The Gold Coast’s first surf culture festival, Bleach* Surfing the Fringe, has been hailed a success by festival organisers.
The first of its kind for the region, Bleach* Surfing the Fringe highlighted creative pursuits inspired by surf culture with a festival program that spanned fifty five events staged over sixteen consecutive days across ten kilometres of coastline. The festival incorporated contemporary live music performances, pop up art galleries housed in shipping containers, a street party, art projections on iconic landmarks, fashion events and more. Bleach* was bookended by existing major surf events The Breaka Burleigh Pro and the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro.
Economic statistics compiled during Bleach* by Destination Research & Development highlight a total of $1.74 million in visitor expenditure across the duration of the festival, a figure festival organizers hope to build upon further in coming years as the event solidifies its place as a major fixture on the Queensland events calendar.
Close to 30,000 people attended the festival over its sixteen day tenure. Festival Director Louise Bezzina was overwhelmed by the response to Bleach* in its opening year. “The festival has been hailed as a great success by the local community as well as the visitors who attended the Festival. It was extremely well received, and really put the Southern Gold Coast on the cultural map.”
Ms Bezzina stressed the importance of Bleach* to the local community and its impact on creative industries, surfing-related businesses and hospitality venues in the region. “Bleach* strives to provide employment and professional development opportunities for local artists. The Festival showcases the creativity of the Gold Coast and the uniqueness of the area to a national and international audience.”
Festival organisers aim to run Bleach* in a similar format in 2013, but thanks to input from stakeholders and the public have identified areas of improvement to assist future festival growth. “We will consolidate the visual arts and gallery program and look at enhancing the successful event components in 2013. We will also review some of the boutique, pop up style events and look at raising more funding to ensure the festival has a greater impact nationally and internationally. The 2013 Festival will focus on greater artist collaboration between local and interstate artists,” Ms Bezzina said.
Chairman of Connecting Southern Gold Coast, Murray D’Almeida, said “The success of the this innovative initiative exceeded all expectations and the confidence of the Gold Coast City Council in supporting this economic driver and cultural Festival as well as out sponsors and volunteers was vindicated by the outstanding acclaim the event received locally and nationally.”
Festival organisers wish to thank attendees, sponsors, media partners, volunteers, artists and staff for their commitment to ensuring Bleach* enjoyed outstanding success in its opening year.
2012 Bleach* Surfing the Fringe Festival Statistics:
- The inaugural Bleach* Festival ran from 11 Feb – 26 Feb 2012
- The Festival program ran for 16 days and included 55 events from a range of disciplines including:
- Visual Arts
- The Festival covered 10 kilometres of coastline from Currumbin – Coolangatta with offshoots in Burleigh Heads (Breaka Burleigh Pro) and Surfers Paradise at the Arts Centre Gold Coast
- Over 500 pieces of art and surf photographs were exhibited across 11 shipping containers, galleries and empty shops
- More than 168 artists from both visual arts and performing arts showcased their work
- The Festival had 60 volunteers
- 58 Sponsors, Government Partners and Supporters
- 45 pieces of art work were sold during the Festival – 0% commission was taken by the Festival
- Close to 30,000 people attended Bleach over the 16 day period with several of the in-venue events selling out. These include:
- Sway on Sunset – Komune
- Tijuana Cartel – The SoundLounge
- The Surfer and The Mermaid – Surf World Gold Coast and The Arts Centre
- The Festival received national and international media coverage, including a story profiling Bleach* and several artists broadcast online through the Quiksilver Pro webcast with a world-wide audience of 6 million people.
- Bleach* and The Arts Centre Gold Coast is in negotiations with an independent Theatre Company in Sydney about the on-selling of The Surfer and The Mermaid, a local production commissioned and produced by Bleach* and The Arts Centre Gold Coast.
- Visitor expenditure across the duration of the festival was $1.74 million