Highlights of what’s happening in Australia this May, carefully curated by some of our local TEAN staff in Australia. It’s a mix of free and paid events that includes everything from comedy shows and food festivals to fun runs and volunteer opportunities. Current students, please check your inboxes for the complete list of events.

Australia What's On Blog Titles

Gold Coast

Surfers Paradise Beachside Night Markets [FREE]

When: Each Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Where: Surfers Paradise Foreshore

Make your way to the Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets to wander along the coastal stretch of more than 120 market stalls, while live entertainers set a casual mood in their performance. One of the largest of the Gold Coast Night Markets, the Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets feature a variety of premium products, including fashion, jewellery, accessories, artworks, photographs, beauty products and home wares. It has a funky vibe and you can pick up some unique stuff for family and friends back home.

Surfers Paradise Live [FREE]

When: 8 -10  May

Where: The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise.

A free and pretty cool music festival is coming and features ARIA award-winning smash hit duo Sneaky Sound System as the headliner!  There are tons of artists playing so definitely head along.

Music in the Park [FREE]

When: 17 May, 12 – 4.00pm

Where: Justin’s Park; The Esplanade – Burleigh

Whether you like blues, jazz, acoustic or just appreciate good sounds and want to support our local musicians, there is something on offer for you. Grab a rug, bring a picnic or support your local food vendors. The following performers – Red Bop Jazz Band, Savanah, Matt Ward are playing.

Blues on Broadbeach Music Festival [FREE]

When: 21 – 24 May
Where: Broadbeach; Various venues

Blues on Broadbeach features four massive days of non-stop entertainment on outdoor stages and various venues around the local area. Don’t miss some of the biggest names in the industry including international superstar Andrew Strong “The Commitments Tour”, James Morrison, the Black Sorrows featuring Vika and Linda, Charlie Parr (USA), Jeff Lang and many more.

Volunteer with Beach Care [FREE]

When: 23 May, 9 – 11am
Where: Aubrey Street, Surfers Paradise.

Help make a difference to our local community and beach by planting natives; picking up litter and removing invasive weeds. Light refreshments provided.

“I am Jack” – Arts Culture [$19.50]

When: 26 – 29 May
Where: Gold Coast Arts Centre; 135 Bundall Road, Bundall.

This one man show explores the often overlooked insidious taunting and teasing that bullies are so adept at inflicting on their victims and the roles that family and schools can play in responding. Jack takes us on a touching and sometimes comical journey as he moves from victim to victor.

Laugh Your Pants Off [$49]

When: 15 May, 7.30pm

Where: Jupiter’s Casino, Broadbeach

Want to see some Australian comedians on display then consider the ninth instalment of this one night only stand-up comedy night. Headlined by Australia’s favourite larrikin Dave “Hughsey” Hughes. Other acts are local and some are international.

Brisbane Kokoda Challenge [$70]

When: 31 May, 7am – 4pm

Where: Brookfield Showgrounds; Brisbane.

The 30 km and 15 km event winds through some of Brisbane’s toughest terrain. If you want to test your fitness this event is for you! In honour of the Kokoda Spirit, the track undulates through the green scenery in the west of Brisbane Forest Park. Teams of two, three and four will find the course is not without toils. As you descend down to a creek bed you encounter a sharp turn onto a narrow trail aptly named ‘hell hole’ – ensuring that you don’t forget the meaning of endurance before arriving at the finish line. Want to have a go but not sure about 30 km – then give the 15 km course a go.



IRL Digital Festival [FREE]

When: 7 – 17 May

Where: Brisbane Powerhouse, New Farm

IRL Digital Festival is Brisbane Powerhouse’s inaugural celebration of video games, technology and art. The festival takes over the venue for 10 days and nights and everyone is invited to come and play. Featuring free retro video game exhibitions, interactive art installations, digital-inspired music by Tom Thum and QSO and virtual reality fun, there is something to inspire everyone.

Paniyiri Greek Festival [Tickets $10]

When: 23 – 24 May

Where: Musgrave Park, South Brisbane

More than 30 food stalls set to showcase the tastes, recipes and secrets of food from all corners of Greece, while on the main stage, famous Greek dances the Zorba, Sirto, Kalamatiano and Sousta, will be performed to music played on traditional Greek instruments including the bouzouki, tarabuka, lira and laouto.

Spanish Film Festival 2015 [Tickets from $16.50]

When: Now until 13 May

Where: Two locations: Palace Barracks Cinemas, 61 Petrie Tce, Brisbane City & Palace Centre Cinemas, 39 James Street, Fortitude Valley

Experience 38 outstanding contemporary Spanish language films that make up this fantastic programme.

Montgomery [Tickets from $18]

When: 15 May, 7pm

Where: Black Bear Lodge, 322 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley

Up-and-coming sensation, Montgomery, will be taking that ethereal, soulful sound on the road, playing her first-ever live shows down the east coast of Australia and making this the very first time audiences will be treated to the artistic talent that is Montgomery, in a live public setting.

