Enlighten Festival is bending all the rules. No longer are buildings merely functional – they are now canvases for illuminated artworks. No longer is art merely to be looked at and not touched – the Parliamentary Zone is full of interactive artworks to excite your imagination. No longer is music just background sound from a Spotify playlist – Enlighten Festival has curated a line-up of Canberra’s favourite musicians.
Embrace this ground-breaking festival with our insider’s guide to making your night memorable.
At the heart of Enlighten Festival are the Enlighten Illuminations, which transform many of the nation’s most iconic buildings into a kaleidoscope of colour with architectural projections. The crowd favourite this year is the animated scene by contemporary Australian artist Tony Albert on the façade of the National Gallery of Australia. Tony Albert has used kitsch objects to create a piece which talks to the visibility of Aboriginal people and their voices. Powerful and compelling, this illumination is truly moving – both literally and figuratively.
Step off the beaten path and get lost amongst the many interactive art installations that are set aglow against the night sky. Insta-worthy artworks are dotted around the Parliamentary Zone, but our top picks can all be found near the Reflection Pool in front of Old Parliament House. Pull your best Katie Perry pose and snap a selfie in front of the Neon Angel Wings she made famous on Instagram. Try your hand at creating melodies and light shows with Light Chimes and spark your creative spirit with Morphology as you make customised glowing sculptures.
Keen adventurers will have worked up a thirst seeing everything that is on offer. Continue your adventure down Reconciliation Place and you will stumble across BentSpoke’s Beer Garden. Grab a cold one from this local brewery, who have a passion for pushing the boundaries of their craft and always take the more adventurous route, knowing all too well that you may bend a few spokes along the way.
Take a moment to sit back and relax in the beer garden, as the sounds of live music wash over you from the Enlighten Illuminations Main Stage. Enjoy electronic soul from Ashley Feraude, energetic New Orleans style beats from The Po Boys and much more. The line-up is so mesmerising that you’ll have plenty of time to try each of the five award-winning brews that ranked in GABS top 100 Aussie Craft Beers of 2018. Chow down on mouth-watering street eats from Grease Monkey, Clayridge Honey and Jacko’s Pizza – that’s dinner and dessert sorted.
The Enlighten Illuminations sparked to life on Friday 1 March and will run until Monday 11 March, providing the perfect backdrop for your Canberra Day celebrations. Programming will start at 6pm, with the architectural projections lighting up 8pm-11pm each evening.