Even though the ski season is still going strong, there are signs that it is springtime Canberra — the sun is starting to come out, the temperature in the morning is rising above zero, and Floriade is on. Tulips, sculptures, painted gnomes, Nightfest, fairground rides: what is your favourite part of Floriade? It all starts this Friday night with the inaugural Floriade Twilight Concert at Stage 88. But if flowers aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy yourself this weekend. The Latin American food festival, a model ship expo, the Korean Film Festival at Hoyts, Woden and the Italian Film Festival is opening at Palace Electric. An exciting new exhibition is opening at the National Museum, Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters attempts to tell the Indigenous founding narrative of the Seven Sisters Dreaming using Indigenous ways of passing on knowledge. And the Wallabies are playing Argentina at GIO Stadium for the first time since 2010.
Where: Commonwealth Park
When: Dates 10 am – 7 pm
Floriade is turning thirty, and to mark the occasion the annual flower festival is both reminiscing about the past and looking forward to the future. Over a million bulbs and annuals have been planted to form favourite designs from previous years, while the theme of this year’s festival is Rejuvenation. It’s all about renewal, revival, growth, and change. Floriade will remain open later into the evening this year — until 7 pm — making it a great option for after-work drinks. Nightfest is on over two weekends (22 – 24 September and 29 September – 1 October) and will feature comedians, including Nazeem Hussain, Dilruk Jyasinha, Rebecca De Unamuno and Tripod; musicians, including Bob Evans, Kay Temperley, The Gypsy Scholars, Mondecreen and The Lowlands; and roving performers. And artsACT is installing sculptures around the festival created by local and national artists. To celebrate the opening of Floriade, head down to the inaugural Floriade Twilight Concert this Friday night featuring the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and David Bowie tribute act, The Ziggy Band. Pack a picnic, or buy food there and bring a chair, beanbag or rug so you can settle in and enjoy. Gates open at 4:30 pm, concert starts at 5:15 pm. Tickets are $31.70 for adults and $16.40 for concessions, book here.
Where: Various venues
When: 14 – 21 September
In its third year, Poetry on the Move is a poetry festival organised by the University of Canberra. The theme of this year’s festival is Boundry Crossing, with a focus on crossing language barriers by translating poetry, crossing boundaries between visual art and poetry with ekphrastic poetry, and using poetry to cross cultural boundaries within Australia and beyond. The festival will feature 75 poets and other contributors, including two poets in residence: Vahni Capildeo and Glyn Maxwell. Most events are free but numbers are limited so you’ll need to book. Most weekday events will be held at UC in Bruce, but weekend events will be held at the Belconnen Arts Centre, National Portrait Gallery and Gorman House. A number of poetry prizes will also be awarded during the festival including the inaugural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Poetry Prize and the University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize, one the largest poetry prizes in the world. For a full run down of events, check out the program here, and book into events here.
Where: Mount Rogers Primary School, Alfred Hill Drive, Melba
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10 am – 5 pm
Featuring over 100 model ships, this expo is one of largest exhibitions of model ships in Australia. The models have been built by both local and interstate model shipwrights.
Where: National Museum of Australia
When: 15 September – 25 February
Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters is an innovative exhibition opening at the National Museum this weekend. It attempts to tell the Indigenous founding narrative of the Seven Sisters Dreaming, using Indigenous ways of passing on knowledge. The story of the Seven Sisters is one of pursuit and escape, desire and magic, and family bonds. The exhibition will tell this story using a six-metre planetarium-style digital dome, under which you will be able to see rock art from the remote site at Cave Hill and visions of the sisters flying across the sky while listening to Pitjantjatjara elder Stanley Douglas narrate the story of the Seven Sisters. The exhibition will also feature paintings, sculptures and other works by more than 100 artists from the Martu, Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara lands of Australia’s Central and Western deserts. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for Museum Friends and concessions, $7 for kids and $40 for a family with 2 adults and up to three kids. Book here.
Where: Canberra Theatre
When: 14 – 23 September Times
With a $120 million postal survey asking us for our opinion on just one issue it doesn’t seem like it would hard to find things to ridicule in our political system at the moment, but writers Jonathon Biggins, Drew Forsythe and Phillip Scott take such ridicule to another level with their annual show, The Wharf Review. Back for another year and opening in Canberra this weekend, this show usually provides some much-needed relief to those of us that are cogs in the government machine. Tickets from $45 for adults, $40 for concession and $35 for under 27s. Book here.
Where: Canberra Spanish Church, 16 Parkinson Street, Weston
When: 11 am – 3 pm
This festival gives you the opportunity to sample home-cooked foods from the cuisines of El Salvador, Mexico, Chile, Uruguay, and Argentina. Run by the Canberra Spanish church, all proceeds will go to support projects providing meals to street kids in Nicaragua, Chile, Peru, Cuba, and Honduras. For more details check out our Elias Hallaj’s post here.
Where: GIO Stadium
When: Gates open 6 pm, kick-off 8 pm
The Wallabies return to Canberra this Saturday night, for the first time since 2010, to play Argentina’s Los Pumas in The Rugby Championship series. With six Brumbies players named in the Wallabies side, there should be plenty of hometown pride and exciting rugby on display. Tickets from $26, book here.
Where: National Arboretum
When: 11 am – 4 pm
The Arboretum is celebrating the start of spring by opening up roads normally closed to the public, to provide vehicle access to its southern forests. Drive, walk or cycle down to the forests and take a free guided walk (a family walk is scheduled for 2pm) to hear about the unique planting patterns in the forests and the research being conducted by the ANU. Also, see two trees that are extinct in the wild—the toromiro tree from Easter Island the Franklin tree from the USA. Gold coin donation welcome, no bookings required.
Where: Majura Hall, Rosevear Place, Dickson
When: 2:30 – 4:30 pm
The theme for this month’s Sunday Assembly is Islands and the guest speaker is Associate Professor, Dr. Katerina Teaiwa from the ANU. Katerina was born in Fiji and is of Banaban heritage. Banaban is a tiny island, just six square kilometres in size, east of Naru which was once rich with phosphate. Minining this resource stripped away 90 per cent of the island’s surface leaving it virtually uninhabitable. Katerina now researches the history of phosphate mining in the central Pacific and the displacement of indigenous Banabans to their new home on Rabi Island, Fiji as a result of this mining. Sunday Assembly will also include a reading, a personal reflection and songs around the theme of Islands, and tea and cake will be served at the end.
If you’re looking for live music around Canberra check out The RiotACT Gig Guide (13 – 19 Sep).