Buvette Masthead

Multicultural Festival 2016: What you need to know before you go

Georgia Mackay

It’s time look forward to Canberra’s FEASTival of food, fun and cultural diversity, the National Multicultural Festival.

The Multicultural Festival can be a lot to take in (and walk through) so we have compiled a list of essential things you need to know about the three-day event.


This year is the festival is turning 20 and everyone is ready to party! It will run from Friday 12 to Sunday 14February.


Various locations across the city. Click here for details.


Friday 12 February – 4pm until midnight

Saturday 13 February – 11am until midnight

Sunday 14 February – 11am until 6pm

How much?

As always, entry to the festival is free, making it a great event to take the whole family to.

What’s On

Read our article on ‘Getting Your Groove On‘ for some of the highlights!

From 4pm Friday to 6pm Sunday there will be entertainment across eight stages. Each stage will feature a program of local, national and international performing artists including dancers, singers, bands and other cultural creativity. There really is something for everyone.

The opening concert on Friday night will begin at 4:30pm on stage one, Garema Place, and will include a range of musicians playing into the night, as well as food stalls. The 2016 headline act is iconic rock group the Black Sorrows.

On Saturday Stage four, Alinga Street, will be holding an Indigenous Showcase from 10am – 10pm. There will also be a Pacific Island Showcase, which has firmly cemented itself over the past decade as one of the key elements of the festival, as well as the African Village Showcase from 10am at Stage five, Civic Square.

On Sunday, Stage 1, Garema Place, will be showcasing the Chinese Spring Festival – Year of the Monkey, featuring Lion dance, Yin Lie and ACT Chinese Community children’s choir.

What to take 

A back-pack or secure shoulder bag is your best bet to keep your belongings safe while walking through the crowds. A water bottle is also a good idea with the weather set to be in the 30’s. There will be no need for packing food with the festival renowned for its delicious and culturally diverse flavours, however, the lines can get quite long so packing some snacks could be a good idea.

What to eat

Traditional favourites at the festival include the little Dutch pancakes, traditional German Pretzels and the Gozleme. Other more unique offerings, according to reader Ruba Rashid, include Tibetan Momos, Sri Lankan Egg Hoppers and Tongan Otai Otai (shredded watermelon and coconut cream).

Read our list of 10 foods not to miss at the Festival!

How to get there

The best way to get to the festival is by ACTION bus, on Friday you can take a Blue or Red Rapid to the city from town centres and on Saturday and Sunday there will be additional 900 and 950 services available.

There are also park and ride facilities along these routes, so why not go for a ride with the kids and then catch a bus into the festival. More information about the action bus routes is linked below.

There will be a series of road closures in place in the city from Friday until Monday. These include, Alinga Street, between Northbourne Avenue and East Row, East row, between London Circuit and Mort Street and Mort Street, between Bunda Street and City Walk.

If you are planning on driving to the festival avoid these roads and get there early. The city centre car park fills up very quickly and there is nothing worse than frustrated drivers in a car park. Alternatively you could try and park in Braddon and walk over.

Seniors and Families

For families with children or seniors there are special sanctuaries on the festival footprint, linked below, offering shade, free bottled water, entertainment and a cool place to rest.

the essentials

What: Multicultural Festival
Where: Canberra City
When: 12 – 14 February 2016
Cost: Free
Web: For more information on ACTION bus timetables: action.act.gov.au
For more information on the festival: multiculturalfestival.com.au
Map of the festival: multiculturalfestival.com.au

Image of ‘Zagreb, Croatia…’ via Shutterstock

Georgia Mackay

Georgia has just completed her degree in Communications and is excited to have the opportunity to intern with HerCanberra. Georgia was born and bred in Canberra and has a passion for all things fashion, beauty and lifestyle. She also, like many of the HerCanberra girls, enjoys great food and coffee and loves discovering new places to eat and drink in Canberra! Georgia is a true Canberra advocate and is excited about, among other things, the development of the creative scene in our capital. She believes Canberra is an exciting place for people of all ages to be at the moment and thinks it is only getting better. More about the Author