melt open

What is Melt Open? 

Melt Open is a new annual open-access festival of Queer arts and culture staged across Brisbane/ Meanjin, Australia. It builds on the success of its predecessor Melt, the LGBTQIA+ festival staged annually at Brisbane Powerhouse since 2015.

In a city gearing up to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2032, Melt Open is a showcase of queer art, artists, allies, icons, sports, community and ideas.

We invite artists, producers, community and sporting groups and venues to register for Melt Open to be staged 23 Oct to 10 Nov 2024.

What is an open access festival? 

At an open access or fringe festival, artists, companies, producers, community and sporting groups register their events online to participate. Anyone can register to present a performance, event or exhibition if they can find a venue that will program them. In this model the producer or artist takes their own financial risk on presenting their show or event. This is different to curated festivals such as Brisbane Festival where an artistic director chooses what’s in the festival program, pays the artist or arts company a fee and takes the financial risk on presenting the performance.

In the well-known Edinburgh and Adelaide models, open access festivals, known as fringe festivals, were started by artists responding to not being selected to appear in the main curated festival program.

How it Works 

Melt Open is an open access inclusive festival, sometimes known as a fringe festival. Artists, companies, producers, community and sporting groups register their events online to participate. Venues also register their participation via the online portal.

Venues and artists/producers have three options to connect with one another. You can connect with each other either through Eventotron, in the real world, or the Melt Open team can assist by facilitating introductions between artists and venues. The deal is created and agreed upon between artists and venues directly. Melt Open can provide advice as well as useful templates such a draft agreement for venues and artists/producers to follow.

Melt Open welcomes events, performances and exhibitions that appeal to LGBTQIA+ audiences. LGBTQIA+ participants are encouraged to register, and allies invited to participate.

LGBTQIA+ community events and activities are also encouraged to become part of the Melt Open program.

If you’re an artist/promoter, community group or sporting club go to Artists/Promoters: Terms and Conditions for more details.

If you’re a venue, go to Venue: Terms and Conditions for more details. If you’re not sure where you fit but have an idea and would like to participate, email us via [email protected] and we’ll guide you.

What’s Brisbane Powerhouse’s involvement in Melt Open? 

A not-for-profit organisation, Brisbane Powerhouse is Melt Open’s producing house, in other words Brisbane Powerhouse organises the festival across the city in collaboration with its stakeholders and partners.

Melt Open is guided by the Melt Open Reference Group (MORG), a committee of Queer voices with diverse perspectives, specialisations and backgrounds. Luke Furness, Chair of the MORG is also a director on the board of Brisbane Powerhouse.

Melt Open is also guided by Brisbane Powerhouse’s First Nations Advisory Committee (FNAC) where appropriate. Toni Janke, Chair of the FNAC is also a director on the board of Brisbane Powerhouse. Fifty percent of staff working on Melt Open identify as Queer.

What is the benefit for artists to participate/register? 
  • Expand your reach to new audiences and markets, elevate your brand presence, and secure ticket sales and other revenue opportunities through Melt Open’s broad marketing campaign (national/local) which includes digital, print, media and street advertising.
  • Your show/event and venue will be listed in Melt Open digital and printed guides (across entertainment, hospitality and retail locations).
  • Embrace Melt Open as your testing ground, launching pad, homecoming, or an opportunity to level up alongside fellow artists.
  • Attract reviews, audience and industry feedback, build marketing assets for future tours. Make Melt Open your anchor event for an Australian tour, ie Melbourne Fringe is on 1-20 October 2024.
  • Receive awards and acknowledgement from peers and industry.
  • Be seen by presenters with potential for future bookings.
  • Be supported by dedicated festival professionals to find the perfect venue for your work.
  • Connect with new artists, promoters and venues.
  • Visit sunny Brisbane, a LGBTQIA+ friendly city and home to 2.5 million people.
What do participants get for their venue/artist registration fee?  

The fee associated with registering for Melt Open covers inclusion in the overall Melt Open marketing campaign, a city-wide activation, website listing, and a feature in the Melt Open printed program and distribution of that program.

Resources include: 

  • A guide to Producing
  • A guide to Marketing your show/event
  • A budget template
  • Draft agreements
  • A guide to ticketing

The Melt Open team are also available to provide feedback, recommendations, facilitate conversations and provide advice if you require.

Do you have to identify as LGBTQIA+ to participate in Melt Open? 

Melt Open welcomes events, performances and exhibitions that appeal to LGBTQIA+ audiences. LGBTQIA+ participants are encouraged to register, and allies invited to participate.

What are the key dates?

12 MAR 2024 – Venue Registration Open 
02 APR 2024 – Artist / Show Registrations Open 
08 APR 2024 – Community Information Night 
01 MAY 2024 – Early Bird Discount Deadline 
03 JUN 2024 – Deadline for Artist Registration Fees (No Early Bird Discount) 
03 JUN 2024 – Deadline for Program Launch Inclusion 
01 JUL 2024 – Deadline for Printed Program Inclusion 
Late JUL / Early AUG – Program Announce and On-Sale 
23 OCT – 10 NOV 2024 – melt open 

How do artists get paid? 

Like all open access festivals, a deal is created and agreed upon between artists and venues directly. There are various risk share arrangements to consider. Melt Open can provide advice as well as useful templates such as a draft agreement for venues and artists/producers to follow. We encourage artists to also seek funding through grant programs.

