See & do

Gold Coast major events guide 2021

January 7, 2021

Events play a significant role in the liveability, lifestyle and image of the Gold Coast while providing benefits to the city’s economy.

The Gold Coast has seen exceptional success in recent years in attracting major events to the city and has earned the region a reputation as a global events destination.

We Are Gold Coast has compiled a guide of major event highlights for 2021. Scroll down to find out what’s happening…

2021 Magic Millions Carnival | Gold Coast Turf Club | 12 – 18 January

An intensive week of racehorse sales, attracting the who’s who of the racing industry to the Gold Coast Turf Club. The social highlight is the Magic Millions Raceday, which features the richest race in Queensland. A classic Gold Coast summer event, tailor made for buyers, punters and fashionistas.

Supercell: Festival of Contemporary Dance | Surfers Paradise | 15 February

Supercell: Festival of Contemporary Dance is back in 2021 with a jam-packed program celebrating bodies in motion. Bursting with powerful performances, inspiring workshops and thought-provoking conversations. Held across in the summer season in February 2021 across the Home of the Arts precinct at Surfers Paradise, Supercell is a vibrant gathering of people and offers the chance to get up close and personal with creatives and artists.

Bowlzilla | Elanora | 17 Feb – 13 March

Bowlzilla is a unique skateboard festival on the Gold Coast which celebrates the end of summer. It puts the Gold Coast on the world’s skating stage and showcases the very best the city has to offer skaters. The Gold Coast is home to the most skate parks per capita than any city in Australia – so it is fitting this festival takes place in our very own backyard.

The Australian Beach Volleyball Tour Finals I Coolangatta I 12 – 14 March

The Australian Beach Volleyball Tour is the premier elite domestic Beach Volleyball series in Australia. The tour attracts Australia’s best athletes and welcomes international wildcard entries while bringing to the sand a spectacle of exciting talent. The finals will be held on the beach at Coolangatta.

Beyond the Sand | Surfers Paradise | 13 – 21 March

Beyond the Sand Arts Festival (formerly known as Sand Safari Arts Festival) will transform Surfers Paradise into a beachfront gallery of colour, movement and music across nine spectacular days and nights from 13 – 21 March 2021. The 2021 event will be circus-themed offering entertainment for the entire family. Featuring the annual Australian Sand Sculpting Championships, installations from local and nationally acclaimed artists, as well as daily circus performances, roving entertainment, sand art activities and sculpting workshops, attendees will be able to ‘step right up’ and learn new skills from performers and artists.

Queensland Surf Life Saving State Championships I 26-28 March

The pinnacle event of Queensland’s surf sport calendar. Competitors from all across Queensland will battle the sand, surf and each other in their quest for state glory. Some of the surf lifesaving’s greatest rivalries will be reignited when the state’s top Senior and Masters surf sport athletes contest the Queensland Surf Life Saving State Championships.

Somerset Storyfest I 13-20 March

Storyfest is the writers’ festival for the Gold Coast. The cornerstone three-day event offers over 130 events to the wider community. Delivering a series of literary experiences along with workshops, masterclasses and featured authors throughout the year, Storyfest nurtures emerging writers and provides opportunities for readers and writers alike.

Gold Coast Triathlon – Luke Harrop Memorial | Robina | 11 April

The 2021 Gold Coast Triathlon – Luke Harrop Memorial includes a packed entertainment schedule for the whole family to enjoy. Entrants can enjoy some fast and flat racing, with Sprint, Enticer and Kool Kids options available, there is something for everyone!

Solid Gold: Artists from Paradise | HOTA | 10 April – 20 June

The new HOTA Gallery’s first ever major exhibition premieres new works indoors and out, celebrating the diversity, richness and ambition of the Gold Coast. Established Australian artists including Hiromi Tango, Michael Candy, Samuel Leighton-Dore and Libby Harward will be exhibited alongside locally recognised artists and collectives. The exhibition features a variety of artforms including sculpture, weaving, textiles, ceramics, painting, photography, video, and installation. And with works presented in Gallery 1, around the public spaces of the Gallery, and outdoors – HOTA is literally bursting with great art around every corner.

