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Arts and cultural event guide 2017

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From surfing to sand sculptures, dance to drama and busking to blues festivals, 2017 is big for cultural events on the Gold Coast.

Many events are family-friendly and free and all of them are designed to get Gold Coasters and tourists alike exploring performance, art, the landscape, design, music and culture.

More Gold Coast has compiled a list of fantastic arts and cultural events in 2017…

Burleigh Single Fin Festival | 7-8 January 2017

This year’s event kicks off with a charity luncheon at Burleigh Brewing Co. before two days of surfing takes place, with the focus placed firmly on single fin boards. Some of the world’s best surfers compete at this event and Gold Coast’s own rising stars – Hanlon Brothers – are locked in for the musical accompaniment, right on Burleigh Hill.

Visit More Gold Coast’s events calendar for more information about the Burleigh Single Fin Festival.

Sand Safari Arts Festival | 10-26 February 2017

The 2017 Sand Safari Arts Festival takes centre stage on the sands and streets of Surfers Paradise this summer. The festival includes the Australian Sand Sculpting Championships with the theme mermaids and mythical creatures,  a sand trail from Tweed Heads to Loganholme and sand art activities and sculpting sessions. UK’s renowned inflatablist Luke Egan (AKA Filthy Luker) also returns with his bold, playful and clever inflatable art interventions along with street artist Pedro Estrellas.

Visit More Gold Coast’s events calendar for more information about the Sand Safari Arts Festival.

Signs of the Times: a Gold Coast City Gallery exhibition | 18 February – 9 April 2017

Signs of the Time will showcase local and international street artists from the collection of art consultant and collector Ken McGregor. Artists include Blek Le Rat (France), Banksy (UK), Swoon (USA), Bambi (UK), E.L.K (Australia), Lister (Australia), Stewy (UK), D*face (UK) and A1One (Iran/Germany). Images of Bambi’s iconic Amy Winehouse portrait, the godfather of stencil art Blek Le Rat’s statement self-portrait The Man Who Walks Through Walls, will be showcased alongside A1One’s anti corporation and Swoon’s social struggle artworks. Local artists include self-taught stencil artist E.L.K’s (Luke Cornish) soldiers and Lister’s (Anthony Lister)super heroes.

Visit More Gold Coast’s events calendar for more information about Signs of the Times.

Barebones Dance Workshop Festival | 18-20 February 2017 

Australia’s newest dance company, The Farm, will host a long weekend of workshops with some of the best teachers from across Australia and around the globe. Bare Bones is a unique place to share practice, ideas, technique and information. As well as workshops at the Miami location, there will be showings and performances conducted without artifice so people can discuss what and why. Apply by 15 January.

Visit More Gold Coast’s events calendar for more information about the Barebones Dance Workshop Festival.

Somerset Celebration of Literature | 15-17 March 2017

Somerset Celebration of Literature reaches beyond Somerset College to include the whole community. This inspiring three day festival, with ticket sales exceeding 20,000, regularly includes more than 30 acclaimed authors with interactive sessions and workshops for kids and adults. Keynotes for 2017 include Benjamin Law and Yassmin Abdel-Magied.

Visit More Gold Coast’s events calendar for more information about the Somerset Celebration of Literature.

Bleach* Festival | 31 March – 16 April 2017

Bigger, bolder and brighter than ever, Bleach runs over three weekends combining performance, music, food and a few surprises in the mix. The full program is due in the first week of February and the event takes place across the whole city.

Visit More Gold Coast’s events calendar for more information about the Bleach* Festival.

Hard and Fast: abstraction – pop – colourfield | 15 April – 21 May 2017

Hard and Fast surveys the origins of abstraction, pop and colour field in Australian art. Gold Coast City Gallery’s collection was established in 1968 at the height of abstractionism in Australia and amassed a superb collection that reflects this exciting art movement. The exhibition will also include examples from the next generation of artists who have been influenced by these movements.  Hard lines, cool colours and fast application will be explored in paintings, sculptures and works on paper by artists including David Aspden, Col Jordan, Richard Larter, Martin Sharp, Howard Arkley, Janet Dawson, John Coburn, Colin Lanceley, Ron Robertson-Swann, Robert Klippel and Peter Powditch. The exhibition is at Gold Coast City Gallery.

Visit More Gold Coast’s events calendar to check out more events happening in and around the Gold Coast.

