Excitement is building for the much-anticipated return of the National Multicultural Festival from 17 to 19 February.
Minister for Multicultural Affairs Tara Cheyne said, “This summer we’ve seen the appetite Canberrans have for returning to the events they know and love and the buzz from the community around the festival is at an all-time high. With preparations in full swing, this 25th anniversary event is not to be missed.”
“The layout for this year’s festival has been carefully designed to minimise congestion around the stalls and stages, especially along City Walk. City Walk’s permanent plantings now make it an ideal place to relax and enjoy cooking demonstrations.
“We will have eight stages across the festival so no matter when you attend, or where you are, you’ll find a heap of entertainment, culture, food and fun. Beautiful Glebe Park is also part of the festival this year – a perfect place to sit and snack on your culinary delights, enjoy great cultural entertainment and participate in workshops. It’s also where the parade will end on Saturday afternoon!”
The sensational headliners Mitch Tambo, Lisa Hunt, Parvyn, Justine Clarke, James Morrison and Jay Laga’aia will be supported by a diverse group of artists from around the world. This includes East Timorese reggae/ska favourites Dili Allstars, Tibetan singer and multi-instrumentalist Tenzin Choegyal collaborating with the Phoenix Collective, the German musical and comedy group The Beez, renowned contemporary South Sudanese singer Ajak Kwai and a whole lot more!
For the first time, the festival will include hands on workshops to allow communities to share their cultural heritage through dance, art, and language. The festival will feature 35 workshops across the weekend, including how to wear an Indian sari or Korean hanbok, kung fu, calligraphy and bush dancing classes, learning Tongan greetings and how to write in the Ancient Egyptian Coptic alphabet. Workshops are free, available on a first come basis, and are not ticketed.
Another first for the anniversary year will be a dedicated cooking demonstration program at the City Walk stage across all three days. This stage will feature over 15 community and professional chefs sharing the stories and techniques behind cultural dishes from Taiwan to Assyria, Peru to Thailand.
With roadworks in the city and road closures in place for the festival, Canberrans are reminded to rethink their routine when traveling to the festival and in and around the city in the days leading up to, and over the festival weekend. There will be free dedicated shuttle buses running over the festival weekend and additional public transport services.
Find the full program of performers, stalls and workshops, the festival map, and important information about road closures and shuttles buses on the National Multicultural Festival website: www.multiculturalfestival.com.au
Quote attributable to Paulo Almeida singer in Dili All Stars
“Timorese people have used music as a vehicle for their Independence and through music we showcase our identity and different rhythms. We have a rich culture, and our most famous dance is the Tebedai dance which is a circle dance performed throughout Timor Leste and it is accompanied by traditional drumming. Performing at a festival like the National Multicultural Festival gives us a chance to showcase our music and culture and learn about all other cultures that are also part of the festival. It might also open doors to collaborations and other connections.”
Quote attributable to Tenzin Cheoygal
“As a Tibetan artist living in Australia, the National Multicultural Festival is a great event that gives space to share my music and the communal stories of the joys and sufferings of the many Tibetans who have left their homeland to live in Canberra and all-around Australia. In the true spirit of multicultural Australia, it will be special to be collaborating with the amazing string quartet the Phoenix Collective.”
Quote attributable to Manuela Fernández de Córdova, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Ecuador
“The Latin American community is delighted to be able to participate in the National Multicultural Festival to share our culture, cosmovision, colours, rhythms and flavour. We have prepared a huge range of fun and inspiring activities for the community. Bring your dancing shoes and immerse yourself in some Latin moves at the zumba, capoeira and tango workshops; taste some tequila, world famous Ecuadorean chocolate or Colombian coffee; learn how to play the Argentinean bandoneon; make a beautiful bouquet with Ecuadorian roses and littlies can learn how to create a Salvadorian kite and a Venezuelan mask. We can’t wait to see you there.”