The Top 50 Events to Attend in Brisbane

The Top 50 Events in Brisbane to Attend

22 min read
50 brilliant things to do in the Sunshine Capital.
The lush, sub-tropical climes of Brisbane offer the perfect backdrop to feast the senses and immerse yourself in cultural experiences.

As the nation’s 3rd largest capital, sunny Brisbane is growing its reputation as Australia’s ‘new world’ city. For a relatively small population, Brisbane hosts way more than its share of world class cultural, arts, music and sporting events.

The city also ranks high on the world scale of digital connectivity and harnessing technology.

It’s amazing what you’ll discover in Brisbane.

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Brisbane’s Top 50 Events: The Categories

  • The Arts, Ideas & Design Events
  • Exhibitions & Shows
  • Festivals & Community Events
  • Film, Music & Theatre Events
  • Food & Wine Events
  • Sports Events

A roundup of Brisbane's top 50 must-attend events. Click To Tweet

The Arts, Ideas & Design

Brisbane locals are spoilt for choice when it comes to cutting edge art and design events.

1. Brisbane Art Design at MoB

10 May – 11 August 2019

The Brisbane Art Design Festival, a program developed by the Museum of Brisbane, celebrates trailblazing ideas by local artists and designers for two and a half weeks across the city of Brisbane.

It puts the spotlight on cultural identity through the lens of art and design, with exhibitions, performances, workshops and studio tours.

2. Queensland Poetry Festival

22 – 25 August 2019

The Queensland Poetry Festival (QPF) showcases the many forms of poetry, through poetry slam, spoken word poetry as well as the genre-crossing ekphrastic poetry and poetry in film.

Be swept away by the power of words from the local poetry scene’s most avant garde.

3. Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival

25 – 29 August

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival (MBFF) is the Queensland fashion event of the year, with fashion shows and other exciting showcases of the best local, national and emerging fashion designers. Fashion lovers, media and industry leaders flock to see the new Spring/Summer designs on the runway, which coincides with the collections arriving in stores.

Fashion enthusiasts can buy straight away, giving a sales boost for designers.

4. Brisbane Writers Festival

5 – 8 September 2019

For more than fifty years, readers and writers have descended upon Queensland’s capital to celebrate literature at the Brisbane Writers Festival. In recent years the festival has attracted more than 20,000 readers, aspiring writers, established authors and thought leaders, who come together to share emerging stories and ideas.

A must for lovers of the written word.

5. Brisbane Open House

12 – 13 October 2019

Brisbane Open House is a free event that gives rare public access to some of the city’s most fascinating spaces.

Held every year alongside World Architecture Day, you’ll see behind-the-scenes of design studios, places of worship, heritage buildings, medical laboratories and emergency facilities, and learn about the architecture, engineering and history of significant Brisbane buildings.

Events Calendar

See all these Brisbane events, plus ones from Sydney and Melbourne in a interactive calendar.

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A list of Brisbane's must-attend exhibitions and shows Click To Tweet

Exhibitions & Shows

There’s no shortage of expos and fairs in Brisbane, from the traditional Royal Queensland Show (The Ekka) to modern pop-culture and everything in between.

1. The Ekka

9 – 18 August 2019

The Royal Queensland Show, fondly known as The Ekka, is Queensland’s biggest event of the year with almost half a million people coming to see the best of the state’s fresh produce, animals, food and wine and world-class performers.

Showbags, carnival rides, competitions and fun educational activities round out this long-running Queensland tradition – held annually since 1876 – for a unique event for all ages to enjoy.

2. Brisbane Boat Show

23 – 25 August 2019

The Brisbane Boat Show is one of Australia’s biggest boat shows, held at the scenic and central Southbank. Be inspired by amazing, locally made riggs and check out all the latest boating equipment, including fishing, safety gear and electronics to keep your own rigg in ship shape.

A must for marine enthusiasts.

3. OZ Comic Con

21 – 22 September 2019

Oz Comic-Con at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre is one of Australia’s best-known pop culture expos. It’s fabulously geeky fun for all ages, with all the comic, anime cosplay and video game fun you can possibly squeeze into the 2-day event.

4. Supanova Pop Culture Expo

8 – 10 November 2019

Unleash your inner geek and get your cosplay (‘cos’tume role-‘play’) on at the Supanova Pop Culture Expo. It’s the ultimate experience for pop culture fans who come to explore the imaginary worlds of comics, anime, gaming, science fiction and nostalgia.

Local pop culture artists are also welcomed to share their work with the passionate audience of all ages.

