Brisbane Festival returns in 2023 to ignite cultural and economic growth

Brisbane-Festival-RiverfireBrisbane Festival, Queensland’s most anticipated annual cultural celebration, sets its sights on boosting visitor numbers and stoking economic growth when it returns this September.

This year’s Festival will again super-charge September when it hosts a cavalcade of local, national and international artists and must-see events at venues across Brisbane.

Riverfire by Australian Retirement Trust lights up the city skies on Saturday 2 September in an unmissable opening weekend celebration.

Brisbane Festival Artistic Director Louise Bezzina presents her fourth Festival in 2023, promising to deliver art to inspire and delight local audiences while programming must-see events to draw interstate and international visitors.

“We were so delighted to see visitors from other parts of Australia travelling to Brisbane specifically for the Festival last year and were absolutely thrilled to see overnight visitor expenditure return to pre-COVID levels,” said Ms Bezzina.

Brisbane Festival 2022 delivered more than $47 million of gross economic benefit to Queensland and generated 71,866 visitor nights in Brisbane.

Overnight visitor expenditure topped $12 million during the Festival with the average overnight spend per interstate visitor growing by more than 70 per cent.

Brisbane Festival’s newly appointed Chair, Anna Reynolds, said visitors were drawn to experience the unbeatable combination of a world-class Festival program and Brisbane’s stunning spring climate.

“The Festival provides a wonderful opportunity for us to prompt interstate visitors to see the city at the height of arts and cultural activations during September,” said Ms Reynolds.

“As we move closer to the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, now is the time to raise the profile of Brisbane Festival globally.

“There is no better time to elevate Brisbane Festival as a serious cultural tourism driver for the city and state than now,” said Ms Reynolds.

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said the 2023 Brisbane Festival would once again showcase the talents of Queensland artists and arts organisations.

“The Palaszczuk Government invests in Brisbane Festival to commission new Queensland works in collaboration with our leading arts companies, employ local artists and share our stories,” said Minister Enoch.

“We are committed to positioning Brisbane as a key event destination. Brisbane Festival’s unique programming, including key signature work that showcases the city, will help to leverage the opportunities presented by the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

“Last year, Brisbane Festival featured works from 41 homegrown companies with a focus on Queensland stories from First Nations organisations and artists. I look forward to a vibrant 2023 Festival program celebrating our arts sector in Queensland,” said Minister Enoch.

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said Brisbane provided the perfect backdrop for visitors to enjoy the best of the Festival. “Brisbane is rolling out the pink carpet and setting the stage for another incredible Brisbane Festival in the river city,” said Cr Schrinner.

“Brisbane has recently faced the challenges of COVID paired with a devastating flood but we’ve bounced back stronger than ever in 2023 and are more than ready to welcome visitors from near and far to explore our great city.”

“There is so much to see and do in Brisbane and I encourage visitors and residents to make September all about enjoying the Festival, along with all our world-class hotels and restaurants,” said Cr Schrinner.

Ms Bezzina said the Festival looked forward to working with key tourism stakeholders, including government partners and the tourism industry, to heighten Brisbane’s appeal as a beautiful destination.

“Brisbane really does become the stage for great art over September and it is a great thrill and privilege to program events that amaze, inspire, thrill and challenge audiences, both local and from interstate,” she said.

“To this end, we are finalising the 2023 program and will have a few surprises in store that will offer even more compelling reasons to visit Brisbane this spring,” said Ms Bezzina

Ms Bezzina will announce several key events and productions in late May with Brisbane Festival’s full program released in early July.

The 2023 Brisbane Festival returns from 1 – 23 September. For information and to subscribe for updates, visit: for details.

Image: Riverfire – courtesy of Brisbane Festival