Blockbuster program for Cairns Festival return

Cairns Festival returns this year with a blockbuster 10-day program bookended by the traditional Grand Parade on the Cairns Esplanade and Carnival on Collins at the Cairns Botanic Gardens.

With a fresh new look and a host of live events, multiple venues across the city will be activated, including the Court House, Munro Martin Parklands (MMP), Esplanade, Cairns Performing Arts Centre (CPAC), Tanks Arts Centre, and the Botanic Gardens.

The program kicks-off on Friday 27 August with “INTRODUCING…” – a collection of live performances by the next generation of local musicians and songwriters on the Esplanade Festival Stage, headlined by Jaguar Jonze and local songstress Amber Farnan.

In a change this year, the Grand Parade, which is on Saturday 28 August, will be going in the reverse direction, starting at Fogarty Park, heading along the Esplanade and finishing at Minnie Street.

Music lovers are in for a treat with headline performances by Missy Higgins (at MMP on 29 August), Tim Rogers (at Tanks on 2 September) and RocKwiz Live (at MMP on 4 September), with tickets available through Ticketlink

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said it was great to see the return the annual event following last year’s cancellation due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and encouraged the community to come out and celebrate.

“I know we will all be looking forward to Festival favourites like the Grand Parade, Carnival on Collins and of course the Fireworks Spectacular on the Esplanade, which always attract thousands of attendees,” Cr Manning said.

“This year’s program is highly diverse and there is an emphasis on community engagement, with live performances, family film nights and art exhibitions.”

In a first, the Court House will play a starring role in this year’s festival as it is transformed into Festival HQ, a one-stop information hub with live music every day from 5.30pm (except 1 September), a licenced bar, special guests and one-off immersive experiences.

Cairns-based artist Hayley Gillespie will bring her hilarious roving puppet show Tropical Punch to Carnival on Collins as part of Cairns Festival.

“Cairns Festival encapsulates everything I feel joyful about Cairns and I am so lucky to be a part it some years and I am really looking forward to doing workshops and performances with people of all ages,” Ms Gillespie said.

“We will be roving up and down the street at Carnival on Collins and we will be performing three times on the day.

“We will be set up in an area that is all about local produce and Amber Grossmann (playwright) is performing and has written a special puppet show about local produce.”

Ms Gillespie will also be running free puppet making workshops throughout the day.

Today’s launch coincides with the release of a special Cairns Festival edition of Vibrance, featuring details about all the events taking place.

Download the free Vibrance app on any Apple or android device via Google Play or the App store. It is best used with notifications turned on to ensure you don’t miss exclusive app-only offers. Or pick up a printed copy from Tanks, CPAC or the Court House and selected Tropic magazine stands through the region.

Vibrance can also be read online here:

Cairns Festival 2021 runs from Friday 27 August to Sunday 5 September, with an array of free and ticketed events at a range of locations across the Cairns region.

Visit for event details.

/Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.