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Brisbane's top festivals and celebrations you simply have to be part of Click To Tweet

Festivals & Celebrations

Brisbane has a strong thirst for cultural celebrations, with an incredible variety of festivals celebrating food, art, music and diverse local and overseas customs.

1. Paniyiri Greek Festival

16 – 17 May 2020

Get your Greek on at the annual Paniyiri Greek Festival in South Brisbane, a colourful celebration of food, music, dance and more food.

Try your hand (or feet!) at grape stomping, learn to cook Greek-style at cooking demonstrations and enjoy live entertainment at Australia’s longest running Greek festival.

2. Buddha Birth Day Festival

3 – 5 May 2019

Celebrate the birthday of Gautama Buddha at the Buddha Birth Day Festival, which has run for 23 years and has grown in popularity to become the biggest annual Buddhist Birth Day Festival in the world.

It’s a great day out for the whole family, with free entry to The Parklands at Southbank for cultural performances, customs and vegetarian food.

3. Brisbane Street Art Festival

2 – 17 May 2020

The Brisbane Street Art Festival is fast establishing itself as an exciting public art festival. Running since 2016, it welcomes all art forms to participate.

The 2020 program promises a huge range of works including live mural art, music, theatre, exhibitions and creative master classes and workshops.

4. Anywhere Festival

7 – 24 May 2020

The Anywhere Festival takes music, art and performance out of the usual places you’d normally see them – theatres, galleries, museums and studios – and out into the streets, the corners, the spaces in between, literally anywhere you’d least expect.

It’s a quirky, exciting and eye-opening way to experience the arts in Brisbane.

5. Redcliffe KiteFest

13 – 14 June 2020

See world-class kites and enjoy non-stop family entertainment at the Redcliffe KiteFest at Pelican Park, Clontarf, 35 minutes north of Brisbane.

Kite flying competitions, live music and plenty of affordable activities for the kids make it the ultimate family day out.

6. Quandamooka Festival

1 June – 31 August 2019

Experience first-hand the living culture of the Nughi, Nunukel and Goenpul Clans of the Quandamooka People, the original inhabitants of the coastal region East of Brisbane.

Enjoy a huge range of immersive activities: whale watching, cultural tours, corroborees, music, art, dance, bush tucker dining and cultural talks.

7. Melt: Festival of Queer Arts and Culture

27 June – 7 July 2019

The MELT Festoval of Queer Arts and Culture celebrates the diversity and vitality of Brisbane’s LGBTIQ+ communities.

The quest for equality is central to the festival’s rich array of art, music and theatre, and the festival actively welcomes people of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities and abilities to participate.

8. Brisbane Festival

7 – 28 September 2019

The Brisbane Festival is one of the Australia’s leading arts international festivals. It brings a thrilling program of theatre, music, dance, circus and opera to the Queensland capital.

The riverfront comes alive with as many as one million visitors who come to celebrate the boundless spirit of Brisbane’s culture.

9. Abbey Medieval Festival

11 -12 July 2020

Welcome to the Middle Ages! Cast yourself back in time, to Europe and the Middle East around 600-1600AD, at the 31st Abbey Medieval Festival. Create your own medieval fun with feasting, jousting, re-enactments and live music.

Proceeds from the event support the running of the Abbey Museum of Art & Archeology.

10. India Day Fair

17 August 2019

Every year, Brisbane’s India Day Fair commemorates the 1947 independence of India from the British.

It’s a free community event that celebrates Indian food, music, dance and fashion, attended by multicultural leaders and people from all walks of life who want to immerse in a day of Indian culture.

11. Wonderland Festival

21 November – 1 December 2019

Experience the mysterious, glamorous and avant-garde world of burlesque performance at the Australian Burlesque Festival.

Explore the many sizzling forms of burlesque dance, from classic strip-tease to modern neo-burlesque.

12. Woodford Folk Festival

27 December – 1 January

Every year, an old dairy farm at Woodfordia is transformed into a village housing more than 130,000 visitors at the Woodford Folk Festival. The sub-tropical landscape creates a lush, natural setting for a vibrant, inclusive festival that’s set up and run with the help of several thousand volunteers.

The festival hosts hundreds of national and international artists, musicians and presenters, closing with a bang at the renowned Fire Event on New Year’s Day.

13. New Year’s Eve Fireworks Spectacular

31 December

New Years Eve in Brisbane goes off with a bang and plenty of fireworks to farewell the old and bring in the new year ahead. See the main fireworks display at Southbank from various vantage points along the riverfront.

The 8.30pm session is perfect for families with younger kids, and is followed by a spectacular midnight show. Free entertainment and a fabulously uplifting atmosphere.