Australian Swimming Championships | Southport | 14 – 18 April

Returning to the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, the 2021 Australian Swimming Championships will see Australian titles awarded to open and top age athletes and provide a valuable hit out for Olympic hopefuls as they will have the chance to swim morning finals to replicate and prepare for what they will experience in Tokyo.


Gold Coast Film Festival on Surfers Paradise beach


Gold Coast Film Festival | Gold Coast – citywide | 14 – 25 April

The annual Gold Coast Film Festival brings films, panels, Q&As, parties, pop-up cinemas and more to over 10 venues across the Gold Coast. Walk the red carpet on opening night alongside actors, filmmakers and film crew. Learn from Australia’s leading producers, writers and directors at intimate seminars and workshops. At the Gold Coast Film Festival, you will be captivated by internationally acclaimed dramas, comedies and genre films, local indie gems, engaging documentaries, family features and the scariest horror films.

For The Love Music Festival | Doug Jennings Park, Main Beach | 17 April

It’s 2021 and live music is making a serious comeback! Grab the gang and get in quick to secure tickets to the city’s latest new music festival ‘For The Love’. Headliners this year include Flight Facilities, Mallrat, Cosmos Midnight, Running Touch and Boo Seeka, to name a few. The event will be held at the beautiful Doug Jennings Park – so pack sunscreen and your best dancing shoes, of course!

Supanova | Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre | 17 – 18 April

Supanova is a celebration of fandom, where the worlds of film and television, fantasy, comic books, anime, sci-fi, cartoons, books, gaming and collectables come to life! There’s something for everyone, including ‘cosplay’ (costume-role play), fan clubs, musical performances, creative master classes, celebrity Q&As, wrestling, tournaments, competitions and an expo full of shopping possibilities.

Cooly Classic Ocean Swim | Coolangatta | 18 April

Join swimmers from all over Australia for the Gold Coast’s premier ocean swim. The Cooly Classic offers competitors a rare opportunity to conquer three of Australia’s most revered surf breaks – Snapper Rocks, Coolangatta and Kirra. If you’re a seasoned ocean swimmer, the 5km marathon distance is a great opportunity to test yourself beyond the typical open water distances.

Inverted Festival I Metricon Stadium I 1 May

Inverted is a brand new all ages music festival for all Australian punk and pub rock music fans. It will deliver the perfect mash up of live Aussie Punk Rock, Pub Rock, Garage Rock and even Shed Rock plus Australia’s best BMX, Skate and FMX athletes competing for gold. The equation is simple: Live Punk Rock + Australia’s best action sports event + the Gold Coast = Inverted Festival.

Corona Open Gold Coast | Snapper Rocks | 3 – 13 May

Witness world-class surfing on world-class waves at world famous Snapper Rocks, the leading right hand point break in the southern hemisphere. This World Surf League Championship Tour event sees the world’s top 34 males and top 18 females battle it out in a spectator sport not to be missed.

Australian Gymnastics Championships | Carrara | 13 – 26 May

Experience two weeks of superhuman feats, as the top gymnasts from around the country vie for the title of 2021 Australian Champion. All six competitive GymSports will be on show across the 12 days of competition. The Olympic disciplines of Men’s and Women’s Artistic, Rhythmic and Trampoline Gymnastics will put in the final preparations for Tokyo while the Acrobatic and Aerobic Gymnastics athletes will be showing off their routines ahead of their World Championships.


Blues on Broadbeach


Blues on Broadbeach Music Festival | Broadbeach | 20 – 23 May

Blues on Broadbeach is one of Australia’s largest free music festivals spanning four bluesy days and nights, with a unique, village-like atmosphere and relaxed ambience. The free and non-ticketed event nurtures Australian talent as well as providing a stage for international acts.

Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show | Hope Island | 20 – 23 May

The 32nd edition of the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show (SCIBS) will return to The Marine Village from 20 to 23 May 2021. Building on momentum from the recent Sanctuary Cove Boating Festival, held as a precursor to the main event in 2021 and attracting an impressive 20,000 visitors, SCIBS is the southern hemisphere’s premier marine event and will be home to a stellar display of the latest products and innovations.

