Brisbane’s epic 2021 event calendar
From rainforests to rugby league, Brisbane’s got it all in 2021. Here’s your guide to the city’s non-stop schedule of exclusive events for lovers of sports, arts, culture, nature, motoring and more.
If you were born to be wild, this world-exclusive exhibition is for you. Showcasing the art, design and history of the motorcycle, the exhibition features more than 100 innovative and influential motorcycles from the 1860s to the present day, and considers these iconic vehicles through the lenses of social history, pop culture, design and technology.
It’s a look at the past, present and future of motorcycles that puts you in the saddle – but you’d better get your motor runnin’, because the exhibition is only at GOMA until 26 April 2021.
Thinking about how to get there? We’ve done some of the hard work for you and planned three itineraries for your motorcycle day trip, no matter where you’re starting your journey!
An event that’s been over 180 million years in the making, the Gondwana Festival is a month-long celebration of the World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia. Taking place within Queensland’s stunning Scenic Rim, from Lamington National Park to Mt Barney National Park, this is your chance to embark on specially curated walks to areas that will only be open for the Festival.
The Gondwana Rainforests include the world’s oldest ferns and conifers, as well as over 200 species of rare or threatened plant and animal species. Whether you’re after a week-long wander with a hatted-chef dining experience, or just a day-time walk to a gorgeous waterfall, hosted hikes are leaving from the base camps at Binna Burra Lodge, ParkTours, O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat and Mt Barney Lodge until 31 March.
You won’t be counting sheep at the thrilling world premiere season of Shaun the Sheep’s Circus Show. Combining the extreme physicality and awe-inspiring acrobatics of internationally acclaimed circus ensemble Circa with the playful charm of award-winning TV series Shaun the Sheep, this un-baaa-lievable production is a visual spectacle like no other.
Packed full of Academy Award-winning studio Aardman’s signature wit and hilarity, and Circa’s daredevil feats and vibrant circus skills, this is must-see entertainment that families are flocking to. This high-flying adventure is on now at QPAC’s Lyric Theatre until 21 March.
Isn’t it time you let your imagination run free? For 17 days in March, Brisbane will be transformed into a world of discovery. Curiocity Brisbane is a celebration of science, art and tech, where exciting new possibilities play and big ideas collide.
Featuring a series of Curious Conversations about our future and the role of science, art and technology hosted by acclaimed author Benjamin Law (The Family Law), as well as a packed program of interactive installations and events,
Curiocity Brisbane takes place at the City Botanic Gardens, South Bank, the Cultural Precinct and the CBD from 12-28 March. For the full program, check out curiocitybrisbane.com.au.
Explore the biggest questions in science and discover the wonder of ‘why’ at World Science Festival Brisbane. The luminaries of the science world will showcase the beauty, complexity and importance of science at more than 120 events designed for curious minds.
This year’s event includes the all-new City of Science, where you can engage in hands-on science with a program of free activities and performances for everyone. Open your mind and see science and art come alive from 24-28 March. Check out the full program at worldsciencefestival.com.au.
Get ready for the ride of your life, as Australia’s biggest multi-disciplinary cycling festival pedals back into the Anna Meares Velodrome and other venues around the city. The three-week program will seek to capitalise on the surge in cycling participation and popularity in the wake of the coronavirus, with the Brisbane Showgrounds set to host an Active Lifestyle Expo with markets and entertainment for all ages from 9 to 11 April.
Other highlights of the festival include the Track National Championships for Juniors, Masters and Elites, firmly establishing Brisbane as the home of track cycling, and Spokes n’ Jokes, a cocktail event taking a look at the lighter side of cycling. Get on your bike and get involved from 24 March to 12 April.
The Tour de Brisbane is one ride you don’t want to miss, with over 110 kilometres of fully closed city roads and a new home at the Brisbane Showgrounds. With multiple distances and challenges available, there’s a ride or race for you, whether you’re shooting for the podium or just going for a casual pedal.
The Tour de Brisbane is a great way to experience Brisbane’s most iconic landmarks on two wheels, and you can even raise funds for vital organ and tissue transplant research along the way. But you’ll have to get in quick – official entries close 31 March, with the event to be held from 9-12 April.
Launched in Brisbane in 2019, the Australian Youth Water Polo Championships quickly became the hallmark event on the national water polo calendar, attracting 190 teams and 3,000 competitors from across the country.
Now the largest annual water polo festival in the southern hemisphere, the Australian Youth Water Polo Championships will return to the Brisbane Aquatic Centre in Chandler from 7-17 April.
After winning rave reviews for hosting an extraordinary AFL Grand Final Week in 2020, Brisbane will host one of the early highlights of the 2021 AFL season.
The Gabba will host the marquee Easter Thursday clash between two heavyweight contenders for the flag, the Brisbane Lions and the Collingwood Magpies, on 1 April.
Presented by TAB, enjoy a grand show of the best of Australasia’s thoroughbred horse racing, accompanied by culinary delights, elegant fashion and sensational entertainment from 1 May to 12 June 2021.
This is the ultimate truck stop. Australasia’s premier transport event returns in 2021 with the most comprehensive display of trucks, trailers, equipment and accessories that any truckie could hope for.
