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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    Brisbane Festival's Sunsuper Riverfire crescendos as box offfice, attendance records tumble

    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    Sunday, October 01, 2017

    Brisbane Festival's Sunsuper Riverfire crescendos as box offfice, attendance records tumble

    Queensland’s largest arts and cultural event, Brisbane Festival, wrapped 22 Days of Wonder last night, with record-breaking results. 

    Premier and Arts Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said this year’s festival had engaged almost 3000 artists, arts workers and volunteers and presented works from 28 talented Queensland companies. 

    “I’m proud the Queensland Government is a major supporter of Brisbane Festival with an investment of $19.76 million over four years,” the Premier said. 

    “It’s Queensland’s largest cultural event and a tourism drawcard that last year generated more than $33 million of direct expenditure into Brisbane’s economy. 

    “Brisbane Festival continues to build Queensland’s reputation as a global arts destination. 

    “More than one million people participated in this year’s city-wide Festival, which encompassed 20 venues in 2017 including QPAC, Brisbane Powerhouse, La Boite’s Roundhouse Theatre, The Tivoli, Kelvin Grove’s QUT Creative Industries Precinct, South Bank Piazza, and Festival hub Treasury Brisbane Arcadia,” she said. 

    Brisbane Festival CEO Valmay Hill praised the Brisbane Festival 500-strong team, including more than 350 community volunteers.

    “These kinds of landmark events are only possible through hard work, collaboration and community spirit, and I applaud the Brisbane Festival team on continuing to raise the bar year after year,” Ms Hill said. 

    “$2.6 million in ticket sales, more than 20 sell-out shows and a significant increase in attendance at our main hub Treasury Brisbane Arcadia this year are a testament to the people of Brisbane embracing September as Festival season.” 

    Over three weeks, Brisbane Festival broke even more records by delivering more than 540 performances across 60 productions, including five world premiere commissions, 11 Australian premieres and 25 Queensland premieres, with more than 1,400 local, national and international artists taking part in the city-wide cultural celebration.

    Festival highlights included Strut & Fret’s Spiegeltent spectacular Limbo Unhinged; the Lyric Hammersmith’s controversial courtroom drama Terror; China’s breathtaking dance-drama Under Siege; and international music headliner London Grammar; all of which played to capacity crowds and critical acclaim.

    “This year, we challenged audiences to trust their guts, dive in and take chances, and we’re proud to report that our challenge was met with open arms, hearts and minds,” Brisbane Festival Artistic Director David Berthold said. 

    “This was the biggest Brisbane Festival ever. The biggest box office, the biggest crowds at our hub at Treasury Brisbane Arcadia mostly enjoying free shows, the most number of artists, the most number of performances. And the work on offer lifted our view to new horizons. This is a testament to Queensland’s insatiable appetite for world-class entertainment and the kinds of unique experiences that only an international arts festival can provide,” Berthold said.

    “As the fireworks fall on this record-breaking year, we toast our incredible artists, sponsors, donors and most importantly our audiences, who all play a vital role in reinforcing Brisbane’s position as a celebrated creative capital and cultural destination.” 

    Geoff Hogg, Managing Director Queensland of Brisbane Festival’s Star Partner, The Star Entertainment Group, applauded the Brisbane Festival team on a record-breaking year.

    “Over the last 22 days, Brisbane Festival has generated unprecedented energy and excitement for locals and visitors alike, who have all come together in a shared goal to celebrate Brisbane,” Mr Hogg said.

    “The Star Entertainment Group is proud to have played a role in delivering this year’s world-class event, and we were particularly thrilled to welcome 300,000 guests to Treasury Brisbane Arcadia across the three-week celebration.

    “Brisbane Festival is one of city’s most cherished annual events, helping to grow the culture landscape and position Brisbane as a world-class tourism destination. We look forward with anticipation to the return of a creative, vibrant and fun-filled program in 2018.”

    Theatre Republic at Kelvin Grove’s QUT Creative Industries Precinct proved one of this year’s most popular hubs, with more than 14 on-the-edge productions across four performance spaces drawing impassioned crowds.

    Taking pride of place at the site was Laser Beak Man, createdby home-grown heroes Dead Puppet Society and Tim Sharp, which attracted nightly standing ovations and unanimous critical acclaim during its world premiere season.

    QUT Creative Industries Executive Dean, Mandy Thomas, said QUT was particularly proud of Brisbane Festival’s continued investment in local artists.

    “Brisbane Festival enriches and celebrates our creative culture and economy in a very real sense, and QUT is thrilled to be a part of it,” Ms Thomas said.

    “We are proud to host Theatre Republic at our Creative Industries Precinct; a unique and visionary venue designed by QUT alumnus and staff member, Dr Sarah Winter.

    “QUT is particularly proud of the strong presence of alumni in this year’s program which included more than 15 graduates.”

    Saturday’s Festival finale, Sunsuper Riverfire, celebrated its 20th year in spectacular style, drawing almost 500,000 people to the river’s edge and attracting an at-home television of audience of more than 250,000 via Channel Nine.

    Lasting more than 20 minutes, Australia’s longest fireworks display ignited the city skyline, with a corresponding soundtrack playing homage to the past 20 years of the event. 

    Channel Nine Managing Director Kylie Blucher said Nine was delighted to see Sunsuper Riverfire continue to attract unprecedented crowds 20 years after its inception.

    “Each year, Brisbane Festival successfully brings the community together through a sensational program of events, and this year was no different,” Ms Blucher said.

    “Sunsuper Riverfire is a fitting finale, captivating audiences both at home and on the banks of the Brisbane River in an unrivalled celebration of our great city.”


    About Brisbane Festival  

    Brisbane Festival is an international arts festival and Queensland’s largest cultural event, which attracts an audience of over one million people every year.  

    Running from the 9th to the 30th of September 2017, Brisbane Festival is renowned and celebrated for connecting local and international artists and audiences through a captivating program. 

    Under the Artistic Direction of David Berthold, Brisbane Festival 2017 boasted a spectacular line up of breath-taking 60 individual performances by over 1400 extraordinary artists that exploded across Brisbane’s hottest cultural precincts from September 9-30, closing with the highly anticipated and much-loved Festival favourite, Sunsuper Riverfire



    Media contact:  Susan McGrady-Premier's Office 0488 996 667