BLEACH* FESTIVAL opens in three weeks & celebrates 10th ANNIVERSARY! 12-22 AUGUST 2021.

WORDS: Andrew Meadowcroft PHOTOGRAPHY Supplied

At a time when the Gold Coast was widely considered a cultural desert, a collective group of the city’s creatives believed the contrary and the genesis of BLEACH* Festival was born in 2012.  Ten years later and nearly one million festival attendees will testify that BLEACH* has firmly established a unique offering amongst Australia’s premium arts and cultural festivals.

“What a year to be celebrating the 10th Bleach Festival,’’ said Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate.

“Our cultural dessert is blooming in 2021 with arts and culture high on the agenda for so many residents. I love how BLEACH* continues to tease its audience with more offerings right across the city. I’ll be keen to check out the shed hoedowns in Mudgeeraba come August.’’

“In just a decade, BLEACH* has established itself as the Gold Coast’s signature festival and it has been brilliant in defining the core elements of our city identity: Big, bold and bright, brimming with energy and a magical way to have a great time.” said Tom Tate, Mayor of the City of Gold Coast.

In 2021, BLEACH* opens in three weeks’ time and will be held from 12-22 August across the Gold Coast.  At a time when many still feel distanced, BLEACH* encourages audiences (both locals and visitors alike) to ‘Listen to your heart,’ as the festival transforms the city’s beachside esplanades, vacant blocks and hinterland hideaways into 11 days of pulsating live music, performance and installation.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to be celebrating the tenth BLEACH* Festival! Our program spans from Currumbin to the CBD of Southport, Burleigh Heads and the winding roads of Springbrook Valley.” said Artistic Director for BLEACH* and CEO of Placemakers* Gold Coast, Rosie Dennis.

The Gold Coast’s signature annual arts and cultural celebration will feature three main hubs including the beachside haven of Burleigh Heads, Southport in the heart of the city’s CBD and lastly, the historical suburb of Mudgeeraba at the foothills of the hinterland. The reach of the festival will also extend across cultural corridors at HOTA (Home of the Arts) and Dust Temple – Currumbin.

“Featuring the work of more than 300 artists, this year’s Festival theme is “Listen To Your Heart” – and that’s exactly what we’ve done to create a program of experiences that reflect our contemporary Gold Coast.” said Artistic Director for BLEACH* and CEO of Placemakers* Gold Coast, Rosie Dennis.

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said BLEACH* Festival connected people with arts and cultural experiences.

“This signature arts festival started as a small fringe event in 2012, and now in its 10th year, it has become one of Australia’s more exciting place-based festivals,” Minister Enoch said.

 “The Queensland Government’s ongoing support for BLEACH* recognises the crucial role of the arts in our lives, the importance of telling stories that are unique to Queensland, and significant cultural tourism outcomes that events can deliver for local communities.

 “This year our investment includes an extra $100,000 for Big City Lights, a spectacular light installation that will illuminate the Gold Coast sky showcasing new light-based installations and 3D mapped projections that celebrate the urban environment.

 “Every year, the arts contributes $8.5 billion to the State’s economy and supports more than 92,000 Queensland jobs and that is why festivals like this are so important.”


A festival favourite and the first precinct to open will be at Burleigh Heads. Audiences are invited to meet on the shoreline as they make culinary/cultural connections, battle in a big-band swing-dance jam, get behind a girl power inspired Massive Band and be captivated by an evening orchestra on North Burleigh headland.

First Light marks the opening day of BLEACH* 2021 with a 5am sunrise ceremony blending traditional and contemporary First Nations connections, featuring Rick Roser and Emma Donovan who has been described by The Australian’s Tony Hiller as “one of Australia’s most gifted female singers.”

The famed Justins Park will again be a hive of activity on the opening weekend of BLEACH*, certain to tantalise the tastebuds of those with a love of delicious cuisine. Feast With Us invites guests to share in three unique, culinary and cultural experiences, dining under the stars in the hands of celebrated chefs Aunty Dale Chapman (My Dilly Bag), Chris Jordan (Three Little Birds), women from the Multicultural Families Organisation and Brenda Fowdon (Mondo Organics / The Soup Kitchen Café) – with a curated soundtrack of live music accompanying each night’s dining theme.

