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Centenary Rocks! Festival

Community Festival, Rocks Riverside Park

Who would have thought all those years ago that we could would possibly create a very successful 2 day event not only in our local area but in Brisbane and Ipswich wide.

The inaugural Centenary Community festival was held at Centenary State High School on Saturday 18th October 2003, it was later this year that Rocks Riverside Park was opened.

In 2004 the festival was relocated to Rocks Riverside Park on Sunday 24 October 2004.

The festival name evolved to reflect the area, the park the music and dance and thus ‘Centenary Rocks!’ was born.

A full day of entertainment on 3 stages including Nicky Noo for the youngsters, Fiona Latham and Australian Idol contestant Jesse, roaming entertainers, Historical and Park tours, B105 Black Thunders, sporting demonstrations, and many more activities which the whole family enjoyed.

The day was the one of the hottest October days on record so After community consultation we rescheduled the 2005 festival for the cooler month of July.

Over the next eight years ‘Centenary Rocks!’ growth has been astounding with business and community support, entertainers and audiences coming from all over Brisbane and beyond to participate in and enjoy the festival.

Participation in the festival is a tangible demonstration of the sponsors, exhibitors and contributor’s pride in the community. It enabled emerging talent the opportunity to perform on a big stage in front of an appreciative audience.

The festival grew so quickly that we needed 2 days. Saturday for the youth and on the Sunday a more family day approach was taken. Stage highlights included the Caxton St Jazz Band.

Brisbane Festival liked what we had achieved they partnered with us and the highlights included Doch, and Taikoz. The Music Barge was constructed by Steve Langton who also worked with students at Jindalee State School to create a Tok Tok and Doff orchestra which was presented on the Sunday. The Music Barge is a permanent fixture in the park; even the floods of 2011 didn’t take the barge away! This was our first car show on the Sunday.


The theme of ‘Earth, Fire, Water and Air’ brought many different activities including fire twirling workshops and Life Be in it fun. A drum and fire show highlighted the fireworks finale. The defence force brought the Naval Diving clearance team from Sydney and F1-11 cockpit which were both very popular.

 ‘Get into the Rhythm’ provided a weekend of music and dance workshops and magic shows. Le Suits and the Party Starters were two of the local performers. The RAAF hot air balloon travelled from Canberra for tethered flights, this was a very popular attraction and the car show grows in popularity.

2009 :
‘It’s a Celebration’ it was Queensland and Brisbane’s 150th anniversary, the Centenary suburbs 50th and the ‘Centenary Rocks!’ festival won the Lord Mayors Australia Day award for Community Event of the year, so we celebrated. William Barton, Bradley McCaw, Statoz Quo and the Army rock band were highlights. The RAAF balloon returned!

 Our biggest and best year yet! On stage was Tim Gaze one of Australia best guitarists, Joel Turner the Aria Award and World beat box challenge winner, Silken Thomas, Army rock band, Friends of Hers and The Kate Street mob. The RAAF balloon returned for a third year.


The home of the ‘Centenary Rocks!’ festival, Rocks Riverside Park was devastated in the January floods so we had to make changes to the festival layout so we relocated to the western lawn. We believed it was important to continue to support the community and help the recovery by providing a family friendly and fun filled weekend that allows businesses an avenue to network.

The 2011 entertainment included some big names and legends in the Australian music industry including Darryl Cotton, Jim Keyes and Russell Morris. Whoever thought of putting these 3 rock legends of the 60’s & 70’s together is a genius. Casey Barnes and his band, Tim Gaze and Allstars and the Navy bands were true highlights.

We were able to return to main lawn and the festival grew in size with over 80 stallholders. The stage acts tested our ability with 2 major drawcards having to pull out through accidents, injury and grave illness. But with the tenacity we have become accustomed to our performers pulled together and put on a spectacular show. Mick Hadley and Bridget O’Donoghue joined the ‘All-stars’ led by Tim Gaze to create a very special performance. The Peter Cupples band were a highlight.

2013 – A decade of ‘Centenary Rocks!’:

Our ten year celebration included surprises, sometimes even to the committee… such as the Flash Mob dance and the spectacular fireworks display, not to mention the delicious celebration cakes for all.

Casey Barnes and his band, Peter Cupples performing with Jenny Morris, Normie Rowe and Brian Cadd with Russell Morris delighted the audiences over the weekend.

