What's on at Brisbane Festival for families

Brisbane Festival takes over South Bank this September, with free and low-cost fun for the whole family! Include some of the amazing shows and activities as part of your visit to South Bank during the Festival.

River of Light Brisbane Festival

River of Light (Arcadia)

Brand new for 2018, River of Light is a hi-tech light and laser projection show, beamed into the spray from riverbed fountains. This spectacular illumination will be a nightly celebration of our river. The free show features dynamic jets and giant spirals of water, full-colour lighting and rainbow-coloured lasers, to tell a traditional story of the dreaming serpent that wove the river into being and created the life blood of our city. River of Light runs for approximately ten minutes, at 6.30pm, 8pm and 9.30pm each evening of the Festival.

House of Mirrors Brisbane Festival

House of Mirrors (Arcadia)

The popular House of Mirrors installation returns to Brisbane for the Festival, this time located at South Bank! Suitable for all ages, this life-size maze is formed from 40 tonnes of steel and 15 tonnes of mirrors, carefully arranged to precise geometric designs that create optical illusions for those who dare to enter. This activity is ticketed, and it’s likely to be very popular. Book your tickets online at the Brisbane Festival website and make sure to allow ample time for queuing and completing the maze, if you plan to see a show afterwards. The House of Mirrors will be open from 10am to 10pm each day, so there’s plenty of opportunities to traverse its tricky corridors. 

Lissa and Nee Nee Brisbane Festival

Lissa and Nee Nee's Disco Rainbow Sparkle Band

Little people can wiggle off the holiday jitters with Lissa and Nee Nee at The Courier-Mail Spiegeltent each Saturday of the Festival. A daytime disco complete with mirror balls, craft activities and of course, lots of dancing, these free sessions run for 2 hours and are free to join in. 

The Owl and the Pussycat Brisbane Festival

The Owl and the Pussycat

Another popular return is The Owl and the Pussycat, an enchanting and intimate theatrical experience for families. Staged at QPAC’s Cremorne Theatre, this kid-friendly opera features singing, a magical pea-green boat, interactive theatre and a troupe of musical puffins. Performances are during the day, from 26-29 September and suitable for children aged 4 and over and their parents.

Kaput Brisbane Festival


It’s not a festival without a healthy dose of slapstick, acrobatics and total silliness. Star of Club Swizzle, Circus Oz and The Tom Tom Crew, Tom Flanagan amazes, delights and leaves audiences in stitches as he pays homage to the greats Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton in this one-man comedy for all ages. Kaput runs from 25-28 September in The Courier-Mail Spiegeltent, daytime shows only.

The I Hate Children Children's Show Brisbane Festival

The I Hate Children Children’s Show Rock and Roll Spectacular

Sign your tweenagers up to see the meanest magician in the world – backed by a killer live band. The whole family will enjoy the whirlwind of live music, funny songs, magic, comedy and, of course, signature child-hating. Shows will run twice daily from 25-28 in The Courier-Mail Speigeltent, tickets required. Perfect for the kid who is way too cool to go to the theatre.

Sunsuper Riverfire Brisbane Festival

Sunsuper Riverfire

Brisbane Festival’s signature sign-off event, Sunsuper Riverfire celebrates the end of three weeks of Queensland’s largest arts and cultural event with a bang on Saturday 29 September. 

If you usually view Riverfire from South Bank, maybe try something new in 2018 and join the crowd at Riverstage in the City Botanic Gardens, where a massive day-long concert, headlined by Violent Soho, explodes into life, including the Channel Nine televised coverage on the big screen. It’s just a hop skip and jump over the Goodwill Bridge from South Bank.

But if you prefer to be in the thick of the family-friendly action, the South Bank’s Promenade, River Quay and Cultural Forecourt are the most popular gathering spots. We have it on good authority that this year’s soundtrack celebrates sci-fi and superheroes – which is sure to be super fun. There’s live entertainment at Arcadia from 4pm on the day, with late afternoon aerobatics and fly-pasts from the Australian Defence force jets and choppers. The fireworks display kicks off at 7pm. 

Important to know: 
South Bank is an alcohol-free space for Sunsuper Riverfire. Please do not bring pets, bikes and scooters, drink bottles with broken seals (including bottles of water or soft drink), glass, knives or alcohol to South Bank. These items will be confiscated by South Bank security staff.

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