Australian Brandenburg Orchestra – Vivaldi Unwired [Tickets from $25]

When: 11 and 19 May, 7:30pm

Where: Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), South Brisbane

A shared belief in the transformative power of music and a spirit of intrepid adventure led award-winning British composer Max Richter to take a baroque classic – Vivaldi’s Four Seasons – and reimagine it for orchestra and synthesiser. The result is an audacious creation that takes the audience through the same landscape of spring, summer, autumn and winter but with a renewed sense of the indestructible genius of Vivaldi’s work. Staying faithful to the structure of the four concertos, Richter’s Recomposed Four Seasons is in turns beautiful, peaceful and serene, yet also wild, passionate and intensely emotional.

Comedy: Judith Lucy [Tickets from $40]

When: 26 May – 7 June, various times in the evening

Where: Brisbane Powerhouse, New Farm

Always hilarious, honest and occasionally shocking, Judith doesn’t write a show unless she has something to say and she’s more than ready for this one. It is virtually impossible to imagine the Australian comedy scene without Judith Lucy and luckily, this year, you won’t have to.

San Cisco [Tickets from $48]

When: 16 & 17 May, 7pm

Where: Triffid, 7-9 Stratton Street, Newstead

San Cisco, the sunny four-piece from Fremantle, have been making catchy, upbeat music since they started playing together in high school. Australia fell in love with their quirky call-and-response single, Awkward, and since then they’ve released their critically-acclaimed debut album, been awarded Triple J feature album, and sold out national tours.

Illumi Run Brisbane [Tickets from $60]

When: 16 May, 5pm

Where: RNA Showgrounds, Bowen Hills

The ILLUMI RUN is the ultimate party on the run. Light up the night as you run through ILLUMI glow water and experience electrifying music in the ILLUMI dance zones! The fun continues after the run, with the ultimate paint and music filled party! For runners, dancers and party-lovers, it is a chance to be part of the wildest party run!

Dirty Dancing Musical [Tickets from $60]

When: From 27 May

Where: Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), South Brisbane

Seen by millions across the globe, it’s the classic story of Baby and Johnny, two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds, who come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives.



‘Head On’ Photography Festival [FREE with some paid exhibits]

When: 1-31 May

Where: Various locations

Head On Photo Festival is the nation’s most prestigious showcase for global photography. Head On turns the city of Sydney into a living cross-section of cutting edge photography and video media. Exhibiting across all genres and experiences. Head On is a bridge between Australian and International photographic markets. In 2014, Head On exhibited 55 artists from 18 countries.

VIVID Festival Sydney  [FREE]

When: 22 May – 8 June, 6pm – Midnight

Where: Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay, The Rocks, Walsh Bay, Martin Place and other areas of Sydney

Vivid Sydney is an 18-day festival of light, music and ideas – the largest of its kind in Australia and in the Southern Hemisphere. It comprises three major elements: Vivid Light, Vivid Music and Vivid Ideas Family friendly, each year Vivid Sydney transforms the city into a colourful canvas of light, music, and ideas, and is a major celebration of the creative industries. 

Pyrmont Festival – Headliner [FREE]
 16 –  17 May from 11am to 5pm

Where:  Pirrama Park, Pirrama Road Pyrmont

A 10-day festival showcasing more than 50 restaurants, wine bars, hotels, winemakers and artists from Pyrmont and the Mudgee Region. Also features live music, local artists, rides and around 100 stalls where guests can meet wine-makers, participate in tastings and sample a broad range of fine foods.

Sydney Writers Festival  [FREE and ticketed events]

When: 18 – 24 May

Where: Pier 2, Walsh Bay, 13 Hickson Rd Sydney

Australia’s largest celebration of literature, stories and ideas Sydney Writers’ Festival presents over 300 events in venues that stretch from the Festival hub at Walsh Bay to the Blue Mountains. For one week every May SWF brings together authors of the very best contemporary fiction and writers of cutting edge nonfiction, including some of the world’s leading public intellectuals, scientists and journalists. The theme of the 2015 Festival is How to Live? 400 writers will help us make sense of the world, exploring ideas of happiness, grief, spirituality, ageing and mortality.

Sydney Rock ‘N’ Roll & Alternative Market [$5 entry]

When: 17 May, 10.30am to 5pm.

Where: Manning Bar & Manning House, Sydney University

Part market, part music festival, part meeting place, Sydney Rock ‘n’ Roll and Alternative Market is one of Sydney’s most unique shopping experiences and a fabulous day out. Passionate, colourful and seriously cool stallholders sell quality, rock ‘n’ roll, alternative and vintage clothing, accessories, music, including vinyl records, and other unique goods. Plus a massive entertainment line-up, vintage and classic vehicle display, kids giant games, international food stalls, cafe and bars. Over three levels and across two huge courtyards it’s a monster of an event too.

AUDI Festival Of German Films [Tickets from $19.50]

When: 13 – 31 May

Where: Palace Norton Street in Leichhardt and Chauvel Cinema, Paddington

The Audi Festival of German Films, orchestrated by the Goethe-Institut Australia, showcases Germany’s thriving creative industry. The festival brings a selection of contemporary, award-winning, internationally acclaimed German-language movies with English subtitles to Australian cities, towns and their communities.

