Enlighten is a 10 night festival held in Canberra every year, where floor-to-ceiling artistic illuminations are projected onto the outside of Canberra's iconic landmarks. In 2017, Electric Canvas and other selected artists will present designs across 6 of Canberra's buildings - Parliament House, Old Parliament House, The National Library of Australia, Questacon, The National Portrait Gallery and The National Gallery of Australia. In 2016, over 300,000 people came to experience the Enlighten event, making it one of the biggest events on the Canberra calendar.
If this isn't enough, there are also events that run through the whole Enlighten festival, including the Enlighten Night Noodle Markets, Lights! Camera! Action! film festival, dance parties, music concerts and spectacular artistic performances in public spaces. Enlighten is ethereal, intriguing and most of all entertaining. The following are 5 events not to be missed at Enlighten 2017 - however there are also a dozen more to explore. Each and every one are sure to attract the crowds and lift the roof on Canberra's nightlife. Clear the calendar between the 3rd and 12th of March - there won't be any time to do anything else! See here for the full Enlighten program.
Enlighten takes over Parliament House. Source: Enlighten Facebook
1/ The Royal Australian Mint will be having a dance party in their high security zone - yes, you heard right! At the door, revellers will receive a hi-vis yellow jacket and a glow stick as they walk into the dark, "behind the scenes" secure zone. This area will be lit up in fluoro lights for one night only. DJ Robot Citizen and Black Temple, as well as the Jazida's Fabulous Fan Veil Dancers, will create an underground dark-electronic music scene in Canberra's own purely industrial setting, hence the name - Industrial Illumination. This is sure to be a popular event on the 3rd of March - when else can you say you went to a dance party at the Mint? See here for the details, and here to book through Ticketek. Ticket price: Adults $40, concession $30.This is an adults only event, with a cash bar.
Dance party fun at Industrial Illumination. Source: Enlighten website
2/ Parliament House will be setting up a rooftop bar on its iconic grassy roof for 200 people to enjoy Sunset On The Roof. Witness the best views in Canberra whilst enjoying sunset drinks, music and light food as the sun goes down and the projections light up. This is the only opportunity all year to enjoy this unusual and special event, where you can sit back and enjoy an evening in such an iconic location. This evening will be held on the 3rd and 11th March. See here for all the details and book through Ticketek here. Ticket price: $80 - adults only.
Sunset on the Roof at Parliament House. Source: Enlighten website
3/ Pedaleando Hacia El Cielo are an outdoor performance group who perform awe-inspiring aerial performances, to the delight of adults and children alike. Their free performance is a combination of music, dance and film, as the performers represent angels and musicians who balance between heaven and earth. Expect the unexpected and then be amazed by the spectacular finale. You can find them on the evening of 11th March in the Parliamentary Triangle. See here for details.
Pedaleando Hacia El Cielo. Source: Enlighten website
4/ The National Zoo and Aquarium will be holding Twilight Safari Animal Tours, where visitors get the chance to see what happens at the zoo after the gates close. Meet a variety of native and exotic creatures as well as some of the animal kingdom's biggest up close. Rhinos, lions, tigers - they are all there to view on the night. This one hour guided tour will be held on the 3rd and 10th of March. See here for more details and book through Ticketek here. Ticket price:$30. Concession $25.
Enjoy a Twilight Safari at the National Zoo and Aquarium. Source: Enlighten website
5/ The Night Noodle Markets is one of the most highly anticipated events on the whole Canberra calendar. For 10 nights between 3rd - 12th of March, Reconciliation Place (behind Questacon) will be turned into a night market with local and interstate restaurants and street food connoisseurs all coming together to make the best food in town. In previous years these markets have attracted thousands each night, as the day turns to dusk over the city and the illuminations light around the markets. Also on the evenings there will be roving performers which will mesmerise and delight all ages. See here for details.
Enlighten is such a popular event each year, that ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr has made the statement that it will "...easily surpass Floriade as Canberra's most significant cultural event, our most significant tourism event." (WIN news, 31st January, 2017). This is a big call to make, considering the enduring success of Floriade, however it is easy to see how Enlighten will be another major event for Canberra tourism. With night markets, whimsical artistic performances, top music acts and entertainment each night, it is 10 nights of pure family fun and enjoyment for all ages. Tour the projections, walk around the buildings and be surprised and delighted with something new each night...who knows who will walk by when you least expect it!
Cloudmen. Roving the Parliamentray Triangle on the evenings of 10th and 11th March. Source: Enlighten website