19 June 2020

21 things to do around Canberra this weekend (12 – 18 March)

| Hayden Fritzlaff
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Photograph of pink Soul Defender truck billowing bubbles.

The Soul Defender, a reclaimed military truck, is gearing up for its second Art, Not Apart. Photo: Supplied.

The most ‘Canberra’ weekend of the year is about to kick off. The Balloon Spectacular; Art, Not Apart; Enlighten and the Canberra Comedy Festival are all taking place across the city in the coming days, making for one hell of a jam-packed calendar for those of us who want to get out and see it all.

The Art, Not Apart program, in particular, is brimming with exciting art encounters and weird and wonderful performances. Across the main festival on Saturday, plus a handful of afterparties, you’re likely to find something that suits your taste (and plenty of things that will challenge it).

There’s a stack of music on offer around town as well, with Brisbane shredlords DZ Deathrays, the Melbourne Ska Orchestra, the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and a host of artists at the Old Canberra Inn offering up a huge variety sounds to delve into.

All Weekend

Hot-air balloon

Canberra is just as balloon-crazy as ever. Photo: Supplied.

Canberra Balloon Spectacular

Where: Lawns of Old Parliament House
When: Thursday to Sunday, 6:15 am to 10:00 am.

Autumn has arrived and so have the cool Canberra mornings – the perfect conditions for these ACT icons to take flight. If you haven’t experienced the Canberra Balloon Spectacular before, then dig that beanie and scarf out from the back of the cupboard and rug up before heading to the Parliamentary Triangle at the break of dawn to see dozens of hot air balloons inflating and rising into the sky.

Family Values

Family Values is a darkly comic drama. Image: Supplied.

Family Values

Where: Canberra Theatre Centre
When: Thursday to Saturday, 8:00 pm. Matinee Saturday, 2:00 pm.

Roger, a retired federal judge, wants a quiet birthday. However, things start to go haywire when his daughter brings around an asylum seeker from Nauru, bringing up old conflicts and resentments Roger would rather forget. This darkly comic drama is running Thursday through Saturday, with a special afternoon performance on Saturday.

Farrah's Liquor Collective

Join the March Madness at Farrah’s Liquor Collective. Photo: Supplied.

Taste The Store

Where: Farrah’s Liquor Collective
When: Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Wine lovers rejoice! Farrah’s Liquor Collective is flinging open its doors every weekend through March for free tastings. FLC is passionate about connecting you with the producers themselves, and they have a whole range of wines, beers and spirits on offer. Drop in to taste some of the 80 or so products each weekend and, by the end of March, you will have caught a glimpse of just about everything in store.

Lyneham's Old Canberra Inn

Lyneham’s Old Canberra Inn is an iconic Canberra locale. Photo: Daniella Jukic.

Afternoon Tunes at the Old Canberra Inn

Where: Old Canberra Inn, Lyneham
When: Saturday from 2:00 pm, Sunday from 4:00 pm.

Two of Canberra’s best singer-songwriters, Kim Yang and Cathy Diver, are set to perform in the rustic surrounds of the Old Canberra Inn this Saturday and Sunday respectively. Both of these performers are at the forefront of a wave of new songwriters emerging from the ACT in recent years, and this weekend is a chance to catch them playing their own material as well as reimagined versions of classic songs. Grab a schooey or a vegan burger then kick back and listen to the soothing sounds of Kim Yang and Cathy Diver.


Connect & Grow

Connect with other families and let the little ones play at Connect & Grow. Photo: Supplied.

Connect & Grow

Where: Westfield Belconnen
When: 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.

Children aged 0-5 (and their parents!) are invited to Connect & Grow, a weekly series of free playgroup meet-ups at Westfield Belconnen. It’s a chance to kick back and connect with other families while your child participates in an inclusive play environment led by an early childhood teacher. Belconnen Community Service, in collaboration with the Australian Early Development Census and Westfield Belconnen, and supported by the ACT Government, are providing this free opportunity which is set to continue through May.

Pialligo's newly renovated Pavilions

Pialligo Estate hosts its International Women’s Day luncheon this Thursday. Photo: Supplied.

International Women’s Day 2020

Where: Pialligo Estate, 18 Kallaroo Rd, Pialligo
When: 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm.

Gather your favourite females and bring them along for a quality afternoon to yourselves. Technology entrepreneur Michelle Melbourne, biotechnology and plant biology expert Dr Christina DeLay, and Director of My Fashion Empire Sarah Kelly will be on hand to share words of wisdom and empowerment as the group enjoys a luncheon in the stunning surrounds of Pialligo Estate. Bookings are essential for this special one-off event.

