Coronavirus sees Riverfire axed from Brisbane Festival; lasers to light up skyline instead
Jul 28, 2020
By Edwina Seselja
Brisbane Festival is set to go ahead this year, but the city's skyline will look different with Riverfire being scrapped to avoid large crowds gathering during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The festival's artistic director, Louise Bezzina, told ABC Radio Brisbane the iconic fireworks display was irreplaceable.
"It's an event that brings out the masses and unfortunately in a year like this, it's not a possibility," she said.
But the show must go on, and laser and light shows are set to bring Brisbane's sky to life across the three-week event in Riverfire's absence.
"The closest thing is the Night Sky laser light and sound installation that will beam off 12 buildings across the CBD for two hours each Friday and Saturday night," Ms Bezzina said.
"It will be absolutely beautiful."
The installation has been designed to avoid people gathering and staying together in one place.
Instead, people will be able to take in the display from numerous vantage points or while moving around the city.
"We are working extremely hard to make sure that everything we do is COVID safe, and we are working very closely with Queensland Health, who have been wonderful in providing lots of great advice," Ms Bezzina said.
While some events are online, the majority of the festival's program is live.
Homegrown talent driving the festival
Ms Bezzina said while organising a major event in a pandemic "has not been a walk in the park", there had been a silver lining for local artists with only one international artist to feature.
"We're resilient in the arts and we just found a way to keep the party going," she said.
"There is amazing talent in this city and it's wonderful to be able to showcase it."
She said most festival events were free this year to ensure there was no barrier for people who have been doing it tough.
"I think we just really need some joy in our lives, and artists need employment more than ever."
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