Cooly Rocks On | Coolangatta | 9 – 13 June

Cooly Rocks On has evolved into Australia’s largest Rock ‘n’ Roll and nostalgia festival, as well as a signature event on Queensland’s event calendar. The event attracts thousands of Rock ‘n’ Roll and vintage car enthusiasts looking to celebrate the music, memories and moment of the 50s, 60s and 70s. In 2021, the festival will welcome the spirit of VIVA Surfers Paradise with five days of Elvis activity to be added to an already bursting program, bringing ‘The King’ to Cooly. Witness world-class Elvis Tribute Artists as they take to the stage on the Coolangatta beachfront and enjoy the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest.

Australian Open Bowls | Gold Coast – Citywide | 12 – 25 June

The World’s Biggest Bowls Festival will again hit the sunny Gold Coast – the lawn bowls capital of Australia. With $250,000 in prize money and the heart of the event centred at the Broadbeach Bowls Club freshly renovated hot off the back of the Commonwealth Games, this competition will see plenty of people ready to roll up.

Amy Shark: Cry forever tour 2021 | HOTA Outdoor Stage | 25 June

Homegrown multi ARIA award-winning, singer-songwriter Amy Shark is off on a massive headline tour of Australia in June/July 2021 in support of her highly anticipated sophomore album, CRY FOREVER, which is available to pre-order now. Shark’s national ‘CRY FOREVER’ tour will be the Gold Coast local’s most ambitious live undertaking yet in some of the largest venues Australia has to offer. The all ages event will take place on HOTA’s outdoor stage beneath the stars from 7pm. Tickets on sale now.


Amy Shark


Gold Coast Marathon | Southport Broadwater Parklands | 3 – 4 July

Australia’s premier road race attracts more than 27,000 participants of all ages and abilities. The scenic course is considered one of the flattest and fastest courses in the world and the time of year usually boasts excellent weather conditions for running.


Gold Coast Marathon

Gold Coast Marathon

Gold Coast Marathon

Lyrical Landscapes: The Art of William Robinson | HOTA | 24 July – 2 Oct

HOTA Gallery’s second major exhibition celebrates one of Australia’s greatest landscape painters, and living artists, William Robinson AO. Robinson’s work has been inspired by the magic of our very own backyard – the Gold Coast hinterland – and his landscape visions enchant and inspire in unlikely ways. Lyrical Landscapes presents a selection of Robinson’s art, including monumental multi-paneled paintings from his Creation series (including HOTA Gallery’s own work, The Rainforest, the inspiration for the new HOTA Gallery architectural design) alongside intimate studies and prints.

National Clubs Gymnastics Carnival I Carrara I 6 – 11 July and 8 – 19 September

Hosted on the Gold Coast since 2018, the National Clubs Gymnastics Carnival sees athletes compete across all seven Gymsports – trampoline, acrobatic gymnastics, TeamGym, men’s artistic gymnastics, women’s artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics and aerobatic gymnastics.

2021 Underwater Hockey World Championships | Gold Coast Aquatic Centre | 20 July – 1 August

The global UWH community will journey to the gorgeous Gold Coast for the 2021 UWH World Championships. The Championships are expected to bring more than 750 people to the city from around the world.

Kokoda Challenge Gold Coast 2021 | 17-18 July

The 96km Gold Coast Kokoda Challenge is one of Australia’s toughest team endurance events. By taking part in the event, you will be raising funds for Aussie kids who participate in Youth Programs run by the Kokoda Youth Foundation. This event is not for the fainthearted, head to the website here for more information.

Image credit: Bleach* Festival

Bleach* Festival

BULLSEYE (Shannen Jones – The Girl With No Bones)

Bleach* The Gold Coast Festival | Citywide | 12 – 22 August

Bleach* Festival is the Gold Coast Festival, taking place annually across the City. The program is one of Australia’s leading and most exciting site-specific contemporary arts programs. Quintessentially Gold Coast, Bleach* celebrates the city’s most dynamic and adventurous artists, welcomes renowned Australian and international collaborators and engages a broad audience through a range of events. Utilising the Gold Coast’s world-famous natural landscape as unconventional venues, Bleach* aims to deliver incredible arts and cultural experiences that challenge expectations, change perceptions and provide a unique and authentic sense of place, inspiring both locals and visitors alike.

