Bleach* Festival celebrates 12th Anniversary

Bleach-Festival-Encounter-Gold-photo-by-Heidrun-LohrFrom the shoreline at North Burleigh, to the valley in Currumbin, to the tidal flow of the Nerang River, the 12th BLEACH* Festival plays to our city’s landscape in all its glorious beauty, with stories of our place this August.

“Great art piques our imaginations and often leaves us with more questions than answers,” said Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate. “I know visitors will be left amazed at the incredible depth of artistic talent we have in our city. I can’t wait for BLEACH* to come alive in August.”

BLEACH* runs from 3-13 August and what better way to satiate South-East Queensland’s growing appetite for all things arts, than with stories of grand spectacle contrasted with intimate moments that underscore a contemporary Gold Coast.

BLEACH* 2023 will transform the city’s  beachside esplanades, Botanic Gardens, cultural precincts and hinterland gems into 11 days of pulsating performances.

“BLEACH* is back! With a program full of award-winning artists, 9 new work commissions all made here on the Gold Coast, and 15 Queensland Premieres we could not be more excited to share this festival with audiences,” said said Artistic Director of BLEACH* and CEO of Placemakers* Gold Coast, Rosie Dennis.

There’s simply no better place to be in August than the GC. So, rug up, enjoy the winter sun, sit by an open fire under the stars in some of our most spectacular locations, and grow to love this City a little bit more during BLEACH* 2023,” said Ms Dennis.

The Gold Coast’s flagship annual arts and cultural celebration will feature five main hubs, which include the beachside haven of North Burleigh, Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens, HOTA and Currumbin Valley. The fifth hub is an exciting brand-new location at the recently unveiled Broadbeach Cultural Precinct.

BLEACH* will also have a city-wide footprint with an exciting convoy of Monster Trucks: a fleet of 8 cement trucks which will feature commissioned work by a local artist.

Queensland Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said that for more than a decade BLEACH* has connected Queenslanders with local arts and cultural experiences.

“BLEACH* Festival continues to play a key role in telling local stories and delivering significant cultural tourism outcomes on the Gold Coast,” said Minister Enoch.

“The festival showcases the diverse and extraordinary talents of Queensland artists through performing arts, visual arts, cultural knowledge sharing and workshops.”

“The Palaszczuk Government funds Placemakers* Gold Coast with $700,000 over four years to present the annual BLEACH* Festival through the Arts Queensland Organisations Fund, and proudly invested $220,000 to fit-out Placemakers’ new home at the Broadbeach Community Space.”

“Events like BLEACH* continue to strengthen Queensland’s reputation as a home to unique arts and cultural experiences in the run-up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games,” said the Minister.

The first festival artistic hub to open is the ever-popular esplanade at North Burleigh. The ocean-side location provides the perfect backdrop for a jam-packed cultural program featuring an array of live music, unique performances, interactive elements and community connectivity. The hub will feature a large stage, open-air bar and all performances will be free for the community and visitors to the Love Your Local North Burleigh Hub.

The perpetual First Light marks the opening of BLEACH* 2023, with a 6.00am sunrise ceremony. Heartland led by William Barton and violinist Véronique Serret will present a moving blend of song, poetry and didgeridoo, a spectacular First Nation performance at sunrise that cannot be missed.

Live music is at the heart of the Love Your Local North Burleigh Hub boasting an 8-hour program of free daily musical performances, with an all-local line up featuring both previous and current Gold Coast Music Award nominees. Pulse / Connect and Light Lines are interactive experiences that will stimulate your senses and provide a mesmerising light playscape for all ages.

Directed by award-winning choreographer Emma Saunders and performed by We Are Here Company, Encounter Gold will deliver a striking performance that will capture the indomitable spirit of youth and provide a visual feast of movement, dance and the unspoken word.

Looks Like A Tourista large-scale roaming installation of anonymous orange people in inflatable orange suits will feature in the hub and on the beach, encouraging us to consider the behaviours and lasting impact tourists have on our iconic destinations.

The light poles located on the Burleigh Heads promenade will feature a brand-new BLEACH* commission by Lisa Sorbie Martin titled; It’s a Celebration.

Last Light will close the festival at sunset and features the World Premiere of Tower Divas – a brand-new BLEACH* commission by an all-female cast and creatives.

With an ever-expanding footprint every year, this year’s festival features a hub located in the recently opened Broadbeach Cultural Precinct, which is also the new home of Placemakers*, the architects of BLEACH* and BIG CITY LIGHTS*.

Imagine a festival within a festival, a pulsating artistic playground with five tents featuring concurring shows with a blend of live music, drag, cabaret, theatre, comedy and spoken word. A floating barge concert series, food trucks, house band and a Lebanese café with traditional food and music – welcome to BLEACH* at Broadbeach with a whopping 22+ individual shows on offer!

