Riverfire fireworks

Brisbane Festival wraps up with a bang


The 2018 Brisbane Festival finished with a bang on Saturday night when the skies cleared up for the Sunsuper Riverfire fireworks display at South Bank.

Riverfire fireworks
Brisbane Festival’s iconic Riverfire firework display lit up the skies at South Bank. Photo: Tom Roberts

Rain threatened to interfere with the iconic firework display, which has concluded the event for the past 21 years, but luckily the skies cleared for a spectacular display.

The event began at 2:45pm with the commencement of the flyover parade by Australian Defence Force fighter jets.

Several models of aircraft were on display throughout the afternoon, including the C 17A Globemaster and the EA-18G Growler.

The final flyover began at 7pm and was followed by the official fireworks display.

Jensen Cross, who manages The Cliffs Café at Kangaroo point, said this year’s Riverfire display was one of the best he’d seen.

“A few of the staff and I came in and opened up the shop late, just to get seats for the display,” Mr Cross said.

“The cliffs are always crawling with people because it’s one of the best spots to watch the flyover,” he said.

“Visually, this year was special because it was initially really gloomy looking but ended up clearing and being an amazing spectacle.”

More than 500,000 onlookers turned out for the display, which drew an estimated 400,000 television viewers as well.

Aircraft enthusiasts were treated to a show with the inclusion of the EA-18G Growler model jet in the final flyover.

The EA-18G is the Australian Defence Force’s current model of military fighter jet, and has replaced the F-111 since its retirement in 2011.

Brisbane grunge outfit Violent Soho
Brisbane grunge outfit Violent Soho was one of the bands that took to the Riverstage as part of the Brisbane Festival’s closing party. Photo: Secret Sounds

Brodie Lonergan, who is a pilot with Griffith Aviation School and Authority, said he’d been to every Riverfire display since he was eight years old.

“I remember coming down every year with my parents and being blown away by the noise and speed of the F-111s,” Mr Lonergan said.

“Not seeing them during the flyovers anymore is a shame, but the new jets are pretty amazing too,” he said.

“They come in fast and fairly low to the water in a hurricane of noise.”

“It’s really something else.”

Earlier in the day, Brisbane Festival’s official closing party kicked off at the Riverstage with performances by Meg Mac, WAAX, Methyl Ethyl and Mansfield locals Violent Soho.

Violent Soho guitarist James Tidswell said playing in front of home fans was a memorable experience.

“It was a great day, lots of beers and lots of tunes by the water,” Mr Tidswell said.

“Our set was probably one of the biggest we’ve played crowd wise, and having it go off like that at home was epic,” he said.

“I saw plenty of familiar faces, so it wasn’t too intimidating.”

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