What’s on: Discover more of Ipswich at one of these many great events happening this May

Find out what's on this May, from shows to craft workshops, music and motorsport!
29 Apr 2021
Ashleigh Howarth, Freelance writer

The historic city of Ipswich is set to be a hive of activity this month, with lots of live gigs for music aficionados to enjoy, as well as food trucks, drag racing, ghost tours and more to entertain both visitors and locals.

Be sure to add these great events to your diary!

Snack on a Dagwood Dog and spend all day on the rides at the beloved Ipswich Show

Ipswich Show 2016

Roll up, roll up, it’s that time of the year again when the Ipswich Show delights both youngsters and adults!

The Ipswich Show is one of the biggest and most loved events on Ipswich’s yearly calendar, and after sadly being cancelled last year due to Covid, organisers have planned a bigger and better event in 2021 to make up for lost time.

There will be plenty of rides for everyone to enjoy in Side-Show Alley, as well as lots of exciting entertainment held throughout the day and night, interesting displays, a diverse range of food, fireworks and more! Be sure to head to the Ipswich Showgrounds on May 14-16 to partake in the fun. This year’s event will be a Covid safe event.

Take in a show at the Ipswich Civic Centre

Cloudland The Musical - Ipswich Civic Centre - 15 May 2021

Five big shows will be headlining at the Ipswich Civic Centre this month, bringing plenty of laughs and toe-tapping songs for visitors and locals who enjoy a night out at the theatre. All the fun kicks off with the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow on May 4, followed by the Seniors Loyal Variety Performance on May 12, Cloudland the Musical on May 15, The Midnight Gang on May 16, and lastly, Sublime Strings on Sunday on May 30. 

Let your creativity soar at a number of crafty workshops with Sip ‘n’ Dip Australia

Sip 'n' Dip markets are coming

Imagine the gasps from your guests when they cut off a piece of delicious camembert and find a one-of-a-kind design on your custom-made cheeseboard. Or perhaps would you like to create a masterpiece on canvas you can proudly display in your living room? You can do all this plus more by signing up to attend one of the many workshops provided by Sip ‘n’ Dip Australia. Workshops are held throughout the entire Ipswich region, so you can guarantee a class will be held near you. Click here to like Sip ‘n’ Dip on Facebook and search through their upcoming events to find an event that suits you!

Jam along with up-and-coming artists at Studio 188

Saturday Sessions at Studio 188 Ipswich

All the greatest bands and singers had to start somewhere, and with the amount of talent that appears at Studio 188 each month, you might just be hearing the next number one song before anyone else! Two of the shows included in this month’s lineup have already sold out, but tickets are still available for The Dreggs ‘Stories from Gracetown’ Regional Tour on May 29, in celebration of the band’s latest EP release. The show will be held from 8-10pm and tickets are $30 each plus a booking fee.

Feel the need for speed at Queensland Raceway

There will be lots of thrills both on and off the raceway this month, with thousands of people expected to head along to Queensland Raceway in Willowbank for the QR Friday Drift Night on May 7, as well as the Roll Racing Brisbane event on May 8.

Learn some calming and healing techniques to improve your life at Trevallan Lifestyle Centre

Flowers at Trevallan Lifestyle Centre

Each month a number of workshops and activities are held at Trevallan Lifestyle Centre to help improve your health and wellbeing. This month, guests can take part in activities such as joining a meditation circle, guiding your soul with soul connection cards, psychic readings, as well as making your own jewelry and macrame pot holders. Like them on Facebook for more information

Immerse yourself in culture at the Ipswich Art Gallery

Art lovers only have a few weeks left to come and admire a selection of artworks and objects that have been on display from the Ipswich Collection, with the exhibition set to close on May 30. While you are there, why not also check out Lincoln Austin: The Space Between Us, which opens on May 15 and runs until August 8, or enter an interactive transport world and learn more about cars, trucks, trains and planes at the On The Move exhibition, which runs from now until July 18.

Frock up for a day at the races at the Ipswich Turf Club

Ipswich Turf Club races

Dress to the nines and be out to impress trackside at the Ipswich Turf Club at the Labor Day Races on May 3. Cheer on your race favourite while enjoying a glass of bubbly or two.

Immerse yourself in Aboriginal culture by attending the Didgeridoo Bush Camp

Didgeridoo bush camp

Suitable for boys and men of all ages, the Didgeridoo Bush Camp is a great way to learn more about our nation’s first people. The Didgeridoo workshops and live performances are done by legend and Didgeridoo Virtuoso Uncle Mark Atkins and Australian Roots multi-instrumental didgeridoo player Mago Menla. The weekend also includes the opportunity to make your own Didgeridoo. Just bring your camping gear and enthusiasm. The camp will be held from May 21-23.