 After much deliberation and with a heavy heart, the ‘Centenary Rocks!’ festival team decided to take a year’s break. Team members, who are all volunteers, have dedicated well over a decade to bring alive the ‘Centenary Rocks!’ Festival not only to our local community but Brisbane wide. The festival organising team are very proud of the community which supports us in achieving such a fabulous community event. Each year we learn to adapt and improve the festival for the next year and the ‘Centenary Rocks!’ Festival has evolved to be a must do event on the Centenary and surrounding suburbs if not the Brisbane calendar.


We are back with renewed vigour, enthusiasm and excitement to bring another fabulous weekend event. Highlights will include Mental As Anything before the Saturday night fireworks finale and the Sunday with Phil Emmanuel joining Tim Gaze then Jon English performing with Peter Cupples on Sunday. We are sure it will be another fabulous weekend for the whole family.


Our wettest Saturday yet! 

Music genres throughout the weekend included jazz, blues, roots, bluesabilly, country rock, funk and rock. Albeit a wet Saturday the Army band ‘The Rising Suns’, Silken Thomas, Rough Red and The Outro entertained during the day with Little Steely Brothers a fabulous Saturday night finale.

Food stalls from around the world tantalised the taste buds and made choosing what to devour difficult! American 12 hour slow cooked meats, German sausages, French casseroles, Indian Curries, Wood fired pizza, Hungarian Langos, the humble burger, Seafood, wraps and fresh salads, traditional festival fare and sweet treats were on offer. An exciting arena of fun coordinated by the ‘Life. Be in It’ team had families enjoying themselves with activities and giant games including Chess, Checkers, Connect 4 and Jenga. The animal farm delighted our younger guests.

Good weather shined on Sunday and the day was well attended with families enjoying the Car Show ‘Life. Be in It’ activities, rides and amusements, strolling magicians, Middle Eastern dance, wildlife shows and the market stalls. Sunday stage highlights featuring the Smokin’ Crawdads, The Empresarios and finale the Allstars featuring Phil Emmanuel and Mick Martin rounding off another fabulous weekend.


It was with a heavy heart we celebrated the FINAL ‘Centenary Rocks!’ Festival but in true CCC style.

The superb weather brought out thousands of enthusiastic patrons who helped celebrate the return of the big bands, free activities and wildlife shows, stilt walkers, helicopter joy flights, a massive spectacular firework display and our biggest and best bike, 4WD and car show.  Patrons explored over 100 market stalls, enjoyed the wildlife shows, rides, amusements, and carnival games.

Saturday’s staged entertainment began with Barefoot Brass, the John Fegan Band, Army rock band ‘The Rising Suns’, Casey Barnes, Tim Gaze and the Outro, finishing the evening with The Soul Men -the Blues Brothers Tribute show and firework finale.

Sunday main stage began with the combined church service then the Late Shift Big Band, Little Steely Brothers, followed by Ross Wilson and Hullabaloo and the finale legendary rock band Dragon.

‘Centenary Rocks!’ has certainly brought a long list of music legends that entertained enthusiastic audiences over the years.

Why was 2017 the final festival

  • When CCC began connecting our community in 2000 through the community access website and functions we hadn’t thought that in 2003 when the festivals began it would get much busier. Then we took on the Santa Sleigh in 2006 and finally in 2012 we became the management committee for the Centenary Community Hub including presenting Music at the Hub and other functions. As you can imagine we are a very busy committee.
  • The nucleolus of the Centenary Community Connections (CCC) team are in different stages of their lives – including becoming parents, moving interstate, retiring, studying, career changes, becoming 15 years older and we are all tired!
  • Most of us have to take time off employment either as annual leave or unpaid in the days before and after the festival
  • Lack of funding
    • Although the Brisbane City Council contributes to the event and we have amazing sponsors there is not enough $$ to cover the costs
  • Lack of volunteers who are needed for several jobs including but not limited to:
    • in the lead up planning phase which is all year long not just a month or two before
    • Physically setting up the event – arriving at 5.30am to bump in
    • Physically keeping the site as clean as possible over the weekend
    • Physically packing up after the Sunday – bump out. This can take several hours sometimes until 10.30pm
    • Troubleshoot issues and find solutions that inevitably arise over the weekend
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