Australian Street Entertainment Championships | 14-17 April 2017

Come Easter long weekend, Surfers Paradise transforms into a carnival of laughter and entertainment with the return of the Australian Street Entertainment Championships. Both amateur and professional performers will take to stages across Surfers Paradise, vying for the crowd’s attention. Entry is free, exit is by donation in the hat.

Visit More Gold Coast’s events calendar for more information about the Australian Street Entertainment Championships.

Gold Coast Film Festival | 19-30 April 2017

Gold Coast Film Festival, recognised by many in the film industry as a leader in regional film festivals, brings two big weeks of film related fun to the Gold Coast. Premieres and Q+As with directors and stars, workshops and behind the scenes intel, SIPFEST – the Gold Coast’s own short film festival, opportunities for local filmmakers and more – most films are screened at The Arts Centre Gold Coast. But be prepared for a few surprises this year. The program is due to be announced in early February.

Visit More Gold Coast’s events calendar for more information about the Gold Coast Film Festival.

Gold Coast Music Awards | 27 April 2017

Gold Coast Music Awards recognises and rewards exceptional Gold Coast talent. This is the event’s third year and sees a bold move from its spiritual home at Burleigh Brewing Co. to the beach at Surfers Paradise where it will take place the night before Surfers Paradise LIVE. Nominations for Gold Coast Music Awards open 20 January with winners announced on the awards night. Four bands will play live on the big stage with music industry guests in a VIP marquee to watch the presentation. More at gcmusicawards.com.

Visit More Gold Coast’s events calendar for more information about the Gold Coast Music Awards.

Surfers Paradise LIVE | 28-30 April 2017

With The Veronicas already announced as headline act, this year’s Surfers Paradise LIVE is set to be a cracker. With a stage right on the beach at Surfers Paradise and thousands of people in the streets to see live music, Surfers Paradise really does come alive with sights and sounds. Full lineup will be announced early in 2017 but the program runs over three big days with something for people of all ages. The festival also plays host to the Gold Coast Music Awards this year which takes place on Thursday 27 April.

Visit More Gold Coast’s events calendar for more information about Surfers Paradise Live.

Blues on Broadbeach | 18-21 May 2017

It’s one of the city’s best music events, and it’s got the trophies to prove it. Blues on Broadbeach returns in May for its 16th run, with international superstar Bonnie Tyler leading a lineup of big blues names. Ian Moss, Slim Jim Phantom Trio, Ray Beadle, Kevin Borich, Cash Savage and the Last Drinks are all on the bill. The free event, staged in the streets and venues of Broadbeach over four huge days also includes a massive local lineup with Hussy Hicks, Cheap Fakes, Claude Hay and Phil Manning also scoring slots.

Visit More Gold Coast’s events calendar for more information about Blues on Broadbeach.

Cooly Rocks On | 7-11 June 2017

Set on a combination of outdoor stages and venues within the beachside streetscape of iconic Coolangatta, the highlight of Cooly Rocks On is the destination; spectacular Southern Gold Coast beaches, relaxed and friendly hospitality and family-friendly atmosphere for which the Southern Gold Coast is renowned. But there’s plenty else on offer too.  Drive-in movies, retro markets, rock ‘n’ roll, vintage cars and plenty of music to rock your bobby socks to.

Visit More Gold Coast’s events calendar for more information about Cooly Rocks On.

D’Arcy Doyle Arts Festival and Awards | 28 June – 9 July 2017

Established in 2004 by Mudgeeraba identity Earle Hinschen, The d’Arcy Doyle Art Awards immediately proved to be one of the top visual art awards, and not just in Queensland. Now more than 10 years on, ‘The Doyles’ as they are colloquially known are still held in Mudgeeraba and have become an important Australian Art Festival for artists nationwide as well as art collectors. Word on the street is that there’ll also be some serious yarn bombing efforts in Mudgeeraba Village to coincide with this year’s awards and exhibition.

Visit More Gold Coast’s events calendar to check out more events happening in and around the Gold Coast.

Primavera at 25 – MCA Collection Tour | 14 July – 3 September 2017

Primavera at 25 celebrates the silver jubilee of the MCA’s annual Primavera exhibition showcasing the work of young Australian artists. An anniversary presents a moment for reflection, an opportunity in which to consider the past and contemplate the future. Taking this significant milestone as a departure point, Primavera at 25 brings together works by Primavera alumni artists that explore concepts of transformation, time and history. A number of works in the exhibition, including artworks by Nell, Rebecca Baumann and Ross Manning, appear to transform in front of our eyes, spinning and turning, shimmering and sparkling, or shape shifting to create new forms. The exhibition is at Gold Coast City Gallery.

