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Festival Muse: An intellectually festive long weekend

Elsie Adamo

Stuck for ideas on the best way to use your Canberra Long Weekend?

Muse has the answer, and it’s especially suited to our bookish city. The Kingston restaurant and bookstore, tucked into the corner of the East Hotel, has created Festival Muse, a new festival with a line-up of talks, interviews, books, food and, of course, wine. Lots of wine.

On the creation of the festival, owners Dan Sanderson and Paul Eldon explain that they just wanted to create another way to celebrate local Canberrans, whilst adding to the Canberra festival culture, and taking the opportunity to expand on their current events. “Our literary events are extremely popular, and we get really good questions from the audience.” What you would expect from the most well-read city in Australia.

“Our literary events are extremely popular, and we get really good questions from the audience,” they explain. What would you expect from the most well-read city in Australia?

On the festival’s diverse program (the speakers range from classical musicians to well-known broadcasters), Paul says that careful attention was paid to be inclusive, knowing they already have a diverse clientele.

“We feel that there’s something for everyone from political junkies to foodies, musos and bookworms,” he says, although Dan notes it wasn’t difficult to find the speakers.

“If you go looking around Canberra all sorts of interesting people come out of the woodwork.”

Kicking off the festival on opening night will be Women of the Press Gallery, where such capital hill heavyweights as Katherine Murphy, Primrose Riordan, Karen Middleton and Katina Curtis will talk life in the hallowed halls of the Parliament House Press Gallery.

There will be eight events in total over the course of the weekend, so you’re sure to find something you’ll look forward to attending, but the recommendation from the owners will be Bipartisan.

“One highlight will be our Bipartisan event with Virginia Haussegger and Mark Kenny,” says Dan. “They’re one of Canberra’s most prominent couples and both are nationally recognised media personalities.”

For those out of the politico loop, you’ll recognise Virginia from the ABC’s nightly news, while Mark Kenny is the national affairs editor for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

For the weekends best eats Jerome Felix, Head Chef of one of Canberra’s best loved (and busiest) cafes The Cupping Room, will be taking over the Muse Kitchen on the Saturday Night. Dan saying of the event “We’re really looking forward to it. We love the idea of collaborating with other businesses in Canberra and Jerome has some really great ideas for the menu”.

Both Dan and Paul really hope that locals come and enjoy their labour of love, “We hope people get behind the idea of Festival Muse. It’s such a varied collection of events – and done with a genuine sense of collaboration and community – that hopefully there really will be something for everyone.”

And as Paul adds, “plus, it’s also just a good excuse for a party.”

the essentials

What: Festival Muse
When: Canberra Day long weekend, 10-13 March 2017
Where: Muse, East Hotel, 69 Canberra Avenue, Kingston
Tickets: www.musecanberra.com.au/festival-muse

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Elsie Adamo

Elsie originally hails from South Australia but after almost five years in the Capital likes to consider herself now as a local. A student at ANU she keeps herself busy on campus with student societies and now interning at HerCanberra. Her great loves include sitcoms, podcasts, bookstores, cider, brunch and online shopping. More about the Author

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