If you’re a Queer artist who lives in regional Queensland, please get in contact with us directly.

If you’d like to discuss your specific circumstances, email us via [email protected]

I’m a venue interested in putting on multiple shows with different artists/producers. Do I need to pay my venue fee multiple times or for each show?

No, as a venue you only need to pay your venue registration fee once if you are participating in Melt Open and it is based on your total sellable capacity. Registering as a venue in Eventotron is free.

I’m an artist interested in hosting different shows in the same venue or across different venues. Do I need to pay my artist registration fee multiple times for each show?

Yes, if you are presenting different shows in the same venue, or across multiple venues, a registration fee is applicable for each individual show/season. Each registration covers the marketing and guide listing for each individual show title.

Example 1: Taylor Swift wants to perform three shows at The Tivoli and one in-conversation event at QPAC. She would pay one registration fee for her shows at The Tivoli, and one registration fee for her event at QPAC.

Example 2: Beyoncé wants to perform one show of her Lemonade album and two shows of her Cowboy Carter album at Kingston Butter Factory. She would pay one registration fee for her Lemonade album show, and one registration fee for her Cowboy Carter show.

Will Melt Open have curated hub spaces like other Fringe festivals?

Given Brisbane typically has entertainment hubs due to venue locations (i.e., Fortitude Valley, Southbank, West End etc.) these hubs or precincts will organically appear. In our first year, we aren’t curating hubs or spaces to purposely create these hubs, however this might be something we investigate for the future.

Is the Brisbane Powerhouse available as a venue?

Yes, Brisbane Powerhouse is on Eventotron to receive your enquiries; however, as with all other venues, programming is subject to availability and both parties agreeing on a suitable deal.

Do performers, company, production, venues etc. need to identify as LGBTQIA+ in order to participate?

Melt Open is an open access festival for queer arts and culture, work that appeals to a queer audience is welcome to participate, or work that is written, produced or has a queer creative team behind it. If this isn’t you and you still want to be involved, please consider buying a ticket to support one of the Open Access shows or participate in one of our signature events. 

I’m a sporting group, how can I be involved? Do I need to register on Eventotron?

The Eventotron platform is very flexible, you can register your sporting club/field as a venue and register a sporting match as an event. The wording on the platform is built using show/performing arts language, so the Melt Open team can assist you here if required.

spencer tunick

Isn’t this just gratuitous nudity, like pornography? 

Spencer Tunick is an experienced Artist who has engaged in decades-long practice of creating large-scale artworks featuring the human body. He has photographed human body installations at iconic locations worldwide. His artworks promote body positivity, inclusivity and diversity, and are an appreciation of the human form. Participants have consented to be photographed and are treated with respect. 

The AANA Code of ethics states that ‘Overtly sexual images are not appropriate in outdoor advertising’ so why is this advertising allowed? 

These particular images have been created to promote not only body positivity but as a celebration of diverse bodies. The work features people who identify as LGBTQIA+ or allies, and who have all volunteered to participate in the artwork, posing in neutral, non-sexual positions.  

The work also promotes a festival that celebrates art, creative expression and the LGBTQIA+ community specifically. 

Why is Brisbane Powerhouse producing this work?

Contemporary art is at the heart of what Brisbane Powerhouse does. This unique work will showcase Brisbane as a hub for culture and art, and celebrate diversity, inclusivity and LGBTQIA+ communities.   

Why are you getting a non-Queer American artist to create a work for a Queer festival in Brisbane?  

Brisbane Powerhouse has consulted with Queer artists and advocates including First Nations peoples who are active in the LGBTQIA+ community regarding the inclusion of this project in the festival. 

The outcome of these consultations is that, while Spencer Tunick is not himself Queer, he is an ally with immediate family connections to the LGBTQIA+ community. The Melt Open Reference Group also recognises the significant impact a project like this will have in generating positive attention and support for LGBTQIA+ communities, as well as the art and culture sector. It’s acknowledged that very few artists possess the reach and engagement of Spencer Tunick.

story bridge installation

Will there be naked people just walking around the streets of Brisbane? 

In short, no. This particular work of Spencer’s will be created across the Story Bridge which will be closed to the public in the early hours of the morning. Participants will undress and dress in a discreet location close to the bridge.  

There will be Brisbane Powerhouse/Brisbane City Council signage placed around the installation site, so passers-by will be aware of what is taking place. 

Is the public nudity covered under existing laws or has Council / State Government had to grant special permission for the Story Bridge installation? 

Special circumstances are granted for filming and photography particularly for the purposes of art or film production. Brisbane Powerhouse has been working with Brisbane City Council, State Government and Queensland Police Service to secure all necessary permissions as required. 

Do participants have to be over 18 years old? 

Participants must be 18 years or older to take part in this installation.

What safety measures are in place for participants? How will you ensure participants act responsibly and respectfully? 

This project has undergone a comprehensive risk assessment to identify and effectively manage potential risks, including those related to participant and public safety. 

Statement from Brisbane Powerhouse 

Spencer Tunick’s installation aligns with the core essence of Melt Open, a celebration of diversity and LGBTQIA+ communities.  

Spencer’s visit and the remarkable series of images that will result from his installation will provide a fresh perspective on Brisbane, inviting people to see the city through a unique and bold lens. 

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