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Two days in the river city: What’s on in Brisbane this weekend

The Weekend Edition

The weekend is mere moments away, pals! From Thursday May 19 to Sunday May 22 you can visit a pop-up Karen’s Diner, hang out in riverside igloos, witness sustainable fashion shows and explore art after dark in the park. Here’s our pick of some of the best things to do this weekend …

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Immerse yourself in these mesmerising live shows: A bunch of must-see concerts, gigs and live shows are coming to Brisbane this weekend, and we are more than just a little excited. The Zoo will host Passionfruit, Big Dinner, Jacob Fitzgerald, Mozza, Big Wheels, Sophia Scott and DJ Top as part of the Fuzzy Lovin’ Festival on Friday, while Psychotic Turnbuckles are back and ready to unleash on Saturday.

Iconic Brisbane music makers Regurgitator will be hitting The Princess Theatre on Thursday and Friday and hippy rockers Babe Rainbow will be taking the stage on Saturday. Over at The Fortitude Music Hall, Holy Holy will be serenading crowds on Friday, British India will be taking over The Triffid on Thursday while Void of Vision will take fans on a metalcore journey on Friday.

Explore this huge glow-in-the-dark garden full of luminous artworks: Arriving at the City Botanic Gardens this weekend is Botanica – Contemporary Art Outside, a huge display of illuminating site specific artworks that will light up the park after dark with picture-perfect projections and immersive installations from May 20–29. Now in its fourth year, this year’s edition of Botanica will feature 11 artworks including state-of-the-art projections, unexpected installations and interactive pieces created by leading artists such as Leila Honari, Julie Monro-Allison and Tim Gruchy.

The eye-catching artworks are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this year’s event, which will also bring back the extremely popular children’s discovery trail, guided twilight walks, the popular children’s discovery, live artwork creation where you can contribute to an exhibit, interactive workshops and talks. The event will get levelled up on weekends with food trucks slinging delicious eats and a pop-up bar quenching event-goers’ thirsts on evenings from Friday to Sunday. To learn more, head here.

Taste-test worldly wines at this grape-juice soiree: Ready for the drop? Pinot Palooza can boast its name as Australia’s largest annual pinot noir and music festival – and the beloved event is BACK with possibly its biggest and best tour yet this Saturday. It’s all about the fun side of wine, with a line-up of top-notch pinot producers from Australia, New Zealand and beyond.

Rub shoulders with some of the winemakers too, listening to the creators of these tasty morsels that will give you ever-deepening respect and understanding of the processes behind the wines. Come celebrate everyone’s favourite grape, enjoy delicious food and live tunes while tasting your way across the #pinot spectrum. Head here to secure a ticket.

Eat your way through Paddington at this food festival: From its character-filled Queenslanders to its bevy of incredible bars, cafes and restaurants, there’s a lot to love about Paddington. While most locals living in Brisbane’s inner west will likely already be familiar with the storied suburb’s magic, those that haven’t savoured the neighbourhood’s bounty in a while will have the perfect opportunity to do so from May 20–22 when Tastes of the Terraces take over Paddington’s historical terrace precinct.

Over three days, the strip encompassing Given Terrace and Latrobe Terrace (all the way up to the Collingwood Street intersection) will come to life for a weekend of wining and dining, with more than 35 locales uniting to offer a host of special offers and exclusive deals. The Tastes of the Terraces roster will include restaurants such as NOTA Restaurant & Wine Bar, Grappino, ElementiNgonEmily Yeoh Restaurant, more casual eateries like NaïmMAO Latin DiningKing Tea and Hai Hai Ramen, bars such as NoirHope & Anchor and Reuben’s Deli & Bar, and coffee and brunch spots like BlackoutAnoukChapter IV, and Paddington Social. Learn more here.

Check out a swarm of illuminated bees at West Village: The team at West Village believes that one day dedicated to the bees isn’t quite enough. The precinct is home to seven bee hives, so it makes sense that the precinct would be the perfect spot to host a whole month of celebrations. The first high-flying happening is the arrival of SwarmDead Puppet Society’s sprawling, open-air installation combining hand-crafted sculpture with dazzling technological effects.

Flying into West Village’s Mollison Park from May 6–29, the eye-catching work features over two thousand miniature bee sculptures, each one laser-cut from polished brass and assembled by hand. Each bee has individually posed legs, antennae and wings, and can be found artfully arranged amongst West Village’s lush garden.