14. BrisAsia Festival

1 – 29 February 2020

The BrisAsia Festival is an annual celebration of diverse Asian food, art and cultures, both contemporary and traditional. Multiple events around Brisbane include the colourful Lunar New Year celebration at Fortitude Valley’s Chinatown Mall in Fortitude Valley, the BrisAsia Festival Summer Party and the Holi Festival of Colour.

Enjoy dumplings, dancing, cosplay, comedy, yoga, art and live music. Seriously something for everyone!

Events Calendar

See all these Brisbane events, plus ones from Sydney and Melbourne in a interactive calendar.

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Brisbane's finest events for film, music and theatre buffs Click To Tweet

Film, Music & Theatre Events

Film, music and theatre lovers have plenty to feast their senses on, from classical and cabaret to contemporary film and hilarious comedy.

1. Queensland Music Festival

5 – 28 July 2019

The Queensland Music Festival is a state-wide celebration of music, with its home base in Brisbane.

It started out as a biennial festival, and has grown over 20 years to become an annual event featuring hundreds of live music experiences with outdoor opera, intimate concerts and mass community participation activities. An absolute must for music lovers.

2. BIGSOUND Festival

3 – 6 September 2019

Discover a huge variety of up-and-coming Australian music at the annual BIGSOUND Festival.

It’s a four-day showcase that attracts musicians, industry experts, brands, media and music lovers, incorporating both the BIGSOUND Festival and the BIGSOUND Conference.

3. Brisbane International Film Festival

3 – 13 October 2019

The Brisbane International Film Festival is a major event on the Australian film calendar. It showcases contemporary Australian and international films, including documentaries, new releases, animation, short films, children’s films and retrospectives.

See live talks and panel discussions about the latest in screen culture.

4. Asia Pacific Screen Awards

21 November 2019

The Brisbane-based Asia Pacific Screen Awards celebrates films produced in more than 70 countries throughout Asia. It’s a significant cultural program that has endorsements from UNESCO and FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers Associations).

Enjoy a huge range of feature length films that contribute to a better understanding of diverse cultures through the stories that emerge from the Asia Pacific region.

5. Brisbane Comedy Festival

21 February – 22 March 2020

The Brisbane Comedy Festival is Australia’s fastest growing comedy event, with the funniest of the funny performing their side-splitting, thigh-slapping shows at venues all around Brisbane.

You’ll see all styles at the Brisbane Comedy Festival: absurdist, standup, improv, satire, magic, sketch and more, and the 70+ comedians are bound to have you in stitches.

6. Queensland Cabaret Festival

21 – 30 June 2020

Such was the popularity of the Brisbane Cabaret Festival since launching in 2000 that it’s now morphed into the bigger and even more spectacular Queensland Cabaret Festival.

June is cabaret month and features a jam-packed program of star performers at top venues around Brisbane and further afield in the sunny state.

7. Festival of Tibet

26 – 28 April 2019

The Festival of Tibet celebrates Tibetan culture through philosophical discussions, live music, workshops and the sharing of stories.

It includes free and ticketed sessions, with a huge range of heartwarming experiences for all ages: momo making, chakra healing, workshops, exhibitions, public talks, prayer flag painting for kids.

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Sample Brisbane's finest food and wine events Click To Tweet

Food & Wine Events

Lush, sub-tropical Brisbane is the perfect setting to enjoy the best food, wine and flavours from local producers and beyond.

1. International Cake Show Australia

15 – 17 May 2020

Indulge your sweet tooth at the International Cake Show, which showcases Australian cakes, sweets and chocolate. Everyone’s welcome to come along to enjoy the party atmosphere, which has a distinct ‘Willy Wonka’ feel about it.

The entry fee is minimal, with most things inside free, making it affordable fun for families.

2. Scenic Rim Winter Harvest Festival

6 July 2019

The Scenic Rim is a beautiful region one hour south of Brisbane, inland from the Gold Coast. Every year it hosts Eat Local Week to celebrate the delicious food and fresh produce right on one’s front doorstep. It’s a fun, affordable experience with something for all ages to enjoy.

Learn cooking skills at demonstrations from Queensland’s leading chefs, meet the producers and, of course, eat the delicious offerings with many ‘free from’ options.

3. Regional Flavours

20 – 21 July

Regional Flavours at Brisbane’s Southbank Parklands is a veritable foodie haven with Queensland’s best produce, wine and culinary talent on show. Enjoy delicious food, wine, beer and live entertainment with plenty of activities for kids.

Learn gourmet cooking tips from chef talks, buy fresh produce, desserts, preserves, sauces, cheeses and nuts from more than 80 stall holders. Free entry.

