Brisbane’s multicultural events calendar

Brisbane is a multicultural melting pot with students, residents and visitors from all over the world travelling to the city and bringing their cultures and stories with them. The city’s diverse and inclusive community is reflected in its extensive calendar of events and festivals held throughout the year.

Take yourself on a cultural safari through Brisbane and experience international music, vibrant artwork, flavours from every corner of the world and gripping indigenous dance performances as Brisbane celebrates its diversity.

BrisAsia Festival

When: January-February
Where: Throughout the city

Experience all things Asia at the annual BrisAsia Festival. The three-week festival is a sensory delight with live music, dumpling demonstrations, kite-making workshops, self-defence lessons, bird-watching and contemporary dance performances that celebrate the best of Asian cultures. Don’t miss the opening parade, Taste of Asia night markets, live music and the chance to illuminate the night sky of Brisbane with your own hand-made traditional Japanese bamboo lantern.

Buddha Birth Day Festival

Buddha Birth Day Festival

When: January-February
Where: South Bank

Buddha Birth Day is a free festival for everyone – regardless of age, religious or cultural background – that’s held over a weekend. It’s one of Queensland’s biggest cultural events with activities, performances, ceremonies and workshops celebrating Buddhist culture. Check out the welcoming ceremony or join in the light offering.

Alliance Francaise French Film Festival

When: March
Where: Palace Cinemas

The French film festival has become a significant annual event at Palace Cinemas, and each year the offering only improves in quality. There’s a film for everyone – from the feel-good comedies to the captivating dramas. Everything is always so much more sophisticated in French too, n’est-ce pas?

Spanish Film Festival

When: April
Where: Palace Cinemas

Who hasn’t laughed or cried their way through an Almodovar film at least once? The Spanish Film Festival has it all: comedy, drama, crime, mystery – sometimes all at once. Discover stories from this beautiful part of the world during the festival in April.

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo Mexican Festival at Riverlife

When: May
Where: Kangaroo Point

Hola fiesteros! We have to taco ‘bout Cinco de Mayo. It’s a celebration of Mexican culture, cuisine, cocktails and music traditionally celebrated on May 5. In Brisbane, institutions usually celebrate in their own way (don’t be surprised if a Mariachi band dazzles you at lunch time at Saint Lucia’s refect) but Riverlife holds the Cinco de Mayo Festival where you’ll find a roving Mariachi band, Mexican dancing and all of the food. Wear loose pants.

Paniyiri

Paniyiri Greek Festival Brisbane Dancing

When: May
Where: Musgrave Park, West End

Brisbane goes Greek during Australia’s longest-running Greek festival, Paniyiri. The annual celebration combined the best of Greek food (haloumi, honey puffs, filo, pita … we could go on) and drink with dance, music and a carnival. Dance the Zorba, eat as many honey puffs as you possibly can, enter the plate-smashing competition, explore the beautiful Greek Orthodox Church and celebrate with 40,000 other festival goers.

Italian Week & Italian Food & Wine Festival

When: May-June
Where: New Farm Park

Why have a day when you can celebrate for a whole week? Brisbane’s Italian Week showcases the best of Italy – from opera performances to art, music and food, glorious, food. The Italian Food and Wine Festival is a street market packed with all the best flavours – lively Sicilian flavours, truffles from central Italy and creamy, rich fare from northern provinces. Get your mouth watering with gnocchi and gelato or taste the different vinos from across the country.

Luminous Lantern Parade

When: June
Where: South Bank Parklands

The spectacular Luminous Lantern Parade lights up South Bank each year with a dazzling show of more than 400 lanterns, many of which are made by community groups and schools across Brisbane. Hosted by Multicultural Development Australia, the Luminous Lantern Parade is a free event that unites government, community leaders, multicultural communities and everyday Queenslanders as a gesture of support and welcome to our newest Queenslanders. The parade features world music and plenty of opportunities to hit the dancefloor.

Le Festival

Le Festival

When: July
Where: South Bank Cultural Forecourt

Bonjour Brisbane! We say bienvenue to Le Festival every July when Brisbane’s annual French Festival takes over the Cultural Forecourt over two days. Wine and cheese never fails to grab our attention, and here there’s a whole pavilion of it. There’s also market stalls, free live entertainment and a French fashion show.

C’est tres bien, non?

