Pop up arts festival spreading across north Queensland

New venues to showcase newly commissioned works alongside local artists.

Townsville’s annual Pop Up North Queensland (PUNQ) festival will expand across north Queensland this year.

PUNQ began in 2017 to bring life to the Townsville CBD with local artists occupying and activating unleased shops through creative programs and exhibitions. 

This year Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts is expanding the festival from its beginnings on Wulgurukaba and Bindal country (Townsville) to include Yunbenun (Magnetic Island), Gudjal country (Charters Towers) and Warrgamaygan country (Hinchinbrook).

Umbrella’s Director and PUNQ’s Artistic Director Kate O’Hara said the studio had partnered with arts and cultural organisations to showcase and support local artists and creatives across the four locations.

“This expansion of the festival program and vision will entice new ‘drive and fly’ audiences to experience new commissions by recognised artists and organisations,” Ms O’Hara said.

“In turn they will have a deep, local experience with creatives and artisans across NQ in the pop-up spaces and activations program.”

Beyond the pop-up and 11 new site-specific commissioned artworks, PUNQ will host regional art trail experiences with creative partners in Charters Towers, Ingham and on Magnetic Island; festival bus tours to Charters Towers and Ingham; and an emerging Indigenous artists program.

The 11 commissioned artists include Townsville-based Dancenorth, one of Australia’s leading contemporary dance companies.

“We are thrilled to be commissioned by Umbrella to present a new work and take audiences on an exciting journey to experience dance in the most mysterious and unlikely of places,” Dancenorth Artistic Director Kyle Page said.

PUNQ, from 30 July–8 August, has partnered with Townsville’s North Australian Festival of Arts and Australian Festival of Chamber Music.