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Experience the World in Canberra

Valeriya Lloyd

There are only a few days left before colourful entertainment will be splashed all over the capital by one of our most enthusiastic annual crowds.

Once again, Canberra will gather in Civic from Friday 17 to Sunday 19 February to watch highly talented representatives of many cultures perform on stage and taste delicious foods prepared with authentic recipes from all over the world.

The 21st annual Multicultural Festival is about to heat up your weekend and this time your experience will be a little different.

“Over the last two decades, the Festival has grown from a small local celebration to one of national significance, with thousands of visitors coming from interstate each year,” says Rachel Stephen-Smith, ACT Minister for Multicultural Affairs. “This is something all Canberrans can be proud of.”

Indeed, the celebration has grown so large that this year, the Festival is proud to present a very special guest artist – musical icon and Aussie songstress, Kate Ceberano.

“With her soaring voice and Aria award-winning melodies, Kate has been a fixture of the Australian music scene since the 1980s and has entertained crowds at festivals, major concert halls, on TV and in clubs across the nation,” says Director of the Multicultural Festival, Azra Khan. “We are proud to have her as our headline act and face of the festival for this year’s extravaganza.”


You can see Kate’s performance on Saturday 17 February at 8pm at the second instalment of the opening concert in Garema Place.

Needless to say, the Multicultural Festival is a unique experience for those who are planning to attend for the very first time. Expect a blend of vibrant colours from the showcases and the delicious scent of treats from all over the world.

Here are Azra’s picks of the special showcases:

  • African Villages:
  • Africa Entcha –  17 February, Civic Square (off London Cct) at 6pm and 8.40pm and on 18 February, Civic Square at 6.50pm and 8.40pm.
  • African Gospel Choir – 17 February, Civic Square at 6pm and 8.40pm.
  • Afro Zumba – 18 February, Civic Square at 8.10pm.
  • ASEAN Village – 18 February, Petrie Plaza West at 9am.
  • Belly Dance Showcase – 18 February, Petrie Plaza (east) at 1pm and 3.15pm.
  • Celtic Ceilidh showcase – 18 February, Stage Four, Bunda street at 11.30am.
  • European Showcase (Croatia) – 18 February, Stage six, Akuna St and City Walk.
  • Greek Glendi – 18 February, Petrie Plaza at 1.45pm.
  • Happy Chinese Year Showcase – 17-18 February, Stage 3, Ainslie Avenue Cul De Sac.
  • India in the City – 18 February at 3.40pm, Stage 2 Petrie Plaza East.
  • Indigenous Showcase – 18 February at 10.30am and 12.50am, Stage 5, Civic Square
  • Latin Quarter:
  • Salsador – 18 February at 6.35pm, Stage 1, Garema Place.
  • La Rumba Flamenco – 19 February, Stage 2, Bunda street.
  • Pacific Islands Showcase – 18 February at 9 am, Petrie Plaza and 19 February at 4.30pm, Stage 5, Civic Square.
  • Shimmy Shindig Showcase – 18 February at 11.55am, Stage 6, Akuna St and City Walk.

One special feature of this year’s Festival is that the organisers have been working hard to increase the comfort, safety and accessibility for all festival attendees.


“The new sanctuaries – one specifically for children and parents, and the other for Canberrans of all ages and abilities – will offer a quiet space to retreat to and a chance to enjoy the festival’s engaging performances and activities,” explains Azra.

“In addition, to help beat the heat and ensure all festival attendees are well hydrated, we have partnered with ACT Smart and ACT Health to install cold water stations and bubbles in the festival footprint.”

To make sure you know where the sanctuary spaces and cold water stations are before you attend, download the festival program here. This year you can also download the Festival app through iOS or Android.

the essentials

What: Multicultural Festival 2017
When: 17-19 February 2017
Where: Various locations around the city
Web: www.multiculturalfestival.com.au

All photography by Martin Ollman


Valeriya Lloyd

Val is studying Communications in Media and Public Affairs at University of Canberra and has a great passion for writing (in two languages as she originally came to Canberra from Russia). Val enjoys writing about life generally, and sometimes from a fictional perspective. She often generates new ideas in sudden moments and admits that she has at least two diaries, where she writes her notes and inspiration for future stories. She loves to meet new people and showcase their talents and originality. Val is very social person, who loves the local lifestyle and the inner beauty of Canberra. More about the Author