A floating barge on the Nerang River is certain to cause a spectacle and is just one of the stars of the BLEACH* Broadbeach Hub. River Songs is a concert series featuring three different sets of musicians. The setting is made a sensory delight by the audience listening to the performances through headphones on the banks of the river.

A truly intimate, yet engaging experience. Artists include:
• Claire Edwardes OAM is a leading Australian percussionist. The talented musician is an Australian Keychange Ambassador, Donne – Women in Music Ambassador and the only Australian musician to win the APRA Art Music Award for Excellence by an Individual three times (2007, 2012, 2016)
• Shugorei
• Yirinda: Fred Leone and Sam Pankhurst who first met and played together at BLEACH* 2018 and back in 2023.

Curated by The Good Room, BLISS is all about fun, frivolity and performance art with a booming backdrop of electronic music. A night out to remember reminiscent of Studio 54 and A Galaxy Far Far Away. A celebration of the LGBTQIA+ cosmic community, this is one chaotic cabaret not to miss!

The Broadbeach Hub will also be home to the BLEACH* House Band which features the talented Martha Baartz, a multi-instrumentalist including saxophone and flute. Mohini Cox, a talented vocalist has worked with some of the finest in the industry including Albert “Iceman” Collins, Bo Diddly, Celine Dion, the Treavor Payne Gospel Ensemble, Katt Dyson and Rhonda Smith (Prince), House of Payne, and the Powder Blues Band of Vancouver, Canada. The BLEACH* House Band is certain to be a crowd favourite.

QAHWA will transport you to a typical Lebanese café with traditional music by James Tawadros and Mohammed Lelo. James is a four-time ARIA award-winning musician and has collaborated with legendary jazz drummer Jack DeJohnette (of Miles Davis fame).

The Broadbeach Hub also features many more unique performances including:
• M’AP BOULÉ by Nancy Denis
• EXTRA CURRICULAR by Libby & Matt Trainor
• PONCHO: KEEP IT UP! by Dani Cabs
• PRESENTATION IS EVERYTHING by Sweeney Preston & Ethan Cavanagh
• HEAVEN AND HELL by Beverly Kills
• KWEEN G, YUMMY ICONIC by Yummy and much more!

BLEACH* is once again returning to the city’s Botanic Gardens with three evenings of signature outdoor concerts and a free daily afternoon sound and meditation experience. ARIA award-winning Katie Noonan and her five-piece band will headline the Gardens program with Joni Mitchell’s BLUE 50th Anniversary (13 August), a performance not to be missed.

Tamara-Anna Cislowska, a renowned concert pianist and co-curator will host Edge of the Lens. Together with visionary artist, Tarita Botsman, witness a World Premiere as they perform contemporary classical music by some of the most daring and imaginative female composers and songwriters in Australia.

Two mind-blowing performances in one evening in the city’s Botanic Gardens is certain to sell-out. Botanic Melodies, led by Steve Newcomb and APRA and ARIA award-winning classical guitarist Karin Schaupp, will provide an exquisite evening of visual and sensory delight.
• Riverside Guitar Ensemble, 18-piece orchestra.
• Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University Jazz Orchestra, The Con Artists.

The World Premiere of Roller Coaster – a new work co-presented by Everybody Now!, BLEACH* and HOTA, is certain to be a crowd pleaser at the Outdoor Stage at HOTA. Think roller derby blended with social connectedness, humour, mental health challenges, a high-energy cast and clever performance creativity and delivery. This is a production that will leave you wanting more!

The Imaginary Aviary by Vanessa Tomlinson is an exciting and new contemporary classical music work where musicians will improvise musical pieces, inspired by the architecture and art at the HOTA Gallery.

Acoustic Life of Sheds is back after the sold-out Queensland Premiere in 2022, with a twist. The Currumbin Valley will now be the location for a series of unique performances by three artists at three distinctly different rural sheds featuring:
• Brian Ritchie, Artistic Director of Mona Foma Festival in Tasmania and Founding Member of The Violent Femmes
• Christine Johnston – co-creator of the multi-award-winning comedic trio The Kransky Sisters
• Peter Nelson, Ritchie Daniell & Samuel Pankhurst

Guests can experience these talented creatives perform at individual site-specific locations as audiences travel between properties in a carpooling convoy.

BLEACH* will also have a city-wide footprint with an exciting convoy of Monster Trucks: a fleet of 8 cement trucks which will feature commissioned work by a local artist, Dion Parker. (Original concept by Terrapin). Watch in awe as a fleet of Nucon cement mixers transform into works of art and cruise along the streets of the Gold Coast to celebrate BLEACH* 2023.

The 2023 BLEACH* Festival takes place across the Gold Coast from 3 – 13 August. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Encounter Gold – photo by Heidrun Lohr