Whether you’re a lover of food, light shows, flower displays or even hotted-up cars, Canberra’s event calendar offers something for everyone.
Our calendar reflects everything that is great about this city; the vibrancy, diversity and sense of community is all captured in our events and festivals, promising a unique experience for young and old.
Here‘s 16 events and festivals that you don’t want to miss.
5-8th January 2017
The annual Street Machine Summernats Car Festival is Australia’s biggest horse power party where over 2000 elite street machines descend on our city. Coming from around the world, entrants display to a crowd of over 100,000 people.
Summernats delivers four days of high octane action including the City Cruise, the crowning of the Street Machine Summernats Grand Champion, Dyno Dynamic’s Horsepower Heroes, Federal Tyres Miss Summernats competition, and the world’s biggest burnout competition, the Liqui-Moly Burnout Masters.
17-19th February 2017
Eat, drink, laugh and dance your way around the world at the National Multicultural Festival. Celebrate diversity, share traditions and see performances from all parts of the world. The festival provides comedy, performance art, food and wine stalls, street parties, live music, circus-style acts and more. Held throughout Garema Place and City Walk in the heart of the Canberra CBD, the National Multicultural Festival brings colour, noise and vibrancy to our city over three days during Summer.
26th-28th February 2017
The country comes to our city for this family friendly event with animal judging, horse shows, pig racing, petting zoos, rides, sideshow alley, motorbike stunts, fireworks and more! A Canberra favourite, the first origins of the event can be traced back to 1908, and while the location and size have changed over the last century, the fun and atmosphere haven’t.
3rd -12th March 2017.
Canberra’s Parliamentary Triangle is transformed into a vibrant arts precinct, with talented street artists and international musical acts all set against a backdrop of stunning architectural projections that shine a light on some of Australia’s most iconic attractions.
Explore our city in a different light during Autumn when many of the city’s national attractions open their doors after-hours to host an array of exclusive events and surprising experiences.
18th March 2017
Join over 100,000 people around the iconic Lake Burley Griffin to watch some of Australia’s best music artists rock out on stage. Couple that with over 20 minutes of world class fireworks set to a soundtrack broadcast on Hit104.7 and you’ve got yourself a great night out with friends and family.
To secure your spot make sure you get to Regatta Point before 5.30pm. But if crowds aren’t your thing, you can enjoy the spectacular light show from afar at Mount Ainslie, Black Mountain, the National Library or even the Australian War Memorial.
If you’re driving, keep up to date with road closures close to the venue and whatever you do, don’t park in an ‘unofficial’ space. With limited parking at the Russell precinct we advise jumping on to one of the many ACTION buses from Tuggeranong, Gungahlin, the City, Woden and Belconnen.
13th-17th April 2017
Canberra’s celebration of traditional and contemporary folk life at the National Folk Festival brings high-end entertainment and a program designed to inspire, enliven and entertain.
With over 200 acts representing diverse styles such as acoustic, blues, roots, bluegrass, world, Celtic, traditional, gypsy and country in a program including music, dance, spoken word, film, circus and traditional crafts, this festival delivers something for everyone.
28th April – 7th May
Experience the music adventure that is the Canberra International Music Festival. A vibrant fusion of expertly curated music, iconic performances both daring and intimate, exceptional music making mixed with culinary surprises – that’s the Canberra International Music Festival, an annual treat for Australia’s culture vultures.
This Festival is more than classical music, although that is a big part of the program. The repertoire includes early music, contemporary and world music – in venues handpicked for their stunning acoustic qualities.
Thanks to Winter Festival in the City, Canberra is transformed into a winter wonderland with an ice rink, toboggan rides, a giant inflatable ice slide and market stalls.
Styled on Europe’s winter markets the Festival hosts a wide range of snow and ice-related activities including open air ice skating and falling powder snow, live music, interactive games and professional ice skating performances. You can also jump, slip and slide from high in the sky on the inflatable slide.
Romantic European styling plus loads of food and beverage options also make for fun “après festival” options.
The World Curry Festival, created in 2015 out of a love of food, culture and community, is a unique event that’s quite simply ‘a celebration of all things curry’. Foodies from far and wide come to experience the authentic tastes of Asia, Europe and Africa in the heart of Canberra’s City Centre.
Try tantalising street food, scrumptious market stall goodies and see a variety of live cooking demonstrations and cultural and community dance performances. Brave-hearted curry lovers can test their chilli-barometer in the World Curry Festival chilli eating competition for their chance to be named ‘Canberra’s hottest citizen’!
31 July-31 August 2017
Warm up with the Fireside Festival and discover a true winter experience by tasting the best of the Canberra and capital region with a breathtaking month-long line up of food and wine experiences.
Embrace winter and immerse yourself in our region with some warming cold climate experiences. From degustation dinners celebrating local and seasonal produce to tastings of the region’s best reds, exciting performances, musicians and events, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Experience the thrill of a horseback ride through the hills as you muster the flock for shearing, sip the smoothest hot chocolate and snuggle in for the night…. you’ll soon fall in love with winter in Canberra.
25th-27th August 2017
The Canberra Writers Festival is a place for stimulating conversation and thought provoking debate between our city’s literary, academic, business and political communities, taking place in some of the capital’s most interesting venues.
Celebrating national and international authors across both fiction and non-fiction genres, Canberra Writers Festival venues include the Australian National University, Old Parliament House, National Museum of Australia, National Portrait Gallery, National Library of Australia and the National Press Club of Australia.
Until Late August 2017
The Truffle Festival – Canberra Region marks the harvest of the prized Black Winter Truffle with the ultimate foodie festival.
During The Truffle Festival, guests can indulge in the special flavours and aromas of truffle dishes at local restaurants and cafes. Join a hunt and see for yourself how the talented dogs unearth truffles. Learn from chefs and other truffle experts at a cooking class or demonstration, or pop along to a farmers market and rustle up your own truffle dish.
17th September – 16th October
What better way to say goodbye to the cold winter months than with Australia’s premier spring festival, Floriade?
Each year in September visitors flock to Commonwealth Park on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin to celebrate the arrival of spring with a 30-day fiesta. Lose yourself in the vibrant, beautiful blooms and enjoy cooking demonstrations, gardening tips, activities for young and old, entertainment and horticultural workshops all peppered with some high-profile celebrities to add a bit of spice.
29th September – 1st October
It’s Canberra’s version of Mercedes’s Benz Fashion Week, but better. This beauty extravaganza features the very best of Canberra’s local fashion designers, glamorous models, DJs and live music, original film productions, extraordinary hair and makeup, artists, electric sound and lighting, exclusive behind-the-scenes backstage tours, VIP events, after parties and much more.
Held in the award-winning National Convention Centre, FASHFEST cultivates modern emerging fashion, design and creative talent on Australia’s capital stage for the world to see.
30th September – 3rd October
Are you passionate about social justice? Do you want to connect with likeminded people? Well Beyond Festival is for you. Australia’s only justice-focused music, arts and action festival is held over the Labour Day long weekend in Canberra. Beyond Festival inspires you to celebrate diversity, make a difference and work for justice in your local communities.
Using music and art as changing tools, Beyond Festival brings families and friends together to take part in the national conversation around compassion, dignity and respect.
27th October – 6th November
Canberra International Film Festival is a celebration of international cinema and screen arts with a decidedly Canberran touch. The event is packed with a score of acclaimed international films, special events and workshops. In addition, the festival also supports regional film making by screening a selection of local works before feature-length film.