James Tylor, (Erased Scenes) From an Untouched Landscape #7

James Tylor, (Erased Scenes) From an Untouched Landscape #7, 2013, inkjet print on Hahnemühle paper with hole removed to a black velvet void. Image courtesy the artist and Vivien Anderson Gallery.


Where: Canberra Museum and Gallery
When: Open Monday to Saturday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Void is a free exhibition that brings together contemporary Aboriginal art from around the country. Curated by Emily McDaniel, the exhibition features works spanning various materials and mediums including paint, drawings, sculpture, textiles, video, photography and more. Void is a joint presentation by UTS Gallery and Bathurst Regional Art Gallery and marks an important opportunity to encounter some of the works from some of the country’s most vital Aboriginal artists.

The CSO Chamber Orchestra

The CSO Chamber Orchestra has something special planned for their National Portrait Gallery performance. Photo: Supplied.

Love Kindness, Decency

Where: National Portrait Gallery
When: 6:30 pm start.

An expansive program of art music has been collected by the CSO Chamber Orchestra for this exciting event at the National Portrait Gallery. None of the works presented were composed before 2011, and two works will be making their world premiere. With a pre-concert talk moderated by our own Genevieve Jacobs and a post-concert viewing of the National Portrait Prize, this is the perfect opportunity to dip your toes into the world of contemporary art music. Tickets start at just $30 through cso.org.au.


DZ Deathrays bring their high energy rock show to Kambri this Friday. Photo: Supplied.

DZ Deathrays

Where: Kambri, ANU
When: 8:00 pm start.

Certified shredlords (and ARIA nominees) DZ Deathrays return to the capital this weekend, playing songs from their latest album Positive Rising Pt. 1. If you aren’t familiar with these Brisbane hard rockers, check out the video for their Hottest 100 hit ‘Like People’ which features Murray the Red Wiggle dancing maniacally around a deserted town hall. It’s as perfect as it sounds. Joined by Slagatha Christie and Sesame Girl, this show will be the loudest, sweatiest gig on offer this weekend.

John Mackey

Saxophonist John Mackey leads the improvisational Melting Pot jam experience at Albert Hall. Photo: Supplied.

Melting Pot

Where: Albert Hall
When: 8:00 pm to 11:30 pm.

The natural successor to the monthly jazz night of the same name, Melting Pot is an immersive aural/video experience like no other. Acclaimed jazz saxophonist John Mackey leads an improvisational ensemble of epic proportions. There’s no way of knowing in which direction the work will go, but you can bet it’ll be captivating. Tickets start at $29.56 for this special event in the iconic Albert Hall.


Lake Ginninderra

Lake Ginninderra is the setting for Questfest’s come-and-try day of LARPing. Photo: Glynis Quinlan.


Where: John Knight Memorial Park, Belconnen
When: 11:00am start.

Every wanted to give questing or LARPing (Live Action Role Playing) a try? This is your lucky weekend. Wargrounds Canberra and Girthsword Promotions have teamed up to provide a free day of questing around the shores of Lake Ginninderra. It’s a chance to try out everything these communities have to offer, and also explore a themed market within the quest grounds where you can purchase equipment and supplies for future adventures.

Art, Not Apart

Art, Not Apart returns to New Acton for its tenth iteration this weekend. Photo: Supplied.

Art, Not Apart

Where: Various locations around New Acton, NFSA
When: 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

Canberra’s favourite contemporary arts festival is back for another year and the program is huge. You’re going to want to head on over to artnotapart.com to check out the full program and familiarise yourself with what’s on offer, but the best advice is to pick out a few time-sensitive activities and spend the rest of the afternoon wandering between New Acton and the NSFA and unearthing things organically. Expect live music, weird and wonderful performances, unique once-off art experiences, food and drink, visual art and afterparties.

Hit 104.7 Skyfire

Hit 104.7 Skyfire fireworks above Lake Burley Griffin. Photo: Supplied.

HIT 104.7 Skyfire (Postponed)

Where: Lake Burley Griffin
When: 6:00 pm start. Fireworks at 8:30 pm.

What is it they say? You can’t turn on your heating until after Skyfire? Climate change may have messed with our socially-agreed seasonal markers, but Skyfire is still an ACT staple. Head down to the lake early on Saturday evening to get in prime position for the fireworks which are set to kick off from 8:30 pm.

Laura Ingram

Laura Ingram is reinventing herself in 2020. Photo: Supplied.

