Bleach Festival draws record crowd despite ruffling feathers with Manus stunt

The Gold Coast’s Bleach* Festival is expected to attract its biggest ever crowd this year following a destination boost from the Commonwealth Games helping among interstate visitors.

“Bleach played an important part during the Commonwealth Games last year which has helped to boost the profile of the event,” said Assistant Minister for Tourism Industry Development Meaghan Scanlon.

“The fact that Bleach will this year attract more tourists than ever is a great legacy of the Commonwealth Games.

“The continued growth of the Bleach Festival is a testament to the fact that the Gold Coast is a world-class destination for major events.”

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said Bleach* Festival had grown from strength to strength since 2012.

“Tourism is a cornerstone of the Gold Coast economy, generating $5 billion each year and supporting more than 41,000 local jobs,” she said.

“We’re committed to growing these numbers. Working with organisers to grow events like Bleach* is an important part of our strategy.

“Bleach* Festival has been a huge success and is an important feature on Queensland’s major events calendar – which has doubled in value under the Palaszczuk Government and will this year generate $800 million.”

Bleach* Festival CEO and Artistic Director Louise Bezzina said the festival would again offer something different.

“In 2019, we’ll turn the city on with a program of incredible arts experiences that will inspire and invigorate citizens and visitors to the Gold Coast,” she said.

However, one event has already angered Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate. Described as “an absurd swimming carnival”, swimmers will wear hats shaped like Manus Island and cover a distance equal to the stretch from the offshore detention centre to the Australian coast.

“Community facilities should never be used for political grandstanding,” said Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate.

“I’ve asked the CEO to look into this event as I don’t want to see a repeat of these type of activities in future cultural programs hosted in our city venues.”