By night, the artwork will become an illuminated 360° light and sound experience, allowing visitors to admire the beauty of Australia’s native bee species while reflecting upon the coexistence of humans within the natural environment. To read more about the installation and the other fun-filled Bee Month activities, head here.

Sip champagne in a winter-themed igloo: Everyone’s favourite winter pop-up bar, Veuve Clicquot In The Snow, has returned for the chilly season. Featuring its signature igloos, textural winter styling and plenty of Veuve Clicquot champagne, the pop-up’s stunning river vista and enticing menu are a sure-fire way to chill out and experience Euro chalet vibes in a quintessential Brisbane location.

In addition to a range of Veuve Clicquot champagne available by the glass and bottle, the drinks menu features Australian and French wines, beers, and cocktails including the Berries & Bubbles with fresh raspberry, lemon juice, Belevedere Pure and Veuve Clicquot Brut! A menu of snacks and nibbles will be available including the new Customs House pop-up bar classic – the Moreton Bay bug brioche roll with lime and dill mayo!

Freshly shucked Tasmanian pacific oysters, whole baked brie served with crostini, and mac and cheese croquettes with truffle aioli are also on the menu, among much more (including a range of Aussie, Italian and English cheeses) for some decadent winter indulgence. Learn more and make a booking here.

Ask to speak to the manager at this very-rude Karen’s Diner pop-up: Karen’s of Brisbane unite! A pop-up dining experience is opening its doors on May 18 and will be home to more Karens than you can complain too! From the brave minds at Wonderland Bar & Beyond Cinema comes a diner like no other – expect rude service, singing waiters and regular guest appearances from the manager – the most Karen Karen ever – just don’t dare ask to see her!

This is dining with a twist – the food is great, the service is ungrateful but your experience will be unforgettable. This is the anti Google review diner, a place where having 100k on Instagram gets you a naughty sticker rather than a free meal. Learn more about Karen’s Diner here.

Witness forward-thinking fashion at the Australian Wearable Art Festival: Returning from a two-year hiatus, the Australian Wearable Art Festival is back and ready to entertain, inspire and captivate audiences with some seriously jaw-dropping fashion this Saturday. After a sold-out show back in 2019, the curiously creative costume designers, sewers and sculptors have had plenty of time to fine-tune their pieces ready for the grand unveiling at the shows on the Sunshine Coast.

We should warn you, though, this isn’t your average catwalk. The designers have swapped fabric for repurposed coffee pods and denim for fresh flowers to curate fashion worthy of being framed. The artists hail from a wide range of backgrounds and have congregated around the fusion of sculptural art and haute couture. Nothing is off limits, so keep your eyes peeled for unique ways to fashion bottle tops, native flowers and even fruit and vegetable packaging into your next outfit. To learn more, head here.

Lay your peepers on Beyoncé collaborator Jenn Nkiru’s first solo exhibition: Drawing on the methods of remix and sampling culture, filmmaker Jenn Nkiru creates soulful and mind-bendingly visceral works reflecting the dynamism of Blackness.

The Grammy Award-winning artist and director’s first solo exhibition in Australia, Rebirth is Necessary, has opened at Brisbane’s Institute of Modern Art, and is set to stick around until July 9. The exhibition is an immersive gallery presentation of Nkiru’s 2017 film Rebirth is Necessary, an exploration of the magic of Blackness in a realm where time and space are altered. Keen on checking this world-class exhibition out? Learn more here.


Shop handmade goodies at this marketThe Finders Keepers Brisbane Market is back and more jam-packed than ever from May 20–22. You can expect a three-day shopping event chock-full of independent art, design, food stalls – and a bar for those looking to wet their whistle! Come along and join the conscious shopping revolution, meet the makers, and invest back into your community by shopping small and local.

It’s at the markets where you’ll discover a treasure trove of Australian makers, designers and entrepreneurs who will be selling and showcasing handmade jewellery, art, designs and other glorious goodies. The Finders Keepers markets celebrates hundreds of small creative businesses each year, bringing design fans together to shop unique mindfully made, thoughtfully bought treasures. Grab your ticket to The Finders Keepers May Market here and don’t forget to bring your tote bag!

