Aussie indie pop artist Japanese Wallpaper, soulful songstress Nicole Millar and Sistas in Song (featuring local Monica Moore and fellow vocalist Belle Whyte) will headline an Australia Day concert with a different tone in Canberra this Sunday.
It has been a tough start to the year for many Canberrans, so this year, Australia Day might just be the perfect time to gather together and remind ourselves of everything that is great about being Australian – including our courage and resilience, under both hail and fire.
Given the current environment, the ACT Government decided to cancel the traditional fireworks display, and instead has dedicated the popular local concert to raising funds for bushfire relief.
Acting Minister for the Arts, Creative Industries and Cultural Events Rachel Stephen-Smith said people who have been impacted by bushfires will be front of mind for organisers, artists and attendees at the concert, which will kick off in Commonwealth Park on Sunday, 26 January from 11:00 am.
“While our neighbours continue to battle bushfires, our emergency services personnel remain on alert with continuing unpredictable weather expected in the weeks ahead. So this is not the year for us to celebrate with fireworks,” Minister Stephen-Smith said.
“And due to the ongoing hot and dry weather and likelihood of ongoing smoke and poor air quality, we’ve also made the decision to move the event to the morning, where it will follow the National Flag Raising and Citizenship Ceremonies at Rond Terrace, both of which are open to the public,” she said.
Activities will then continue centred around Stage 88 in Commonwealth Park. Arrive early and bring your picnic rug to grab a good spot, you’ll find a variety of food trucks as well as amusement rides, roving entertainers and even a glitter bar (!) to keep you entertained while you relax in the sun or in the shade.
The ever-popular Royal Australian Air Force aircraft flyover will take place over Lake Burley Griffin at 10:30 am.
The Acting Minister also acknowledged a change in community sentiment about the purpose of Australia Day, saying, “We’re aware Canberrans have a range of different views about Australia Day and that many do not see 26 January as a day for celebration”.
“The ACT Government is committed to ensuring that our event is inclusive and respectful of all views, recognising that it is held on Ngunnawal land,” she said.
The concert will direct funds to support a number of charities involved in bushfire recovery across Australia, many of which will have a presence there on the day so you can talk to them directly about their work on the ground.
Time: 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
When: Sunday, 26 January
Where: Stage 88, Commonwealth Park