The world-class show will be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre from 13-16 May, with approximately 300 exhibitors filling all three levels of the venue. Staged by Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA), the show is part of Australian Heavy Vehicle Industry Week, which will encompass a range of events around Brisbane to celebrate and showcase the industry’s design, engineering, manufacturing and technological innovation from 10-16 May.
Talk about a magic moment. The NRL’s marquee round attracted almost 135,000 fans in 2019, and after being taken off last year’s calendar due to the coronavirus, it’s back in a big way in 2021.
Don’t miss your chance to watch your favourite NRL team – and every NRL team – take the field at Suncorp Stadium across one weekend from May 14 to 16.
MELT | 19 - 30 MAY
Brisbane is set to sizzle. Now in its sixth year, MELT – the Festival of Queer Arts and Culture – will bring both sparkle and substance to Brisbane Powerhouse, with a mix of theatre, cabaret, music, visual arts, storytelling, forums, panels and conversations.
Designed to celebrate LGBTIQ+ arts and culture and promote visibility and inclusivity among the queer community, MELT will rase the curtain on another program full of spectacular events, dazzling performances and provocative discussions from 19-30 May.
Brisbane’s epic events calendar isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon – sometimes literally. Ever since the legendary Robert de Castella blazed across the line to win Gold at the 1982 Commonwealth Games, the marathon has held a special place in Brisbane’s heart, and the Brisbane Marathon Festival is the City’s ultimate celebration of fun, fitness and human endurance.
A world-class event attracting elite athletes as well as recreational runners who just want to get out and get active while enjoying Brisbane City, the Brisbane Marathon Festival will feature races for competitors of all ages and abilities from 5-6 June.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience works by the likes of Van Gogh, Monet, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Raphael, Caravaggio, Turner, Fra Angelico and Titian, direct from The Met’s collection – one of the finest collections of
European paintings in the world, the majority of which rarely leave the permanent display in New York.
Spanning 500 years of masterpieces, it’s a breathtaking journey from the 1420s and the emerging Renaissance to the height of early 20th century post-impressionism, including portraiture, still-life, landscape and figure studies.
This Australian-exclusive exhibition – a must-see for art lovers and anyone with any interest in history, society, beauty, religious iconography, mythology and symbolism – will be held at GOMA from 12 June to 17 October.
And now for something completely different. Brisbane Comedy Festival returns in 2021 with a hand-picked selection of the funniest folk in the country, bursting at the seams with comic musings, side-splitting stories and tear-inducing tales.
Held across Brisbane Powerhouse, The Tivoli and The Fortitude Music Hall, this multi-venue laughter extravaganza will feature everything from stand-up to improv and sketch comedy with the most hilarious national and local comedians from 16 July to 8 August.
It’s back and tastier than ever. With Moreton Bay as its stunning backdrop, the Food and Wine Festival precinct will wind its way along beautiful Redcliffe Parade, where foodies will enjoy top-notch bites and sips as well as a jam-packed program of live entertainment.
Running alongside the free festival precinct, many of the foreshore restaurants and operators will also be showcasing special menus and hosting interactive events and workshops. Get your mouthful of Moreton Bay morsels from 11-12 September.
The next evolution of action sports is coming to Brisbane. The world’s top athletes in FMX, BMX, skate and scooter will gather in Suncorp Stadium for a global showdown, with gravity-defying big air formats, the largest ramps ever seen in competition and innovative course designs.
Be there live as Australia’s finest take on elite challengers from the USA, the UK, Brazil, Japan and more, pushing the limits and attempting insane, never-before-seen tricks in a battle to top the podium from 23-24 October.
You’ve never seen Wagner’s Ring Cycle like this before. It’s a spectacular new production from visionary Chinese director Shi-Zheng Chen that sees the pinnacle of opera performed over four nights – a 15-hour epic of men and maidens, gods and giants, dragons and dwarves.
Get settled in for the long haul and enjoy this exhilarating adventure from 29 October to 20 November.
Australia’s flagship golf tournament will return to Brisbane in December 2021, with dates to be confirmed.
Recent champions include Adam Scott, Cameron Smith, Greg Chalmers, Peter Senior and Geoff Ogilvy, so you can expect a star-studded lineup of the country’s best players to be swinging for the Joe Kirkwood Cup at the Royal Queensland Golf Club in Eagle Farm.
The landmark tenth edition of QAGOMA’s flagship exhibition series, The Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT10) will take a fresh look at contemporary art from across Australia, Asia and the Pacific. Surveying recent developments in art spanning from Northern Oceania to West Asia, the exhibition will place a strong emphasis on the contributions of First Nations and those living outside their home countries.
Continuing the exhibition’s legacy of bringing together a diversity of cultural and creative perspectives in a single, expansive presentation, APT10 will be held at QAGOMA from 4 December 2021 to 25 April 2022.
Want to discover award-winning restaurants, stunning five-star hotels, sensational shopping, world-class galleries, jaw-dropping natural wonders and more while you’re here? Browse visitbrisbane.com.au for even more things to do in Brisbane.