Traverse through The City on this self-guided art trail: The Indigenous Art Program transforms Brisbane’s streets into an exhibition of Aboriginal artworks in various places and spaces, including large-scale banners, light boxes, vitrines, and projections, in Brisbane’s laneways. Until August 7 you can explore the OUTstanding exhibition throughout the Outdoor Gallery, featuring new and existing artworks from Australia’s leading Aboriginal artists.

The spectacular line-up of artists includes Elisa Jane Carmichael, Jody Rallah, Kyra Mancktelow, Boneta-Marie Mabo, Chris Bassi, Mia Boe, Keemon Williams, Tori-Jay Mordey, Sam Harrison, Melissa Stannard, Dylan Mooney and LaVonne Bobongie. The exciting event invites us to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Australia’s First Nations people, not just through the visual art on display but also by way of a series of artist-led workshops, talks, studio visits and walking tours with the curators. To learn more about the program, head to the Council website.

Check out MoB’s newest exhibition: MoB’s latest exhibition Making Place: 100 Views of Brisbane is where museum-goers can treat their peepers to more than 100 artworks depicting some of Brisbane’s most iconic scenes. The dazzling exhibition features works from renowned artists including Vida Lahey, Judy Watson and Margaret Olley, and an atmospheric soundscape by Artist in Residence Lawrence English, leaving you with a much-needed dose of culture. For more information, head to the Museum of Brisbane website.

Try out this pop-up immersive experience: Brisbane’s newest ‘grammable experience – Imaginaria – has once again extended its run. This stunning immersive play experience combines audio-visual art, inflatable architecture, light installations and futuristic gamification suitable for all ages.

Visitors are invited to step inside, slip off their shoes and engage with AI projections, sensor-triggered LED waves, giant silk parachute canopies, cosmic gardens, an anti-gravity sunset, an electronic hall of mirrors and a digital wishing well that whispers your greatest desires. Ready to step into a world of mind-blowing visual excess? You can grab your tickets to Imaginaria now through Ticketmaster.

Catch some of cinema’s most iconic criminals on the big screen: Danger! Daring! Disaster! QAGOMA’s The Art of the Heist film program looks at one of cinema’s most beloved crime subgenres – the Heist film. A seductive mix of gangster cool and cerebral ingenuity, the Heist film brings together a crafty ensemble of experts, a high stakes plan and the lure of the ultimate reward.

Features classics The Asphalt Jungle 1950, directed by John Huston, and Le Cercle Rouge (The Red Circle) 1970, directed by Jean-Pierre Melville, alongside contemporary retellings such as Steve McQueen’s women-led caper Widows 2018. The Art of the Heist screenings take place Wednesday and Friday nights, and Saturday and Sunday matinees at GOMA’s Australian Cinémathèque. To check out the complete program and to nab tickets, head over to the QAGOMA website.

Get ready to laugh yourself silly at this comedy festival: Comic musings, side-splitting stories and tear-inducing tales … Australia’s fastest growing ​comedy ​festival, Brisbane Comedy​ Festival, has grown into a multi-venue extravaganza, bursting at the seams to host a hand-picked selection of the funniest folk in the country.

Taking over venues like Brisbane Powerhouse, The Fortitude Music Hall and The Tivoli, Brisbane Comedy Festival plays host to one-liners, whimsy and mockery from more than 100 of the most hilarious national and international comedians. From ​stand u​p to improv and sketch ​comedy​, your tastes are covered ​with the funniest shows to see in Brisbane. To check out the full program and to buy tickets, head here.

Devour the best Brisbane has to offer at this flavoursome food festival: Dine BNE City is back, baby, with a program packed full of exclusive offers and dining experiences that will have you drooling. Strap your taste buds in for a wild ride as you taste and toast your way across our glorious city from May 1–29.

This year’s program is offering everything from $25 lunches to whiskey nights and ten-course degustation’s – there truly is something to surprise and delight even the most discerning of diners. Start your May meal prep (aka book your table and check out the complete program) and get ready to feast on everything Dine BNE City has to offer. To grab a ticket to these sinfully delicious events or make a reservation, hop, skip and jump over to the Dine BNE City website.

Shop up a storm at these weekend markets: If you’re eager to stroll through some stalls and stock up on some fresh fruit and veg, be sure check out these markets happening – Saturday Fresh MarketRiverside MarketsKelvin Grove Village MarketJan Powers Farmers MarketsDavies Park MarketCarseldine Markets and the Redcliffe Markets. For delicious dinnertime eats, Eat Street Northshore is on for your snacking pleasure on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.

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