Laura Ingram: ‘Valentine’s Day’ Single Launch

Where: Smith’s Alternative
When: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

When we heard Laura Ingram’s latest single ‘Valentine’s Day’, we named it one of the best Canberra singles to come out in February. And for good reason. It’s a soul jam with a distinctly retro feel, and plays on the idea that perhaps Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all of displays of love. Catch a talented singer-songwriter as she embarks on an eventful year of shows and releases. Tickets on sale now via Smith’s Alternative.

Photograph of artist Eliza Sanders wrapped in gold

Performer Eliza Sanders and the mysterious Sound and Fury afterparty make an enigmatic pair. Photo: Supplied.

Sound and Fury

Where: Albert Hall
When: 7:00 pm start

“Wear gold.” That instruction is, more or less, everything we know about this year’s Art, Not Apart afterparty. Programmed with the sin of gluttony in mind, this once-off, all-out art party is likely to be a feast for the senses, with cross-disciplinary art, multimedia experiences and some out-there performances all on the cards. Honestly, we’re just as intrigued as you are to see what goes down. Bookings essential for this one, via Eventbrite.


Best yoga studios in Canberra

Flow Yoga Canberra’s Odona Farska leads Beats and Yoga this weekend. Photo: supplied.

Beats and Yoga

Where: Albert Hall
When: 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm.

Dive in and experience an uplifting yoga masterclass with Flow Yoga Canberra’s Odona Farska. But hold up one second, this isn’t your typical yoga class. Accompanying Odona will be the DJ stylings of Hei Zhi Ma on the huge Art, Not Apart soundsystem. This event works equally well as a curious, relaxing way to ease back into the week and as full-blown party prep as you limber up for the tech-yes art party to follow.

The Soul Defender

The Soul Defender will be on hand throughout Art, Not Apart. Photo: Supplied.


Where: Albert Hall
When: 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm.

tech-yes is the high tech afternoon rave of your wildest daydreams. Capping off a huge Art, Not Apart festival program, the event brings together more than 50 artists from across various different mediums for one last hurrah before the festival wraps up for another year. The best part? You can still be in bed at a reasonable hour. Tickets for this one start at $37.52 through Eventbrite.

Melbourne Ska Orchestra

An evening with Melbourne Ska Orchestra is guaranteed to be a good time. Photo: Supplied.

Melbourne Ska Orchestra

Where: UC Refectory
When: 7:30 pm start

The beloved, world-renowned Melbourne Ska Orchestra is in town this weekend, providing all the good vibes and brass band ska energy you could possibly need. Being a collective of jazz and big band aficionados, you can expect a whole lot of musical talent to cram on to the UC Refectory stage on Sunday night. Tickets are available through Moshtix for $44.92.


Canberra Comedy

The Canberra Comedy Festival is back. Photo: Supplied.

Canberra Comedy Festival Gala

Where: Canberra Theatre Centre
When: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

The Canberra Comedy Festival is back for another year. Its flagship gala is typically a sell-out, featuring a massive lineup of local, national, and international comedians. It’s the perfect way to kickstart your festival week if you’re planning on attending multiple shows, or sample a cross-section of the program if you’re still undecided. Tickets start at $83 + bf for this all-out comedy spectacular.


Jeff Green

Jeff Green takes to the stage as part of the Canberra Comedy Festival on Wednesday night. Photo: Supplied.

Jeff Green – Wombat Combat and Other Mistakes

Where: The Courtyard Studio, Canberra Theatre Centre
When: 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm.

Jeff Green is an expert in mistakes, errors of judgment and making us all laugh. He returns to Australia as part of the Canberra Comedy Festival for a one-hour performance at the intimate Courtyard Studio, the blackbox theatre underneath the floorboards of the Canberra Theatre. There’s plenty going on across the whole festival, but this British comedy veteran is one show not to miss.


Hamlet, but more drunk than you remember it. Photo: Supplied.

Shitfaced Shakespeare – Hamlet

Where: Canberra Theatre Centre
When: 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm.

Having sold out their shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival five years in a row, Shitfaced Shakespeare is set to bring their hilarious take on arguably the literary giant’s most revered work to Canberra. Simply put, this show is the hilarious blend of an entirely serious Shakespeare play with an entirely inebriated actor. What could go wrong?

The Chaser’s Charles Firth and The Shovel’s James Schloffel

The Chaser’s Charles Firth and The Shovel’s James Schloffel take on the scourge of the modern era. Photo: Supplied.

The Anti-Experts Guide to Everything

Where: The Playhouse
When: 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm.

The Chaser’s Charles Firth and The Shovel’s James Schloffel take on the scourge of the modern era: experts and their “experty expertise”. Questioning our modern world in ways you didn’t think possible (or reasonable), this romp of a show will have you challenging everything you thought you knew, and probably for no good reason.

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