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Brisbane Arts Festivals

Brisbane Arts Festivals

Every year as the Brisbane Festival approaches, I am taken back to the eighties, when I used to watch my daughter and fellow dancers from her dance school ride the Brisbane City Council Float through the Brisbane CBD in the Warana Parade which then marked the beginning of the Warana Festival’s two weeks of celebrations.

The Brisbane Festival as it is now known, evolved from Brisbane’s Warana Festival, first held in 1961. Warana, meaning blue skies, was the beginning of Arts Festivals in Queensland. The Grand Parade of floats down the city-streets was a major event and the festival was a celebration of Spring and the city’s cultural activities.

Warana floats would promote locally made television programmes, now a thing of the past, as Brisbane’s culture gets overlooked for imported entertainment and media.

The parades, which had once been city-stoppers, ended in the early 1990s.

Floats with beauty queens had become rather too unsophisticated for a city suddenly growing in culture in the aftermath of Expo ’88. The Brisbane Festival was developed by the Queensland Government and Brisbane City Council in 1996 as an initiative to foster the arts.

The Brisbane Festival, which this year runs from 4th – 25th Sept, is one of Australia’s premier festivals and Brisbane’s annual cultural event.  It commences with the spectacular QBE Riverfire night on the 4th Sept with the night sky exploding with fireworks, thumping beat sounds and over half a million spectators on Brisbane’s riverbanks, backyards and balconies looking up in awe.

An early component of the Festival was Warana Writers Weekend – Thomas Keneally, Manning Clark, Nancy Cato and Andre Brink in 1989 – which has become the hugely successful annual five-day Brisbane Writers Festival.  This runs from 1st – 5th September – refer Julia Starky’s blog dated 25th August 10.

Yours in Arts Festivals

Angie Rapisarda

Belinda Vesey-Brown About the author
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