Queensland is expanding its cultural calendar with $600,000 from the State Government to support the delivery of 13 arts and culture events.  

The funding is set to activate communities, amplify cultural vibrancy and drive economy-boosting tourism.  

Three organisations have been supported to investigate the feasibility of potential new events:  

  • The Crackup Sisters’ concept for a comedy festival in western Queensland in 2026  
  • NorthSite Contemporary Arts’ proposed Oceania Print Festival in Cairns  
  • Museum of Brisbane’s proposal for a city-wide visual arts event in 2026  

Key regional music festivals are also being supported to help them grow:  

  • The Texas Country Music Festival to attract high-profile artists  
  • The Sunshine Coast’s Big Pineapple Music Festival to have more visual arts and local artists  
  • The Baralaba Bash music and arts festival to attract big-name headline acts and make the festival bigger and better known  

First Nations artists are also being backed:  

  • The 2024 Mt Isa Mines Indigenous Rodeo will now include a precinct to showcase First Nations art, dance, songs, stories, performances and workshops  
  • The Savannah in the Round music event will now include First Nations artistic displays and cultural activities  

Queensland Minister for the Arts, Leeanne Enoch, said that Queensland is known for its iconic experiences and this investment will help generate more engaging arts and cultural events and programming to attract even greater numbers of visitors.  

“As we prepare for the global spotlight of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the State Government is ensuring our regional communities can leverage the opportunities the games will present, and benefit from legacy outcomes,” Minister Enoch said.  

“Our Grow Cultural Tourism Fund supports a strong calendar of diverse and vibrant arts and cultural events across the state, stimulating local creative communities, engaging wider audiences, growing jobs for artists and arts workers, and driving positive economic outcomes.”  

Isa Rodeo CEO, Natalie Flecker, said that the ability to expand the program of the Mount Isa Mines Indigenous Rodeo Championships to include a First Nations arts and cultural precinct creates an opportunity to celebrate Kalkutungu people on Kalkadoon Country, create unity and close the gap, build pride in Mount Isa with its Indigenous and non-indigenous people, and create employment.  

“This is a testament to our commitment to walk the pathway together,” Ms Flecker said.  

“We will continue to listen and learn through stories, song, dance and truth-telling that is weaved into the delivery of this very special event that we encourage everyone to come and experience for themselves.  

First Nations peoples, especially in the North West, have long been involved in the cattle industry, rodeo circuits and stock work, and they were key to growing these industries despite the historical trauma they faced during these times. It is important that we utilise and respect the importance of having a strong First Nations cultural presence at this sporting event.  

The idea of Kiakati is to create a dedicated space that showcases not only local Kalkadoon/Kalkutungu arts and culture, but also the arts and culture of neighbouring peoples connected to Kalkutungu through traditional trade routes and song lines.  

“With the Brisbane 2032 Olympics and Paralympic Games approaching, Kiakati and the Mount Isa Mines Indigenous Rodeo Championships has the potential to grow into a leading Queensland event to celebrate and recognise the ongoing contributions of Australia’s First Nations peoples.”  

Sound Australia CEO, James Dein, said that his team are ecstatic to be given the opportunity to extend their support of local jobs, artists and businesses at Savannah in the Round.  

The art activations at Savannah have always tapped into the interwoven landscape – reflecting the colours, elements, textures that are significant to the area,” Mr Dein said.  

“This year we are excited to see more of this from the numerous arts projects – like weaving, mural painting and light projections – that we will feature at the festival. 

We look forward to helping provide a platform, particularly for young and emerging artists, and First Nations artists to bring to life the creative ideas of Tropical North Queensland.” 

Image: Wirestock Creators/shutterstock.com 

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