National Multicultural Festival
The National Multicultural Festival is a free community festival held annually each February in Canberra.
National Multicultural Festival
Attendance260,000 (2013 estimated)[1][2]
Nigerian attendants at the 2012 National Multicultural Festival in Canberra.
The first festival celebrating cultural diversity was held in 1981 as a one-day event on Australia Day hosted by the ACT Ethnic Communities Council.
In 1996 the National Multicultural Festival in Canberra officially came into being. It began as a nod to the Capital's expanding cityscape, populated by young families with links across the globe, and blossomed throughout the 1990s and early 2000s to an event reflecting the more than 170 unique nationalities that comprise our population. The festival has become one of the most successful multicultural festivals in Australia. The festival is held over three days during February each year.
The Festival is supported by the ACT Government and is administered by the Community Participation Group, Multicultural Affairs, a division of the ACT Government Community Services Directorate.
In 1981, the ACT Ethnic Communities Council held the first festival celebrating cultural diversity, a one-day event in Civic to celebrate Australia Day.[3][4][5] By 1988, the festival had grown to host about 40 international food stalls, music and dancing.[6] That year it was held in the Civic end of Ainslie Avenue, and along London Circuit in front of Civic Square, and also included a parade led by Chinese lion dancers.[7]
In 1997, the newly established ACT Office of Multicultural Affairs staged the first week-long Festival as a means of celebrating Canberra and Australia's cultural diversity.[citation needed] In 2010, the Festival became a three-day event and remains that duration.[8]
In 2012, the festival hosted a record 350 stalls.[9] The 2012 festival was also the first to allow cultural kava use, as a trial.[10] The ACT Government announced in 2013 that the kava trial had been a success and there would be a permanent lifting of the ban on the drink at the National Multicultural Festival.[11]
The Out In Canberra People's Choice Awards in 2013 named the National Multicultural Festival Favourite Attraction and Event.[12]
Weather at the festival is usually hot and dry,[13] with organisers handing out 18,000 bottles of water to patrons at the 2014 festival.[14]
The festival has grown over time to become one of the most successful multicultural festivals in Australia.[15] The 2014 event reportedly injected $5 million into the ACT economy and contributed to an additional 10,000 overnight stays in Canberra by interstate and international visitors.[16]
COVID-19 impact
In November 2020, the 2021 Festival was postponed from its usual February dates to "... by late 2021" due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia.[17] In early 2021 the Festival for that year was cancelled entirely. It is planned to be held next on 18–20 February 2022, it's 25th anniversary.[18]
Fringe Festival
Between 2004 and 2009, the Fringe Festival was a free event forming part of the Multicultural Festival.[19] In 2009, then Minister for Multicultural Affairs John Hargreaves announced that the Multicultural Festival would be reduced to a three-day event and the Fringe Festival moved to become a part of the National Folk Festival.[8]
The 2013 National Multicultural Festival was the first to take place in conjunction with a fringe festival since 2009.[20][21] The 2013 Fringe ran for just one night; its budget was allocated from ACT Government arts funding on a competitive basis.[19]
In 2014 the Fringe Festival continued; that year, the Fringe Festival was directed by Jorian Gardner, who the ACT Arts and Multicultural Affairs Minister Joy Burch selected for the position without a competitive selection process.[19] Jorian Gardner hosted, among other performances, a Hitler-themed burlesque strip-tease featuring a female dancer dressed as Hitler with gold wings performing to the song Gangnam Style.[22][23] The performance attracted significant controversy, with ACT Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson calling for Arts and Multicultural Minister Joy Burch to resign or be sacked for hiring the man who oversaw the performance,[24] and opposition multicultural affairs spokesperson Giulia Jones labeling the performance offensive and racist.[22]
  1. ^ Canberra Multicultural Community Forum Incorporated 2013, p. 2.
  2. ^ "An eclectic mix: National Multicultural Festival 2014". Australian Broadcasting Commission. 30 January 2014. Archived from the original on 9 August 2014.
  3. ^ Official souvenir programme : Canberra '81 / Australian International Multicultural Dance Festival, Canberra, ACT, 1981
  4. ^ Rebikoff, Vic (28 January 1982). "Multicultural festival". The Canberra Times. p. 15.
  5. ^ "Multicultural festival last of kind". The Canberra Times. 13 January 1987. p. 6.
  6. ^ "Multicultural festivities". The Canberra Times. 21 January 1988. p. 8.
  7. ^ "Civic the venue for multicultural festival". The Canberra Times. 23 January 1988. p. 3.
  8. ^ a b "Festival shake-up angers fringe folk". 20 August 2009. Archived from the original on 9 August 2014.
  9. ^ McLintock, Penny (10 February 2012). "Multicultural festival kicks off in Canberra". Australian Broadcasting Commission. Archived from the original on 4 April 2013.
  10. ^ "Govt relaxes ban on kava at festival", The Canberra Times, Fairfax Media, 9 February 2012, archived from the original on 2 May 2012
  11. ^ Knaus, Christopher (6 February 2013). "Kava to be allowed at all multicultural festivals". The Canberra Times. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 13 March 2013.
  12. ^ Burch, Joy (10 December 2013). "National Multicultural Festival—the People's Favourite!" (Press release). Archived from the original on 9 August 2014.
  13. ^ Health Protection Service (November 2013), Avoiding Heat-Related Stress—Information for Events (PDF), ACT Government, archived from the original (PDF) on 29 January 2014
  14. ^ Westcott, Ben (7 February 2014). "Multicultural Festival the hottest event in town, literally". The Canberra Times. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 9 August 2014.
  15. ^ Canberra Liberals (25 September 2008), Celebrating Multicultural Diversity (PDF), archived from the original (PDF) on 18 February 2011
  16. ^ Burch, Joy (19 June 2014). "Multicultural Festival injects $5 million into ACT economy" (Press release). Archived from the original on 9 August 2014.
  17. ^ Kanapathippillai, Julia (27 November 2020). "National Multicultural Festival postponed due to COVID-19". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  18. ^ Bushnell, Ian (17 February 2021). "National Multicultural Festival cancelled for this year but will return in 2022". The RiotACT. Region Group Pty Ltd. Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  19. ^ a b c Pryor, Sally (28 June 2013). "Fringe Festival rides again, with old hand Jorian holding the reins". The Canberra Times. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 9 August 2014.
  20. ^ Burch, Joy (11 September 2013). "Fringe benefits return to Multicultural Festival in 2013" (Press release). Archived from the original on 13 May 2013.
  21. ^ Legislative Assembly for the ACT 28 November 2012 (PDF), November 2012, archived from the original (PDF) on 3 February 2014
  22. ^ a b Hannaford, Scott (9 February 2014). "Nazi strip show outrage". The Canberra Times. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 9 August 2014.
  23. ^ Westcott, Ben (10 February 2014). "Adolf Hitler cabaret act defended by Fringe Festival creative director Jorian Gardner". The Canberra Times. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 16 April 2014.
  24. ^ Cox, Lisa; McIlroy, Tom (11 February 2014), "Joy Burch should be sacked over Nazi skit, says Jeremy Hanson", The Canberra Times, Fairfax Media, archived from the original on 9 August 2014
References and further reading
Last edited on 11 April 2021, at 12:36
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