BAMF Film Festival, Sydney [$30]

When: 4 – 14 May

Where: Randwick Ritz Cinema, Seymore Centre (Theatre near Sydney Uni) and Cremorne Orpheum Cinema (on North Shore)

ADRENALIN & ADVENTURE JUNKIES  – You don’t want to miss the BAMF Mountain film Festival, Round the World Tour.  This is the most prestigious international short film competition, showcasing outdoor, extreme sports, mountain sports, culture and environment. The top films are selected from 375 entries to be in the annual film festival, which travels around the world. It’s 2 hours of adrenalin packed edge of your seat stuff.  These are not your standard X-Treme sport u-tube, or home made videos. Action footage is incorporated into stories, focusing on the characters, breathtaking landscapes, cultures, and produced with the help of some of the best film making talent around. The films will blow you away.

‘Pearl’ – The Janis Joplin Story. Featuring Liza Ohlback  [Tickets from $36.80]
 22 May from 6.30 to 11pm

Where: The Vanguard, 42 King Street Newtown

The music, obsessions and passions of Janis Joplin. Told with biting spirit and sung with soul by Jazz and Blues specialist Liza Ohlback.

Sydney Comedy Festival [Average ticket price $60]

When: 20 April – 20 May

Where: Variety of shows and venues

hahahahahahahihhhihihahhaha!  The Sydney Comedy Festival is Sydney’s biggest annual comedy event. In April/May, hundreds of the world’s funniest comedians take to stages across Sydney to entertain an audience of more than 111,000 people.



Fed Square Book Market [FREE]

When: Every Saturday

Where: The Atrium, Fed Square

If you’re a lover of books, head down to the Fed Square for the largest weekly book market. Held every Saturday afternoon in The Atrium from 11am – 5pm, head on down and browse through the hundreds of new and pre-loved titles on offer.

Human Right Arts and Film Festival [FREE and paid events]

When: 7 -12 May

Where: Various venues around Melbourne

Presenting the best films and artwork from around the world, the annual Human Rights Arts & Film Festival (HRAFF) will challenge, touch and inspire audiences from all walks of life. HRAFF is a Melbourne based not-for-profit organisation devoted to the exploration of human rights issues through an annual film and arts festival and an on-going schools and community program. HRAFF selects its arts and film to engage and inform people on human rights issues. The festival’s innovative and entertaining program resonates with audiences, encouraging them to talk about their experience.

Stonnington Jazz Festival [FREE and paid events]

When: 14 – 24 May

Where: Various venus in the City of Stonnington (Malvern, Prahran, Windsor, South Yarra)

A short tram/train ride from the city, Stonnington Jazz is firmly established as an important event on the national jazz calendar. Whether you are a passionate jazz fan or a newcomer to the exciting world of jazz, there are plenty of shows in this year’s program that we’re sure you will enjoy.

St Kilda Film Festival [Tickets from $18]

When: 21 – 30 May

Where: Various venues in St Kilda.

Running for 30 years, the St Kilda Film Festival is Autralia’s largest and oldest short film festival. St Kilda Film Festival provides the most comprehensive overview of the national short film industry, screening the Top 100 short film entries received each year alongside a rich program of new music videos, international short films, special screenings and events. Each year, the Festival also includes a Filmmaker Development Program and Industry Open Day

Good Beer Week

When: 16 – 24 May

Where: Various venues around Melbourne

Good Beer Week is a nine day celebration of all that’s great about beer. Whether you love fine food, cool beers, comedy, music or just having a great time with mates, we’ve got something for you from huge showcases to intimate gatherings.

The Flick by Annie Baker @ Red Stitch Actors Theatre [$37]

When: Now until 23 May

Where: Red Stitch Actors Theatre, Rear 2 Chapel St, St Kilda East

Red Stitch is an artist driven company who develop, curate and present work from Australian and around the world. They are considered one of the best independent theatre companies in Melbourne and consistently produce high quality work. After a sell-out season in 2014, their critically acclaimed production of The Flick returns.The Flick – Sam, Rose and Avery bicker, laugh and dream their way through shifts at one of the last remaining film projection cinemas in Massachusetts. New kid Avery has an encyclopaedic obsession with film. Sam has an unrequited obsession with Rose. And Rose does what Rose wants to do. With keen insight and a finely tuned comedic eye, Annie Baker examines hidden corners of our existence, revealing the gems of truth that reside therein.

Mother’s Day Classic Fun Run [$55 Registration]

When: 10 May

Where: Starts at Alexandra Garden

For more than 15 years, the Mother’s Day Classic fun run and walk has provided communities with a great way to celebrate Mother’s Day and raise funds for breast cancer research. Grab a friend or two, or even a team of runners and walk, run or jog all for a good cause.

Wanderlust Festival [$55]

When: 16 May

Where: Catani Gardens, St Kilda West

Wanderlust is a triathlon, but with a twist: this spirit-cleansing day combines a five kilometre run, an outdoor yoga session and guided meditation, as well as bands, DJs and local food and craft stalls. The festival has been a massive success in the USA and Canada and recently brought editions to Cockatoo Island in Sydney and Lake Taupo in New Zealand.