Queensland Music Festival 2017 opens with a bang in Brisbane and beyond

QMF JMI New Orleans Street ParadeThe 2017 Queensland Music Festival (QMF), the first delivered by Artistic Director Katie Noonan, has opened with a spectacular lineup of events that span the entire state and range of music persuasions throughout July. 

Katie Noonan said she was super excited to see the state come alive from 7 to 30 July and to share her first festival with fellow Queenslanders. “There is truly something for everyone throughout Queensland during the opening weekend of the festival, from jazz musos grooving and singing along Queen Street Mall to Nambour’s Currie Street reverberating with the sounds of awesome local musicians,”said  Ms Noonan.

The festival opened with Mission Songs – bringing together some of Australia’s best-loved singers – Jessie Lloyd, Emma Donovan, Deline Briscoe and Jessica Hitchcock – for an evening of discovery through Australian Indigenous songs that reflect life on the missions in the 20th century at the State Library of Queensland.

Award-winning composer Jessie Lloyd travelled the nation searching for Indigenous Australia’s hidden songs and lost stories to create the unique Mission Songs narrative, connecting the traditional with the contemporary for what will be an entertaining and enlightening musical experience.

Earlier on Friday, ARIA and Deadly Award-winning soul-rocker Dan Sultan and bandmates boarded a light aircraft and travel led to the remote Far North Queensland Indigenous communities of Aurukun, Woorabinda and Palm Island for the Dan Sultan Tour, a series of free concerts, story sharing and workshops for the region’s budding local musicians from 7 to 10 July.

At the Brisbane Powerhouse, the debut of hot new musical Joh for PM will take audiences on a musical romp through the life of ex-Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen, the Queensland icon who set state politics alight, in a delightful satire of the bizarre events that define Bjelke-Petersen’s reign.

On Saturday 8 July at 11.00am, JMI takes the beats to the streets for the first weekend of QMF 2017 for the JMI New Orleans Street Parade. Kicking off with trumpets and trombones blaring and saxophones soaring at Queen Street Mall’s main stage, musicians and music lovers alike are invited to bring their instruments, vocal chords and dancing shoes to join this swinging street party to remember as the sounds and rhythms of New Orleans reverberate through Brisbane city.

QMF reaches the Sunshine Coast later on Saturday with Currie Street Music Crawl, which will transform Nambour’s main street into a free music festival for one night only. Twenty contemporary musicians and bands, including Ayla, Sahara Beck, WAAX, Emily Wurramara, Screamfeeder, The Floating Bridges, Blank Realm and Major Leagues will perform across five stages, encouraging revellers to explore Currie Street’s intimate live music haunts.

In a full weekend centrepiece over Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 July, Argo will team up with QMF and Camerata, Queensland’s innovative chamber ensemble, for To The Earth / To The Sky, which will transform two unique Brisbane landmarks with a dramatic, immersive double-concert experience.

Beginning on Saturday at Brisbane’s heritage-listed Spring Hill Reservoir, To The Earth will drive audiences in a descent to the depths of the earth with raw and explosive music for string quartets and cavernous spaces. In stark contrast on Sunday evening, To The Sky will loom over audiences at the Planetarium’s Cosmic Skydome for a mesmerising and exhilarating night of music for strings, synths and stars.

Weekend one comes to a topical close on Sunday with Twilight in the Red Box, a series of intimate twilight concerts on at the State Library of Queensland throughout the festival. Featuring music from renowned Australian and international composers, Sunday evening reflects on the past, present and future through issues including domestic violence, migration and Indigenous voices, curated by Patrick Murphy and performed by The University of Queensland School of Music students.

Ms Noonan said QMF 2017 would hopefully engage all Queenslanders with song, storytelling and social issues, helping everyone to find their voice. “Come on Queenslanders, this is your state festival, we want to hear your voice and see you move this weekend,” said Ms Noonan.

“Whether that’s joining the raucous laughs during Joh for PM or slipping on your dancing shoes for the JMI New Orleans Street Parade party, driving the DeepBlue orchestra onstage through a video game or singing along to your favourite local band at Currie Street in Nambour.”

The 2017 Queensland Music Festival continues to 30 July. For more information and complete program, visit: www.qmf.org.au for details.

Image: JMI New Orleans Street Parade (supplied)