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Art, Not Apart, Canberra’s annual dose of weird and wonderful, is back

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Disclaimer: I just want to start this by saying that Canberra is not boring.

As a born-and-bred Canberran (shout out to the Inner North lentil belt!), I know very, very well that Canberra is not boring. I work at HerCanberra. I write about the quirky and unique parts that make our city so fascinating. Canberra is not boring.

But I will say this: sometimes we…colour within the lines a little. We like our fun on weekends, not school nights. We’re in bed at a respectable hour. We appreciate self-care. But there’s one weekend each year when Canberra gives itself license to get a little, well, weird. That weekend is Art, Not Apart.

For the uninitiated, Art, Not Apart is a festival dedicated to the idea that art bridges the gaps between us (yes, there’s a comma in the title for a reason). It bridges age gaps, socioeconomic gaps, dare I say it—political gaps. But before you roll your eyes and tell me you’ve already done the galleries this season—this isn’t just any arts festival.

This isn’t a please-keep-your-voices-down-in-the-gallery kind of arts festival. This is a jazz-band-jam-with-Bar-Rochford-cocktails, loud-and-powerful-spoken-word-slam-poetry, dance-troupe-with-a-message-about-the-environment, bring-the-kids kind of festival.

Musician John Mackey in Albert Hall. Credit: Cole Bennetts.

Across 1–7 pm on Saturday 14 March, Art, Not Apart will take over NewActon, the National Film and Sound Archive and the Shine Dome for its 10th-anniversary festival with a jam-packed schedule of music, theatre, performance art, dance, food and drink.

With the theme of ‘Today I, Tomorrow You’ an expected 15,000+ festivalgoers will experience a festival that puts a ‘human lens on today’.

“Where’s the humanity, today?” says Festival Producer David Caffery. “Artists uses a human lens when they make art, one of the few groups who aren’t skewed by money. We need culture today.”

“It’s been an incredible journey for Art, Not Apart so far. In the nine festivals we’ve mounted since 2012, the festival presented over 2000 artists from the Canberra region and beyond.”

“Many of these artists have returned to perform or exhibit at the festival, and we’re proud to play a part in their development. This year is Art, Not Apart’s coming of age—and a celebration of how far the festival has come.”

Performer Eliza Sanders in Albert Hall. Credit: Cole Bennetts.

Speaking of artists, performing at the festival across various stages are musical acts such as Lucy Sugerman, Aphir, Happy Axe, Dub Dub Goose and Darren Percival while various dance performances, spoken word acts and live art will take place across the precinct.

One of the most exciting additions to the program is a street food program curated by The Forage at The Shine Dome. Offerings include Ramen Daddy, Bare Bones BBQ, Tikka Stand and Wandering Woodfired Pizza while the Festival Bar will be run by none other than Bar Rochford.

A family-friendly day out that’s completely free to attend, Art, Not Apart promises an eye-opening experience, no matter what your age. But the fun doesn’t stop after the main festival.

Sound & Fury is the adults-only after party for the festival, which gets a little bit wow-that-performance-artist-doesn’t-have-heaps-of-clothes-on. An immersive party experience with theatre, dance and musical performances across the night, Sound & Fury will take place in Albert Hall from 7.30 pm on Saturday 14 March—a bigger space for an even bigger party.

Soul Defender truck in front of NFSA. Credit: Cole Bennetts.

With a bar from everyone’s favourite Bar Rochford, performances that will make you gasp, laugh and ponder and a live DJ set to end the night (spoiler alert: dancing is encouraged), there’s no better way to end your Art, Not Apart experience.

But wait—there’s more. This year, the program will extend beyond the one-day festival, with events on both the Friday evening pre-festival and the Sunday post-festival.

On Friday 13 March, head to Albert Hall for a jazz jam night like no other at Melting Pot. Some of the country’s finest jazz talents will be led by acclaimed musician John Mackey accompanied by projection art—a must-see for music lovers. And capping off an epic weekend, the tech yes will be Canberra’s first day techno party.

With 50 artists, 15 DJ crews, five local producers-DJs and three world-class headliners, tech yes will showcase the thriving Aussie electronic music scene across two stages. Kicking off at 2 pm and going until 10 pm, tech yes will be an electronica-lovers dream.

the essentials

What: Art, Not Apart 2020
When: 12-15 March
Where: Various locations across Canberra including NewActon, The Shine Dome, National Film and Sound Archive and Albert Hall
Cost: The Festival is free, some other events ticketed
More information: artnotapart.com

Feature image: Musician John Mackey, performer Eliza Sanders and producer Doppel in Albert Hall. Credit: Cole Bennetts. 

HerCanberra is a proud media partner of Art, Not Apart 2020

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