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Brisbane Festival starts on a high, 40 metres in the sky
EXXOPOLIS. Photo: John Owens.

BRISBANE.- With only seven days to go before Brisbane Festival (6 to 27 September) gets into full swing, organisers are promising an opening weekend of high-flying acrobatics, sublime dance, eclectic music and heaps of family fun.

Kicking off at 10am on Saturday 6 September, everyone is welcome at South Bank Cultural Forecourt to check out the eye-catching Festival landmarks, including the awe-inspiring inflatable city Exxopolis, the towering bamboo sculptures of Brisbane Airport Light Garden and some familiar giant, bright-pink bunnies.

Covering 1,000 square metres, Exxopolis uses natural light through coloured PVC and a series of beautiful walk-in spaces to create a stunning effect. Inflatable domes will soar 10 metres into the air, while twisting tunnels lead visitors through a maze of geometric pods, alcoves and crevices – reminiscent of Islamic architecture, Archimedean solids and gothic cathedrals.

At 5pm Santos GLNG Twilight Music Series will entertain diners and evening strollers at River Quay, South Bank, leading up to the colossal opening weekend event outside Treasury Casino & Hotel.

At 6.45pm and 9pm, Do Do Land will see the gravity-defying Argentinian and Spanish acrobats of Grupo Puja! balance 40 metres above Reddacliff Place on a geometric stage, illuminated by a striking light show and set to a thumping live rock score. The amazing free event is thanks to a new principal partnership with Treasury Casino & Hotel and can be seen again for one final time on Sunday 7 September at 6.45pm.

At 7.15pm the doors of The Telstra Spiegeltent will open for the first time when Australian hip-hop kingpin and multiple award winner Urthboy takes to the stage with his special intimate show Make Me A Mixtape, featuring a number of special guests including Patience Hodgson from The Grates and Sam Cromack from Ball Park Music.

In QPAC’s Playhouse at 8pm, Akram Khan, one of the world’s best contemporary choreographers and dancers, will perform his award-winning masterpiece DESH - a major coup for the city made possible with the help of the Queensland Government’s Super Star Fund.

Later, The Telstra Spiegeltent audiences will be wowed when LIMBO explodes with an exotic mix of outlandish cabaret and circus skills, live music and sexy humour, before a late night DJ takes night owls into the wee hours.

Fans of vaudeville will love The Furze Family Variety Hour at Judith Wright Centre, while independent theatre buffs should head to Bille Brown Studio, QTC for I Want To Know What Love Is. American Ballet Theatre will thrill dance lovers at QPAC with three performances of Three Masterpieces over the weekend.

Sunday 7 September promises to be a more laid back affair, with the South Bank site open once more. Jazz on Sunday will kick off a lazy afternoon with some breezy tunes in The Telstra Spiegeltent from 3pm, followed by alt-pop maestro Andy Bull who will melt hearts with fresh material from his highly anticipated new album at 7.15pm.

When the sun goes down Brisbane Airport Light Garden will illuminate the Festival hub once more, with hundreds of twinkling bamboo lanterns, while performances of Do Do Land, DESH and LIMBO will draw crowds to the north and south of Victoria Bridge.

Noel Staunton, who will finish his five-year term as Brisbane Festival Artistic Director at the end of September, said he wanted to see the whole city turn out for the biggest opening weekend he had ever programmed.

“Grupo Puja! and Akram Khan will only do a few performances of Do Do Land and DESH, so I urge everyone make the most of these incredible international artists while they are in Brisbane,” Mr Staunton said.

“Beyond the opening weekend, we have nightly entertainment to suit everyone’s taste and budget – tickets have already sold out to a lot of performances so make sure you do not miss out.”

Brisbane Festival is an initiative of the Queensland Government and Brisbane City Council and runs from 6 to 27 September 2014.

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