Visit More Gold Coast’s events calendar to check out more events happening in and around the Gold Coast.

Viva Surfers Paradise | 7-16 July 2017

See Surfers Paradise take a step back in time and pay tribute to the world’s greatest music legends with 10 days of free classic entertainment. Live performances, rock ‘n’ roll dancing, show ‘n’ shine vintage cars, food and a renewal of vows ceremony are all in the program. It’s the biggest tribute artist music festival on the Gold Coast.

Visit More Gold Coast’s events calendar for more information about Viva Surfers Paradise.

Broadbeach Country Music Festival | 28-30 July 2017

Broadbeach Country Music Festival is going international for its fifth annual event. America, with a legion of fans gathered over 45 years in the music industry, has been locked in as headliner for the free festival. Joining the iconic US act on next year’s bill will be Australian Country Music stars Kasey Chambers, Troy Cassar-Daley, Shane Nicholson, Fanny Lumsden and Travis Collins. There are more acts to be announced too, with the incredible line-up set to feature more than 30 artists, plus roving entertainment, markets and more – right in the heart of Broadbeach.

Visit More Gold Coast’s events calendar for more information about Broadbeach Country Music Festival.

Gold Coast Multicultural Festival | 6 August 2017

Multicultural performances across three stages, international food, art, craft and multicultural information will all be on show at the 2017 Gold Coast Multicultural Festival Family Day. Held at Southport Broadwater Parklands the event is ideal for families and walking distance from the light rail station.

Visit More Gold Coast’s events calendar for more information about the Gold Coast Multicultural Festival.

Somerset Festival for Young Performers | 26-27 August 2017

Somerset Festival for Young Performers, although run in an eisteddfod-style format,  gives students the opportunity to perform in front of a supportive audience with participants learning by listening to other performances as well as performing themselves. The event is open to students from the greater Gold Coast region with entrants encouraged to perform in a variety of areas including vocal, instrumental, speech and drama.

Visit More Gold Coast’s events calendar to check out more events happening in and around the Gold Coast.

SWELL Sculpture Festival | 8-17 September 2017

SWELL Sculpture Festival returns in 2017 for its 15th anniversary event with sculptures from near and far adorning Currumbin Beach and foreshore. With a program of live music events, hands-on art experiences and sculptures big and small, SWELL is a highlight on the City’s cultural calendar.

Visit More Gold Coast’s events calendar for more information about SWELL Sculpture Festival.

Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award | 9 September – 22 October 2017

The photographic medium continues its energetic evolution as a means of creative expression. This national prize presents the latest in contemporary photo media making it a must see for students working with photography and media technologies. The exhibition is at Gold Coast City Gallery.

Visit More Gold Coast’s events calendar to check out more events happening in and around the Gold Coast.

Buskers by the Creek | 14-15 October

The fourth annual Buskers by the Creek will once again take over Currumbin Creek for 2017 with hundreds of buskers from across Australia descending on the Gold Coast. The event has fast become a Gold Coast favourite with musicians, circus performers, children and families, daredevils, a floating half-pipe, fire performers, acrobats and freaks of all kinds throwing themselves into the art of busking to the delight of tens of thousands of people. The two day event also features a Battle of the Buskers with winners taking home prizes including cash, paid performances and travel.

Visit More Gold Coast’s events calendar to check out more events happening in and around the Gold Coast.

Coming into Fashion – a Century of Photography at Condé Nast | 25 November 2017 – 18 February 2018

An exhibition produced by the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography (FEP), Minneapolis/Lausanne/Paris. The discovery of most of the biggest names in fashion photography can rightly be credited to the legendary publisher Condé Nast, as so many photographers’ careers were launched on the pages of his magazines – most notably Vogue AND Vanity Fair. This exhibition will bring together a selection of rare photographs from the Condé Nast Archive in New York, Paris, Milan and London. It features early work by a gamut of photographers whose individual styles have kept fashion photography on the cutting edge. The exhibition is at Gold Coast City Gallery.

Visit More Gold Coast’s events calendar to check out more events happening in and around the Gold Coast.

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