4. Night Noodle Markets

24 July – 4 August 2019

The popular Night Noodle Markets return to Brisbane in 2020, a week long session of pop-up stalls featuring divine, spicy and aromatic dishes. Arrive hungry so you can enjoy plenty of the delectable options.

The Night Noodle Markets are a part of the Brisbane Good Food Month, one of Australia’s biggest food festivals that travels around the capitals.

5. Moreton Bay Food and Wine Festival

7 – 8 September 2019

A firm favourite with foodies, the Moreton Bay Food + Wine Festival is all about eating, drinking and enjoying.

Delight in the gourmet food and wine, in the beautiful setting of Moreton Bay. Entry to the Festival Precinct is free, making it an affordable day out for families with plenty of fun and live entertainment.

6. Beer Incider Experience

20 – 21 September 2019

Think delicious food, beer and cider with great Aussie bands for entertainment. Beer Incider is a fun festival where you can taste the wares of more than 50 independent beer and cider makers from all over Australia.

The perfect way to enjoy a day out in Brisbane.

7. Good Food & Wine Show

25 – 27 October 2019

The Good Food & Wine Show is a travelling event that comes to Brisbane each November, after stints in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. It showcases the latest in great food and gourmet cooking, and features local Queensland wines for the perfect meal accompaniment.

See demonstrations from your favourite chefs and enjoy sampling the many delights on offer.

8. Oktoberfest Brisbane

11 – 13 & 18 – 20 October 2019

Grab your dirndl and lederhosen and head on down to the Brisbane Showgrounds for Australia’s biggest Oktoberfest. It’s a great chance to experience German culture, with German-brewed beers, hearty food and fabulous entertainment.

Think schnitzels, pretzels and Bavarian breakfasts, sausages, sauerkraut and black forest cake, with live music and yodelling. There’s even a Kids Zone with puppet shows and free rides.

Events Calendar

See all these Brisbane events, plus ones from Sydney and Melbourne in a interactive calendar.

Show me the calendar
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Lycra lovers, here's a list of Brisbane's must-see sports events Click To Tweet

Sports Events

Queenslanders love their sports and there’s plenty happening in and around Brisbane. See world class athletes compete, or join in one of Brisbane’s many fun runs and marathon events.

1. INAS Global Games

12 – 19 October 2019

The INAS Global Games is the world’s largest sporting event for elite athletes with intellectual impairment.

More than 1000 athletes will come to the Brisbane games to compete across ten different sports, an inspiring celebration of sport, culture, success and ability.

2. Brisbane Track Cycling World Cup

13 – 15 December 2019

Brisbane’s world-class Anna Meares Velodrome will host Round 5 of the 2019-2020 Track Cycling World Cup.

It’s the first major world cycling competition held in Australia since 2012, not to be missed by cycling enthusiasts.

3. Straddie Salute Triathlon Festival

17 – 19 May 2019

Stradbroke Island is the home of fun and challenge every year at the Straddie Salute.

Plenty of events to choose from, including triathlon, duathlon, fun run and kids events.

4. Brisbane Marathon Festival

6 – 7 June 2020

The Brisbane Marathon is a popular event on Australia’s distance running calendar, and it’s also one of the longest held at 28 years in 2020.

It attracts overseas and local runners alike, who enjoy the challenge as well as the fun, ‘VIP’ atmosphere.

5. The Brisbane Trail Ultra Running Festival

5 – 7 July 2019

An ultra-challenging trail run through mixed terrains of sub-tropical Brisbane and the D’Aguilar National Park, with a choice of distances – 30mk, 60km, 110km – for those not quite ready for the ultimate 100 mile experience.

6. Bridge to Brisbane

August 2020 TBC

The annual Bridge to Brisbane has been running for more than 23 years and has raised significant funds for Queensland charities.

Runners can opt for 5km or 10km, with plenty of community spirit at the end of the race with cafes and stalls for a good hearty breakfast.

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About the Author

Gav George

When his school music teacher loaned him a cassette tape (yes, he's that old) of a fusion band, Gav entered the jazz world after years of classical music training. He was lucky enough to play with some of the greatest living jazz musicians and toured key festivals. Then Enhance founder Alison Clarke called on Gav to work on the company's marketing. This led him to his new passion of… marketing! Gav oversees Enhance's marketing initiatives, gets a kick out of connecting with clients and unearthing new talent. Gav still has that cassette tape, so if his music teacher reads this, please get in touch so he can return it.

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Comments 1

  1. Thanks for sharing such a great post . You have explained everything about the events in Brisbane. I am wishing to see sports events in Brisbane, whenever I visit. Keep posting informative blogs about Brisbane.

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