Car enthusiasts to gather in Ipswich for Power Cruise

Powercruise action

From old school V8 muscle cars to imports, hot rods and everything in between, car lovers will think they have been transported to heaven at the upcoming Powercruise event which will be held on May 15 at Queensland Raceway. The day will also feature drift racing, skids, cruising, burnouts and much more.

Prepare to chuckle at Ipswich Little Theatre’s newest show

The talented cast from Ipswich Little Theatre will have the audience roaring with laughter at the Incinerator Theatre with their new show, The Savannah Sipping Society. The plot involves the lives of four Southern women who meet at happy hour and decide to reclaim their enthusiasm for life. Over a six-month period filled with laughter, misadventure and the occasional liquid refreshments, these middle-aged women bond and find their confidence again. Bookings can be made via the Ipswich Little Theatre website or at the Ipswich Visitors Centre either in person or over the phone or online here. The shows will be held from May 1-15.

Take a joy ride in a genuine V8 race car

V8 Race Experience

Experience the thrill of a lifetime and take to the racetrack at the infamous Queensland Raceway where you will race around the track driving a Holden or Ford V8 race car. Suitable for those who are big fans of the sport, or those who simply want to put the pedal to the metal. The next V8 race experience will be held on May 9 and May 23.

Discover some creepy-crawlies at The Workshops Rail Museum


Children aged between 2-6 years of age will have the opportunity to learn more about insects this month as part of the Little Nippers program at The Workshops Rail Museum, which will be held on May 7.

Little Nippers encourages fun and discovery learning around a museum object, and incorporates stories, dancing, songs and craft activities for everyone to enjoy.  It is included with museum entry and is free for annual pass holders. After the event, families will have the opportunity to explore more of the museum, which includes 14 exhibitions on display, including the Sciencentre, as well as enjoy a tasty lunch at the Trackside Café.

Live theatre performances to overtake the streets of Ipswich

Invisible Things by Alex Mizzen at 2018 Anywhere Theatre Festival

Normally you would find live shows in venues, theatres, restaurants, etc, but this month, they will be popping up where you least suspect it. Performances such as comedy shows in alley ways, dramas in backyards, cabaret on buses, walking tours with historical figures, circus acts and much more are what guests can experience as part of the Ipswich Anywhere Festival, which runs from May 6-23.

Celebrate your mum at the Soul Nook Collective

This local business will be celebrating all the special women in our lives with two special Mother’s Day events. For $130, you can treat your mum to a night out as part of the Magical Moments evening, which includes a workshop hosted in conjunction with Sip ‘n’ Dip Australia, as well as a fancy dinner box, live music and more.

In addition, a special Mother’s Day Market will be held on May 8. The boutique market will include lots of goodies to spoil your mum with, as well as live music. Find out more about The Soul Nook Collective here.

Enjoy a day of Celtic music and dancing at the Gathering of the Clans

In the spirit of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, against the historic backdrop of Ipswich, visitors will witness the colour and spectacle of the Queensland Pipe Band Spectacular, featuring 250 of Australia’s pipe band competitors at the upcoming Gathering of the Clans

A Highland dancing competition, Celtic music, lost arts and a medieval re-enactment will also feature at this annual Highland gathering of Scottish, Irish, Welsh, French, Spanish, Cornish Celtic cultures. Visitors can also sample Haggis, learn how to play the bagpipes and even participate in the strong man style Highland games, featuring the caber toss, kilted dash and tug-of-war. All the fun will be held on May 23 at the Ipswich Turf Club.

Explore our Earth through the eyes of Ipswich artists

More than 35 Ipswich artists have created masterpieces which will be on display at the Ipswich Community Gallery as part of the Our Earth, Our Future Art Exhibition. The pieces will represent the individual artist’s expression and  encompass the environment and the following themes – Rejoice in the beauty of our world, Recycle, Revamp and/or Reuse. The exhibition will be shown from May 7-15.

Gigs to liven up your weekends at Banshees Bar and Art Space


One of the best live music venues in the Ipswich Central precinct will be hosting a variety of gigs and workshops this month, with plenty to see and do for all music types. Banshees Bar and Art Space will be hosting a banjo workshop on May 2, acoustic jam session, also on May 2, as well as welcoming a plethora of bands and artists, including Damien Johnson, PhD!, and CADENCE. A full gig guide, including ticket prices and times can be found under the events tab on their Facebook page.