2021 World Bowls Championships | Citywide | 7 – 19 September

Broadbeach Bowls Club, Musgrave Hill Bowls Club and Club Helensvale will host the two-week-long tournament, with over 240 bowlers expected to take part in one of the pinnacle international events in the sport.

Robbie McEwen Granfondo | Gold Coast Hinterland | 18 – 19 September

A mass participation cycling event with individual events for recreational cycling enthusiasts from beginner level to elite and also for children. The aim is to give people the opportunity to ride on a supervised course while experiencing the beauty of the Gold Coast hinterland. Offering three courses of various distances, the event caters for different levels of ability which provides an opportunity for more riders to take part.


SWELL Sculpture Festival 2019


SWELL Sculpture Festival | Currumbin Beach | 10-19 September

Currumbin Beach transforms into a vibrant outdoor gallery with Queensland’s largest, free outdoor exhibition SWELL Sculpture Festival. Open all hours, you can enjoy twilight walks, informative artist talks, discover new perspectives, wander through the Swell Smalls Gallery or participate in artist master classes and children’s workshops. The artworks are lit at night for a totally different perspective.

UniSport Nationals | Citywide | 25 September – 1 October

The UniSport Nationals Div 1 and Div 2 see over 7,500 participants from across the country battle it out to be crowned national champions in one of 31 different sports. Competitions are contested in men’s, women’s, mixed and open categories (dependent on sport), with over 50 competitions held during the seven-day event at venues across the Gold Coast.

Queensland All Schools Touch Football Championships I Gold Coast Performance Centre I 6 – 10 October

Being held on the Gold Coast for the first time in 2021, this event is the world’s largest touch football tournament for secondary schools and sees over 445 teams representing schools both nationally and internationally.

Coolangatta Gold | Coolangatta Beach | 23 – 24 October

The Coolangatta Gold is one of the most challenging endurance races in surf sports. It is open to the public and consists of a 21km Short Course and a 41.8km Long Course race. The multi-disciplinary course combines swimming, running, board paddling and surf skiing. Take it on as an individual or a team and challenge yourself.

Guns N’ Roses | Metricon Stadium | 6 November

Stadium rock is back! Guns N’ Roses are set to dominate the Gold Coast in November at the first stadium show of their Australian tour. Axl, Slash and Duff will take to Metricon Stadium in a show not to be missed.


Guns N’ Roses


Pan Pacific Masters Games | Citywide | 6 – 14 November

With over 15,000 athletes expected to attend from around the world, this biennial event will showcase competition in more than 40 individual and team sports at some of the best sporting facilities on the planet, including Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games venues.

Groundwater Country Music Festival | Broadbeach | 12 – 14 November

Put on your daisy dukes, pack some sunscreen, and prepare for a spectacular coastal getaway starring your favourite country music artists. Groundwater Country Music Festival is an annual free-to-attend festival hosted in Broadbeach on the Gold Coast in November. Centred around the pristine beachfront of Broadbeach, this free festival sees a perfect mix of board shorts and banjos, surfboards and steel guitars as the finest in country music assemble for three days and nights of classic entertainment.

Contemporary Masters from New York: Art from the Mugrabi Collection | HOTA | 13 Nov – 27 Feb 2021

In a world premiere exhibition exclusive to the Gold Coast, HOTA Gallery presents Contemporary Masters from New York: Art from the Mugrabi Collection. From soup cans to graffiti tags, artists such as Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Richard Prince and Jeff Koons revolutionised contemporary art, bringing a street savvy and political edge to the New York art scene.


Gold Coast 600

Gold Coast 600

Gold Coast 600

Gold Coast 600 | Surfers Paradise | 3 – 5 December

GC600 is the premier motorsport category in Australasia and one of Australia’s biggest sports. International expansion is occurring as the sport becomes globally recognised as one of the best touring car categories in the world and a leader in motorsport entertainment. In 2021 the Gold Coast will host the season finale over three action-packed days.

Australian Volleyball Schools Cup I Carrara I TBC

The largest school-based sporting event in the southern hemisphere, the Australian Volleyball Schools Cup attracts teams from across Australia and the world. Hundreds of secondary school teams come together each year to enjoy an introduction to volleyball, camaraderie and enthusiastic competition amongst the nation’s school community.