Festivals are a growing craze within Australia with hundreds held every year, bringing international performers to Australian audiences to showcase a variety of works. From a small town music festival to an internationally recognised running festival, we really do offer it all! So where can you go and what can you do in September?

Whether you’re into live bands, musicals, running or racing, prepare yourselves for a full month of travelling as you won’t want to miss any of these upcoming events.

Map of festivals and events across Australia

Places to go, people to see!

Brisbane Festival (3rd – 24th September)

Each September, Brisbane Festival explodes across the city with an array of theatre, music, dance, circus, opera and major events like Riverfire. Brisbane attracts audiences of up to one million people per year to join in the festival fun and has been an event embraced by the city and admired by the world.

The Brisbane Festival emerged from the Warana Festival in 1961, which was themed “entertainment for the people, by the people”.  The city eventually transformed the event in 1996 as a biennial arts festival to accommodate the creative minds of Queensland. It is the youngest major annual Australian arts festival by at least a decade and has established itself as Brisbane’s biggest cultural event.

So what’s happening this year you ask?

Here are some of the highlights below to give you a taste of what to look forward to:

Brisbane Festival

Birdsville Races (2nd – 3rd September)

The Annual Birdsville Racing Carnival is the busiest week of the year with visitors from all over getting together in the tiny outback town over two big days. The first race meeting was held in 1882 with a few local spectators coming along. Now the carnival includes a 13 race program and boasts prize money worth $200,000. However, it’s The Birdsville Cup that’s the most sought after of all prizes and brings racers across the country and globe to compete.

Crowds of over 6000 racegoers come to celebrate the carnival each year, enjoying two jam packed days of outback racing and live entertainment. It’s one fantastic weekend at the heart of Australia’s outback!

Some of the other highlights include:

  • The RFDS Cocktail Party
  • RFDS Fun Run
  • Fashions on Field
  • Fred Brophy’s Boxing Troupe
  • Equine Fun Day
  • Food vendors
  • Giant auctions

Cairns Amateurs Racing Carnival (9th – 10th September)

Feel like more racing fun? Then the Cairns Amateurs Racing Carnival offers four days of fun, fashion, glamour, food and entertainment. Enjoy the relaxed under cover setting of the Ireland Jeep Garden Party giving fashion fiestas a great view of the fashion parades throughout the day. The ANZ Cairns Amateurs Ball is the pinnacle event of the carnival. Featuring a gourmet seafood buffet with drinks and music, everyone can enjoy a quality night of dancing under the stars. If you care for a little more sophistication, then race into the Yellowglen House with an oyster and bubbles bar at your disposal.

58 years later and the Cairns Amateurs Racing Carnival is now filled with a host of social activities, corporate functions and race watching. It’s one of the top things to do in Cairns and entices thousands to join in all the luxurious fun!

So what else can you attend?

  • The Reef Hotel Casino President’s Welcome Cocktail Party
  • Cairns Central Ladies Fashion High Tea
  • Mounting Yard Meet and Greet
  • Behind the Scenes Tours
  • Cairns Amateurs Birdcage
  • Carlton 1500 Club Marquee
Horse racing

Melbourne Fringe Festival (15th September – 2nd October)

It’s a celebration of cultural democracy and art expression for everyone across Australia. The Melbourne Fringe Festival is one of the most adventurous, inclusive, and artistic festivals the country has to offer. Each year, more than 6000 artists from every performance discipline you can name are featured performing over 400 events in over 160 venues. Audiences of 300,000 people come to enjoy the culture first hand.

Melbourne Fringe Festival is the place to go for pure and unexpected artistic discovery. It’s the art by the people, for the people, with the people… so come on in people! Celebrate the festival’s 34th year of artistic and cultural expression.

Take part in…

A piece of advice on art and travelling

Simon Abrahams, Creative Director and CEO, Melbourne Fringe

Melbourne Fringe is a festival of our city, Melbourne, and we engage with its civic spaces and hidden places, bringing together its citizens to celebrate our city with wide-eyed wonder and with one eyebrow raised. It’s one of Australia’s most significant festivals with over 450+ events across every conceivable art form.

We have over 350,000 people attending our free and ticketed events across the 18 days of the festival. Many Melburnians love their Fringe Festival, but we get visitation from all corners of the world, with a third of our interstate and international visitors coming specifically for the Festival.