Seek out spirits with the team from Ghost Hunters Australia

Ipswich Cemetery Ghost Tour

I recently had my own ghost experience while trekking through the Ipswich CBD under the cover of darkness with renowned ghost hunter Jack Sim, and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves history. Lucky for you, there are plenty of tours to choose from in the Ipswich region, including the Ipswich Cemetery Ghost Tour, Goodna Cemetery Haunted History Tour, and the recently launched Haunted Ipswich CBD Ghost Tour. Will you too have an out of this world experience? There’s only one way to find out! Head to the Ghost Tours Australia website to book your own experience!

Enjoy an evening of glitz and glamour with Ipswich’s famous drag queens

Enjoy a musical theatre dining experience on the first Saturday of each month at Casa Mia with some of Ipswich’s glamourous drag queens. Dancing with the Queens is an over-the-top show with jazz, cabaret and burlesque style performances.

Movies and retro cars to feature at the Tivoli Drive-In

Tivoli Markets

In addition to its weekly double features on the big screen, the Tivoli Drive-In also have something extra special planned for visitors this month.

It will be hosting a Retro Car Show on May 23 from 3-10pm to help raise much-needed funds for the Australian Anti-Ice Campaign.

A variety of things will be happening throughout the afternoon, including live music, activities for the kids, markets, food and more! Bring your family, friends and fur babies for only $22.50 per car. In addition, the movies Happy Feet, Chaos Walking, Spies in Disguise and Nomadland will be showing on the big screen this month. Click here for more information.

Cardi Gras to return to Riverlink Shopping Centre

A number of beautifully restored classic cars will be on show at the Riverlink Shopping Centre on May 15 as part of the Cardi Gras event. It is here you can enjoy a bite to eat while also meeting the many people who have spent countless hours and energy working on their wheels.

Solve the puzzles to open the locked doors at Seraphim Escape Rooms Ipswich

Seraphim Escape

Escape rooms have become extremely popular amongst groups of friends looking to try their hand at something new. Gather up the crew and visit Seraphim Escape Rooms Ipswich where you will have an hour to solve all the puzzles and unlock all the locks to reclaim your freedom.

Spoil your mum with a special picnic in the olive grove

Munch on an indulgent antipasto picnic pack in the olive groves at the Watercress Creek Olive and Lime Farm on May 9 for Mother’s Day. It will be a day of tasty food and good old fashioned country hospitality. Everything will be prepacked for you, so all you need to do is unroll the picnic blanket and enjoy the sunshine. Bookings are essential.

Markets and food to fill the Nicholas St Precinct

Future Flavours Food Fair

The hugely popular Handmade Expo Markets will once again be held on May 8 at the Nicholas St Precinct, allowing shoppers the opportunity to purchase a range of goodies from vendors. In addition, the Future Flavours Food Fair, is held on the third Saturday of every month from 4-8pm, featuring food trucks, live entertainment and music.

Take a journey back in time on a heritage bus tour

Every month members from the Cooneana Heritage Centre organise a bus trip for history buffs to explore some of the region’s oldest suburbs as part of the Cooneana Heritage Bus Tour. The bus, used in Ipswich in the 1960s, takes 30 passengers allowing for Covid Safe seating arrangements, to visit sites throughout the Blackstone area. The next bus tour will be held on May 9, with the tour lasting approximately two hours.

Pick up a bargain at one of the city’s many markets

Iced tea at the Ipswich Markets

Bargain hunters and foodies are never short of markets in Ipswich, with the city home to hundreds of stall holders that love to sell their products, as well as many vendors dishing up tasty meals. Be sure to add these great markets to your monthly calendar:

The Springfield Markets is held on the first Sunday of every month from 8am-1pm at Robelle Parklands in Springfield Central, and the third Sunday of the Month from 9am-4pm at Orion Springfield Central Shopping Centre.

The Ripley Markets are a great way to shop and explore. This dog-friendly market is held on the second Saturday of the month from 3-8pm at Providence, Ripley Valley.

The Ipswich Showplace Markets are held every Sunday from 6-11.30am at the Ipswich Showgrounds on Warwick Road. The markets have long been a popular destination for early risers on a weekend. Entry is a gold coin donation.

The Walloon Markets are held on the first Sunday of the month on Parkland Drive, Walloon, from 8-11am.

The Riverlink Market Zone is held on the second Saturday of every month from 8am-1pm at Riverlink Shopping Centre, corner Downs St and The Terrace, Ipswich.

Ashleigh Howarth Freelance writer
Ashleigh Howarth is a journalist with more than 12 years experience in the media industry. Her passions include travelling, dessert bars, cocktails and attending music concerts. She aims to inspire others to unlock their own sense of wanderlust to explore this beautiful big world, whether that be on a local or more global scale. You can keep up to date with her stories by following @journo_ash_ on Instagram.

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