D Days
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until the 2018 Commonwealth Games commence.
Longines Time
April 4 to 15 2018

Festival 2018 is coming to Cairns

Festival 2018
6 Mar 2018 by Hope Kerslake

The gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns is a haven for nature lovers, adventurers and sun seekers, and will become an oasis for all things creative in April.

With 12 days of free music, dance, comedy and theatre on offer in Cairns, GC2018.com sat down with the Cairns City Mayor Cr Bob Manning OAM to see what he is most excited to see during Festival 2018.

What are the Festival 2018 acts you are most excited about?

Beginnings is something really special for our region. It’s an entirely local production – from the writers to the director and crew and the cast – and it’s a musical telling of the story of Cairns. 

I’m also really looking forward to seeing Amy Shark and Kate Miller-Heidke. Kate performed at the opening of Munro Martin Parklands and she was phenomenal.

A few of the Beginnings cast pose for the camera
A spectacular musical theatre experience made up of more than 300 people from Cairns’ many talented community groups, Beginnings is a magical production that will take place on Saturday 7 April at the Munro Martin Parklands.

Why should the city get excited about the events coming to Cairns?

This is a chance for residents and visitors to come together and really celebrate our city. We’ve got some very high calibre performers visiting, plus a showcase of the extensive talent that exists in the Far North.

The Live Site, in particular, will be a melding of sport and culture where everyone is welcome and there is always something happening.

This is the largest cultural festival our council has ever delivered. It will feature hundreds of local performers, artists and contributors in more than 100 individual performances and activities across 12 days.

This is an opportunity for Cairns to showcase its diverse and quality local artists.

Award-winning singer-songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke will be bringing her classically trained vocals and alternative pop sounds to the Cairns LiveSite on the Esplanade on Thursday 12 April.

Why do you believe the local community should experience the free Festival 2018 acts?

This is our city’s time to shine. We are honoured that Cairns has been chosen as an official Event City for the Commonwealth Games. 

In return, we are presented with a wonderful opportunity for residents to come together to proudly celebrate our city and its people, and to welcome visitors to our shores.

This is a time for friendship, interaction and participation. Let’s all be part of this exciting and historic community event.

Our involvement in the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games will further enhance Cairns’ reputation as an international-standard sports and events destination. It will showcase our region to the world and take our own goals and expectations to a new level.

Furthermore, Festival 2018 will shine a spotlight on our city as an established arts and cultural hub and provides a stepping stone for our highly talented emerging artists and performers to achieve their dreams.

Cairns Mayor Cr Bob Manning OAM smiles for the camera.
Cairns Mayor Cr Bob Manning believes the city's involvement in GC2018 will further enhance Cairns’ reputation as an international-standard sports and events destination.

What is the most important part of the Games?

It’s a time when this brotherhood of nations comes together to celebrate not only sport, but the special connection and friendship that exists between these diverse countries. And that friendship extends into the community. 

We love our rivalries – particularly with New Zealand and Britain – but it’s always friendly and respectful. I look forward to seeing good sportsmanship both on and off the sporting field.

The New Zealand team perform the haka before the men's gold medal basketball against Australia at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.
The New Zealand team perform the haka before the men's gold medal basketball against Australia at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Which sporting event are you most looking forward to and why?

Obviously, the basketball will be pretty exciting for Cairns – we can’t wait to see players from across the globe take to the court at the Cairns Convention Centre. Aside from that, I enjoy watching the athletics. 

In particular, I hope Sally Pearson does very well. She’s an inspirational person. She was told that she wasn’t big enough to be successful, but she’s driven herself to be the best. She’s proved that you don’t have to be the biggest or the strongest, you just need to have the belief and the commitment. And that’s what these Games are all about.

With 115 free Festival 2018 events on offer and basketball preliminary tickets still available, the Cairns community can come for the sport and stay for the show.