SWELL SCULPTURE FESTIVAL 2021

W hen it comes to beachside events on the Gold Coast, it doesn’t get much more unique than the SWELL Sculpture Festival. Kicking off September 10th and running until the 19th, the festival is a celebration of jaw-dropping art and the ocean, bringing locals and culture buffs together for 10 inspiring days. Dotted along Currumbin Beach’s sugar-white sand you’ll get the chance to marvel at over 65 large scale contemporary sculptures from local and international artists.

Launched in 2003, SWELL has become a much-loved event in any Gold Coaster’s calendar and 2021 will be no exception. As well as the main exhibition along Currumbin beach front, there’s a bunch of amazing (and free!) pop ups happening across the Coast including westerlySWELL at Mudgeeraba and Lower Beechmont, easterlySWELL at Chevron Island and northerly SWELL at Helensvale.

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Once you’ve weaved your way through the incredible sculptures, be sure to carve out some time for the special events taking place at the festival. There are guided twilight walks through the artworks, artist talks next to the sculptures and artist-led workshops to get your creative juices flowing.

Our top picks? First Nations Story Telling with Luther Cora is an absolute must do. Taking place each morning at 9:30am, this free event will see Cora – a truly gifted storyteller – have a yarn about Indigenous culture, the mullet season and the story of the black cockatoo and his special connection to it.

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Luther Cora

Want to get your hands dirty? Then you can’t miss Sip and Sculpt with local pottery legend, Jo Norton. Held at the Dust Temple, you’ll sip wine while Jo guides you through the process of Kurinuki, a traditional Japanese form of hand-building, before you make your own creation. And that’s just a snippet of some of the awesome events taking place at SWELL, so get your diaries out, clear your calendars and get planning.

‘Hand in the Sand’ by Karl Meyer (in the foreground) ‘Big Fish’ by Oliver Howes. Photography by PBR Images.

While your SWELL schedule is probably looking a little packed by now, why not make a day of it and explore further afield in Currumbin? Here’s our suggestion for an ideal itinerary in this neck of the woods.

  • Breakfast: at Barefoot Barista on Currumbin beachfront before wandering along the shoreline admiring the sculptures.
  • Lunch: with water views at Saltwater on Thrower Drive, or Currumbin RSL.
  • Afternoon adventures: in Currumbin Valley. Follow Currumbin Creek Rd as it winds through the valley and into rural acreage. Go for a drip at the Currumbin Rock Pools or drive all the way out to Cougal Cascades for a bushwalk.
  • Sundowners: at Balter Brewing Company  – the brewery founded by a couple of Gold Coast pro surfers.

That covers nature, culture, beach, hinterland, good fun and good food with an added bonus of beverages – all in all an awesome day on the Gold Coast.

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