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National Folk Festival: Perfect for kids

Emily Allen

Held every year over the Easter long weekend at Exhibition Park in Canberra, the National Folk Festival (NFF) hosts 45,000 patrons across five days.

A mammoth 20 venues are dotted across the site with a program designed to inspire, enliven, entertain. The grounds are populated with themed bars, food and market stalls, circus performers and roving musicians, and even has a dedicated program for the kids! There’s a reason the National Folk Festival (NFF) has a reputation as one of Australia’s most loved and family-friendly music festivals.

While you might not think a five-day festival is the place for little ones, the NFF offers a multitude of ticketing options including adult, concession, youth, children (under-sevens are free!), plus the option of ticket packages for day or evening. There’s even a dedicated Family Day on Easter Monday where entry is free for all kids under the age of 15 when accompanied by an adult.

KidzFest is sure to keep children of all ages entertained while learning about dancing, unusual instruments, dinosaurs and more. A magical space where all ages come together to learn, create and play, here we’ve picked 12 highlights of the program running 10 am – 5 pm every day of the Festival.


Circus Hokum

Circus Hokum is the Festival’s big, flashy, circus cabaret show featuring some of Australia’s best circus artists.


Wonder and learn as the Gobsmacked! Boys blow the lid on what makes the world go around, and squeeze as many zany songs into half an hour as possible. All about the bizarre, the weird and wonderful, the strange-but-true.

Amazing Drumming Monkeys

The Amazing Drumming Monkeys combine a unique blend of puppetry, live music, comedy and heart-warming themes to deliver a fun-filled interactive show for the whole family.

Bush Gothic

Marvel at the songs of swagmen, mermaids, female bushrangers and spooky tales of gold and beards as Bush Gothic play intelligent music for kids including spoons and sing-alongs.

Dinosaur Time Machine

An award-winning educational show that uses theatre, circus and puppetry to learn about dinosaurs.


Belswagger Morris

Get your dancing shoes on with Belswagger Morris as they show kids the joy of waving hankies, clashing wooden sticks an enjoying traditional music.

String Bean Puppets

Anna Bailey is a New Zealand puppeteer. Emerging from well-travelled suitcases her intimate and interactive String Bean Puppets shows have entranced audiences around the world. Watch out for her pop-up show ‘The Portrait Painter’.

Maypole with Molly

Maypole with Molly as dancers make a spider’s web, barber’s pole, colourful weaving patterns on the maypole and play along on percussion.

Tassie Devil’s Own Band

Tassie Devil’s Own Band are sure to keep the little ones (and their not so little minders) actively engaged in singing and dancing.

Pirateman Michael

An outlandish vagabond from another world specialising in nautical nonsense and sea shanty shenanigans, bringing a treasure trove of talent anywhere he goes! From crystal ball ‘contact juggling’, LED circus arts and puppet characters quite literally hiding in his sleeves, Pirateman is sure to leave land-lubbers bewildered with delight.

Blackberry Jam

Sing, dance, laugh and act along with Blackberry Jam and ride on their very own Emily the Emu!

Liam Gerner

Liam Gerner will teach songs from his book Ukulele Songs by Kids for Kids and create songs on the spot with the audience. Bring your uke along – all ages are welcome.

If that wasn’t enough, make sure to keep your eyes open during your visit—every day you will find an array of circus buskers and dancing shows popping up on the streets of the National Folk Festival. Then, as the sun goes down and dark descends, watch out for nightly lantern parades as they wind their way through the Festival.

View the National Folk Festival’s full program here.

the essentials

What: National Folk Festival
When: Thursday 29 March – Monday 2 April
Where: Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC)
Cost: multiple ticketing options here
Web: folkfestival.org.au

HerCanberra is a proud media partner of The National Folk Festival 2018


Emily Allen

Emily is an arts administrator with a background in writing and music. By day, she works at the ANU School of Music, and by night she moonlights as a contributing writer, the Communications Coordinator and Secretary for MusicACT, and dabbles in freelance marketing, social media and communications for the arts. More about the Author

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