This year will also activate the North Burleigh Headland with the world premiere of BEACONS by renowned percussionist and composer Vanessa Tomlinson and sound artist Lawrence English (“One of ambient music’s modern masters.” – Fact Mag). A genre-blurring collaboration years in the making, culminating with an orchestra positioned on a cliff face over the moonlit ocean waves.

Popular multi-award-winning artist Briggs will headline a Saturday night free concert for the first time on the Gold Coast with 4ESYDNEY curator Vyvienne Abla pulling together an epic afternoon line-up of Australia’s finest contemporary hip-hop artists and musicians.

Another Queensland premiere Massive Band, created by composer, percussionist and all-round musical powerhouse Bree van Reyk, will see 100 girls, women, trans and non-binary folks turn up their amplifiers to 11 and blast out rock classics by the likes of Patti Smith and Joan Jett!

Swing Jam is part social dance, part big band live music battle featuring Baartzy’s Brew and Morse Code. Acclaimed violinist virtuoso Véronique Serret will perform a one-off set of her tapestry of loops, delay and reverb, whilst Thunderhead is Tina Havelock Stevens’ intertwining of film and live percussion.

Rounding out the Burleigh program is Surfing the Fringe, an opportunity to celebrate the festival’s 10th anniversary in a special one-night event with some of the talented artists that have participated in BLEACH* over the last decade. The BLEACH* Club (Beachside Bar) is the ideal place to meet and mingle with friends during the festival.  Enjoy a beverage and a bite to eat at the oceanside oasis with DJ’s spinning slick tunes across both weekends.



The backdrop of the city’s CBD will feature heavily as a vacant block that was a former convent is transformed into a contemporary psychedelic saturation of the senses. Australia Council for the Arts fellowship recipient Vernon Ah Kee’s signature text-based works will become vast typographic light installations alongside Colour Blind’s signature style of audio-visual experimentation, collectively transforming the surrounding buildings with an immersive visual spectacle.

In the foreground, Brisbane’s Justene Williams and her unique brand of part rock concert, part fashion parade will be paired alongside the newly commissioned Tower Divas – a collaboration of three powerful voices led by Australia Art Music Award finalist Corrina Bonshek.

Meanwhile, the Double Backed Beast – a certainty to make your heart quicken and skin tingle, the first ride in history that combines the latest in adrenaline mechanics, deep massage and intimacy technologies. Intrigued?  You should be!

Working in collaboration with Jerrycan films, Helpmann award-winning company The Farm brings their uniquely physical and visceral aesthetic to the screen in a work of sweeping imagery that asks all of us to remember what keeps us together when it all falls apart.  A Perpetual State of What The F#%@k!!?? is a new commission by BLEACH* Festival.

Climaxing in the CBD – Part explosive comedy cabaret, part interactive club night, join the Cliterati, an all-singing, all-dancing fierce collection of feminists from a not-so-secret society dedicated to combating misogyny and oppression. Pop a bottle at Glittery Clittery as you are treated to a killer disco soundtrack, music, games and much more.


Head to the hinterland for a series of unique performances by four artists at four distinctly different rural sheds in Mudgeeraba.  Big hART’s Acoustic Life of Sheds features Mzaza, Michael Askill, Christine Johnston and Andrew Tuttle performing new site-specific works as audiences travel between properties in a carpooling convoy.



Described by The Sydney Morning Herald as a “revelation,” – Betty Grumble has curated the party of the year, full of fabulous electronic music, queer performance art and DJs in this multi-dimensional extravaganza.


Warm up on cold winter nights at HOTA’s Fireside for a stellar line-up of live music, great art, food and conversation. Enjoy a glass of wine and bite to eat. It is the perfect remedy to chase away those winter blues.


12 – 22 August 2021

2021 HUBS: Burleigh Heads, Mudgeeraba, Southport

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