Scandinavian Film Festival

When: July-August
Where: Palace Cinemas

Go north and venture into one of the most naturally striking places in the world: Scandinavia. From Finland to Norway, to Sweden to Denmark and all the way to Iceland, discover some of the incredible cinema coming out of this region over the festival. It goes for about three weeks, so there’s plenty of time to see everything you like the look of!

Quandamooka Festival

Quandamooka Festival

When: July-September
Where: Brisbane, Redlands and Moreton Bay

Hear traditional Dreamtime stories and discover local Aboriginal culture during the annual Quandamooka Festival. This huge celebration involves cultural tours, traditional song and dance performances, art exhibitions, workshops, film nights, markets, whale-watching tours, storytelling, weaving, sand art and more. The festival is spread over three months during Queensland’s winter with up to 55 events and activities to choose from.

Queensland Multicultural Month

When: August
Where: throughout Brisbane

Queensland Multicultural Month is the state’s largest multicultural celebration. People from across Queensland come together to perform, share, taste, listen, learn and celebrate our different cultures. The month is broken down into weekly themes such as sports, recreation and the arts, digital diversity, success through diversity and multicultural education.

IndOz Festival

When: August
Where: King George Square, Brisbane City

IndOz Festival is the biggest Indonesian cultural event in Queensland. There is so much to celebrate about Indonesian culture that the festival stretches over two days. Markets, live music, food and Kecak dance performances run until 9pm on Friday and Saturday brings a whole day of traditional dance and martial arts performances, music, food markets and door prizes.

India Day Fair

When: August
Where: Roma Street Parkland

Marking India's Independence Day, India Day Fair in Roma Street Parkland is a colourful celebration. Feast on spiced Indian fare, explore market stalls, experience Bollywood music and dance and watch the vivid parades and fireworks display.

Scandinavian Festival

When: September
Where: Bowen Hills

Bringing together and celebrating Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish and Estonian culture, the Scandinavian Festival is a rich cultural offering for anyone with even the slightest interest in the culture and history of this region. There’s a smorgasbord of traditional food and drink, music and dance and perhaps a historic tale or two.

Citra Malaysia

When: September
Where: King George Square, Brisbane City

Every country has a story to tell and the Citra Malaysia Cultural Festival shares Malaysia’s. The one-day multicultural event is hosted by the Malaysian Students’ Council of Australia (MASCA) Queensland Chapter and brings Malaysian food stalls, hands-on cultural and arts activities and exhibitions to the heart of Brisbane City. You can even experience a traditional Malaysian wedding ceremony!

Lavazza Italian Film Festival

When: September-October
Where: Palace Cinemas

Get a taste of that dolce vita at the annual Italian Film Festival. Each year the festival offers up a rich selection of films to go see – be it to improve your Italian, get a little taste of home or purely because you love Italian cinema. If it’s showing, the must-see is always La vita e bella – an absolute cinema classic that everyone needs to see at least once in their life.

Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest Brisbane - Giant Pretzel

When: October
Where: Brisbane Showgrounds, Bowen Hills

Don your dirndl and lederhosen for this one, because Brisbane’s Oktoberfest is in the top 10 best Oktoberfests in the world – outside of Germany of course. There’s keg rolling, traditional German food (think pork knuckles and black forest cake), beard competitions, yodelling, dancing and of course – beer. Lots and lots of it.

MOSAIC Festival

When: October
Where: Roma Street Parkland

MOSAIC is a music, dance and cultural spectacle that celebrates the creative and rich talents of our diverse community – including migrants, refugees and international students. Hosted by Multicultural Development Australia, the festival offers an opportunity to experience world culture through international cuisine, music and dance performances across three stages.

Pesta Rakyat

When: October
Where: King George Square

PPIA Queensland (Indonesian Students Association) presents Pesta Rakyat 2017: "Sensation of Nusantara". The event will celebrate Indonesia’s Momentum of Youth Pledge Day, and will feature traditional displays of Indonesian culture, dances and a culinary experiences.

Cine Latino Film Festival

When: November
Where: Palace Cinemas

Experience the sights, sounds and stories of Latin America during the Cine Latino Film Festival. Some of the best cinema to come out of countries such as Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Colombia (we could go on) in recent times is on show here.

Brisbane Latin Dance Festival

When: November-December
Where: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, South Brisbane

Celebrate Latin dance and culture with food, music and dance across four days and multiple venues. Take workshops with international instructors and lose yourself to the rhythm.

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