 2021. Explore the full program and find more ways to keep exploring your own backyard and creating Brisbetter memories online.

Editor's note: The featured content in Brisbane Explore is created to inspire residents and visitors to plan a day out exploring Brisbane and to buy local as part of the city's Economic Recovery Plan. Brisbane City Council disclaims any relationship with, or endorsement of, businesses featured in this video.

Come back regularly to check for new and updated content and don't forget to share your favourite places on Instagram using #Brisbetter!

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