COLOURFUL LAUNCH: Bollywood Dhamaka gets the audience involved in Bollywood dance at the launch of the 2014 Ipswich Festival at UQ Ipswich.
COLOURFUL LAUNCH: Bollywood Dhamaka gets the audience involved in Bollywood dance at the launch of the 2014 Ipswich Festival at UQ Ipswich. Rob Williams

Ipswich Festival to unite city with river as backdrop

IPSWICH will come alive with colour, culture and creativity when Ipswich Festival swings into action on April 24.

Festival organisers revealed the massive line-up of nearly 80 individual events at an official launch at UQ Ipswich.

At the helm is Ipswich Events Corporation executive chairman Paul Casos, who said the festival put the spotlight on the city's history, culture and arts over the three-week period.

"We have the largest number of local artists appearing at the festival ever. Of the 78 program performances, 47 are locally sourced," he said.

"The highlight for me is the emphasis on the river."

After experiencing its fury during the floods, the Brisbane River will serve as a major feature for the first time as the city comes together to celebrate on its banks.

Riverheart Parklands will form the backdrop to inaugural Friday Night River Sessions featuring a flock of home-grown artists, the Adrift nightly light and sound installation, the Creative Kidz Big Day Out and the Fire on the River spectacular firework display.

Mayor Paul Pisasale said the festival was an enriching part of Ipswich's social calendar, providing a platform for the city's emerging talents to entertain people of all ages.

"This city is kicking goals all over Australia," he said. "The festival is about celebrating our successes and letting our kids know we are a city we can be proud of.

"I want everybody to kick up their heels for three weeks of fun."

The fireworks on April 24 and the Mayor's Festival Ball on April 26 will open the festival celebrations.

Among the highlights is THAT Production Company's portrayal of William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet, performed by a cast of Ipswich's up-and-coming performers at Studio 188 from April 30 to May 10.

Ipswich Festival Parade on May 3 promises a colourful spectacle under the theme 'Great Aussie Icons', followed by the Heritage Bank Street Party and London Calling, to ignite the CBD atmosphere into the afternoon.

The popular Jazz, Wines and Blues will delight the senses to the sounds of Mason Rack, Ipswich City Big Band, Louis King and the Liars Club among others. Revellers can fill a picnic basket with Paddock to Plate foods and Queensland finest wines on May 4 and enjoy an afternoon of in Queens Park; or step back in time on May 8 for Sounds of the 60s - An American Trilogy at Ipswich Civic Centre.

Opera Queensland will present Opera Acoustics at St Paul's Anglican Church on May 9, followed by the vibrant, multicultural Global Fiesta of food, dance, workshops and entertainment at Robelle Domain on May 10.

Bookings for ticketed events have now opened. To view the full list of the program, visit ipswichfestival.com.au/2014/



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