So try something new. Book a ticket for an artist you’ve never heard of, or an art form that’s unfamiliar, or an experience that will push you to your limits. Led by a spirit of risk-taking and a love of surprise, Melbourne Fringe is a giant game of chance. So jump in with both feet. Illuminate a new part of yourself! Dedicate yourself to a spirit of adventure.

This is my second Melbourne Fringe Festival, but I’ve been working in the field for over a decade.  I’ve seen everything you can imagine. Audiences spontaneously taking off their clothes and joining the performers onstage, audiences being blindfolded, pushed, prodded, silenced, put on the spot. Personally, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for art.

Art changes lives. Travelling to visit a festival or a major event broadens your perspective and shifts your relationship to that place, forever.  I can’t recommend it enough.

OzAsia Festival

OzAsia Festival (17th September – 2nd October)

OzAsia is Australia’s premier international arts festival in Adelaide focusing on the culture of Asia. Under the current Festival Director Joseph Mitchell, the annual program features the best theatre, dance, music, film, talk shows and visual arts that Asia has to offer. In 2016, it will be the biggest festival yet with new shows and instalments to look forward to.

One of the greatest highlights is the Moon Lantern parade; it’s Australia’s largest lantern event and is a sight to see with the whole family. The famous lantern event will make its way through Elder Park and will finish up with a spectacular fireworks display over the River Torrens.

What else can you watch?

Blackmores Sydney Running Festival (18th September)

The Blackmores Sydney Running Festival is the only remaining participant legacy of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and is one of the most amazing courses in the world. It allows runners to take in all of Sydney’s iconic landmarks, giving an opportunity for runners to cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge traffic free!  All profits made on the day go back into the Athletics Australia’s programs, making the festival a truly charitable running event.

Some fun facts about Blackmores Running Festival:

  • It is the only Australian running even that is broadcasted live
  • The event is only 15 years old but has over 32,000 participants and over 66 countries take part yearly
  • Through the success of its many fundraising activities, last year the event helped to raise $1,737,647 for charity. The total funds raised since its inception is over $15,500,000.

A word on running and festivals

Wayne Larden, Race Director, Blackmores Sydney Running Festival

We have the tagline and that’s “the run that’s fun for everyone” because there is a distance for everyone from the Blackmores Sydney Marathon! Whether it’s the half Marathon, 9km bridge run or the 4km family run, anyone of any ability can take part either running, walking, hopping or skipping!

In 2016 there is even more of a reason to take part if you are a marathon or half runner because we’ve managed to flatten some hills and even moved the Blackmores Family Fun Run finish back to the Sydney Opera House. But the biggest reason people take part in the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival is the Harbour Bridge. All events run over the bridge and it’s the one time a year it’s completely closed for runners.

The Blackmores Sydney Running Festival has over 32,000 participants each year, with 10% of those participants coming from over 70 different countries, and 5% coming interstate.

I’ve been the Race Director since 2005 and I’ve seen all sorts of fantastic things in that time. From the colourful characters on Oxford Street, to the many international marathon participants who just love dressing up in colourful outfits. I’m really looking forward to seeing people taking part in our Guinness Book of World Records challenge, where there will by dozens of people dressed up in a variety of costumes trying to break a record and raise much needed money for local charities.

Running Festivals, and in particular the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival, are special because it’s the one time a year when the streets of our busiest city are closed for runners to enjoy their journey through the spectacular landmarks. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people, to achieve something by finishing a race, and to enjoy the atmosphere, energy and buzz surrounding this great event.

Author comparethemarket.com.au

Launched in September of 2012, Comparethemarket.com.au – operated by Compare the Market Pty Ltd (CTM) – has teamed up with a range of Australia’s insurance providers so you can compare some of the latest deals, in one place, side-by-side. The team behind comparethemarket.com.au have experience in insurance, comparison, customer service and digital. If this was a stuffy corporate monologue, we’d tell you that we’re a bunch of subject matter experts specialising in User Experience, Customer Insights & Online Strategies. But to be honest, it’s just as accurate (and a whole lot easier) to say that we’re a bunch of people who want to make your experience with online comparison better. We pride ourselves on the fact that we’re forward-thinking, that we share an entrepreneurial spirit, and the fact that we like to have a bit of a laugh too. We’re all a bit too addicted to chocolate, but no one’s perfect, really.

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