The G20 is almost here, and Brisbane has exploded into a celebration of culture. State and Local government leaders kick-started Brisbane’s Cultural Celebrations early November in an effort to generate excitement for the economic summit.
This is the first time Brisbane has been on the world stage since Expo 88. The World Exposition, or Expo 88, arguably transformed Brisbane from a small town to a world class city.
“Expo 88 was an amazing time to be in Brisbane. I was only 16, but it was a six month party.
“If you can imagine the Brisbane festival going day and night for six months, that’s what Expo was,” said Spencer Howson from 612 ABC Brisbane.
Expo 88 brought world-class exhibits from 46 countries to South Bank along with a white and pink submarine, a rollercoaster called “Titan”, a monorail, hairdresser Stefan’s 88m sky needle and many more attractions.
Brisbane’s Lord Mayor in 1988 was Sallyanne Atkinson. She said that Expo 88 was a coming of age for Brisbane.
Anthony Frangi from 4BC agrees.
“What do I remember from Expo 8? I remember Brisbane growing up more than anything.
“I remember the city being successful after the Commonwealth Games in 1992 and was bursting, it was hungry, for more success. Expo 88 gave the city renewed vigour, opportunity to show the world that Brisbane could do something really special,” Mr Frangi said.
Brisbane was selected over Sydney to host the ninth meeting of the G20 countries.
Brisbane is half the size of Sydney and attracts just one third of of Sydney’s visitors. But some people argue that Brisbane should try to uphold its small-city atmosphere rather than compete with more famous Australian cities.
Spencer Howson believes that Brisbane will continue to exist in the shadow of more popular Australian cities and thinks it should stay that way.
“Most people who come to Brisbane come because they have family and friends here. Here, we love living in Brisbane, so do we really need it to be overrun with more tourists?
“I’m not convinced that we should have a chip on our shoulder all the time about getting Brisbane on the map all the time.
Is the publicity from the G20 really enough to put Brisbane on the world map?
“I don’t think this is worth the effort because it is just Brisbane. It’s just pretty much a working place,” a young Brisbane resident said.
“I think it’s worth it, but I think it should be like this all the time,” a tourist commented.
“My opinion is that Brisbane is already a world class city. I have travelled overseas and I think the features of this city, its climate, its culture are as good as anywhere I’ve been. We’re perhaps missing scale and population, but that’s about it,” a Brisbane resident stated.
The G20 Cultural Celebrations will continue throughout the G20 long weekend.