Enlighten Festival and French cinema: What to do this week in Canberra

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It’s here! Enlighten Festival, Canberra’s biggest celebration of autumn, has arrived—and it’s not alone.

As we farewell February (is it just me or did that seem like the shortest month ever?) and cruise into March, Canberra will come alive with lights, sound and color as blockbuster events like Enlighten Festival, Van Gogh Alive and the Alliance Française French Film Festival land for another year.

Are you ready?

Enlighten Festival 2022

Enlighten FestivalCanberra’s vibrant, jam-packed celebration of light, color and food is back for 2022. Taking place from Friday 4 to Sunday 20 March, the city will come alive with a massive program of diverse and exciting events—including some new attractions, all under the banner of @Enlighten Festival.

While the classic festivities we know and love will still be going ahead, Canberra After DarkVan Gogh Alive and Surface Festival are just some of the new attractions that will infuse the city with food, art, and culture.

Kicking off Canberra’s autumn festival of culture and creativity, this year Enlighten’s opening weekend includes a brand-new experience. Running from Friday 4 to Sunday 6 March Canberra’s new urban street art event Surface Festival will see street art, graffiti, portraits, stencils, Indigenous art, geometric and abstract art transform 30 walls and structures.

But wait—there’s more. Some of the capital’s major attractions will also present exclusive ticketed events during the festival, giving access to areas normally closed to the public, all a part of the Canberra After Dark @ Enlighten Festival program.

For film lovers, Friday 11 March will see the weekend kick off with lights! Canberra! Action! @Enlighten Festival Shining a spotlight on local film-making talent, the short film festival is located in the open-air surrounds of the Senate Rose Garden where you can enjoy the creations of up-and-coming local filmmakers with a craft beer in hand.

On Saturday 12 March turn your gaze skywards as the Canberra Balloon Spectacular @Enlighten Festival lifts off and fills the skies. A spectacle of colour, over 25 balloons from around Australia and overseas will come together to make this a morning to remember. From Saturday 5 March you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the life and works of Van Gogh thanks to a spectacular multi-sensory experience, Van Gogh Alivewhich will run for the duration of Enlighten.

Taking place on Sunday 13 March, Symphony in the Park @ Enlighten Festival will see The Canberra Symphony Orchestra take to the stage and perform with special guest, multi-award ARIA winning singer-songwriter Lior. Bring a picnic or enjoy the food and drinks available while enjoying a free autumn evening event featuring modern and classical performers.

As always, entry to Enlighten will remain free but COVID restrictions may apply.

March 4–20 | Various locations across The Parliamentary Triangle and Canberra City | enlightencanberra.com/program/illuminations

The Alliance Française French Film Festival 2022

Imagine this: soon you’ll be in France enjoying canapes and champagne.

Yes—really. And the best part is, you won’t even need your passport. Kicking off on Wednesday 2 March, the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival is back to bring Canberra French escapism in the form of fantastic movies.

With a variety of 42 carefully selected films showing at the Palace Electric, until Wednesday 6 April film fans can treat themselves to award-winning cinema that thrills, chills, and inspires.

On Thursday 10 March, the Australian premiere of Lost Illusions will open this year’s festival, transporting audiences to an extravagant foray into the gilded yet treacherous lives of France’s 19th-century aristocracy.

Full of scandal, love, and revenge, it’s the perfect film to escape Canberra…and with the addition of French canapés and wine before the film you’ll soon be saying ‘your veux plus!’

March 2–April 6 | Palace Electric Cinema | affrenchfilmfestival.org

The Night Noodle Markets

Gelato Messina’s HK French Toast.

An event that needs no explanation—the Night Noodle Markets is a mainstay of Canberra’s food calendar.

Whether you’re in the mood for saucy noodles, the latest crazy creation from Gelato Messina (hello, HK French Toast….) or a creative takes on global dishes (Hoisin Duck Pucks! Fried Chicken Waffles! Tokyo Tacos!) you’ll find them here.

Read more here.

Until March 6 | Parkes Place West Lawns | nightnoodlemarkets.com.au

Van Gogh Alive

Van Gogh Alive Singapore. Credit: Grande Experiences.

Ash Van Gogh Alive comes to Canberra make no mistake—this is no ordinary art exhibition. Forget tiptoeing through silent galleries to look at the iconic work of Vincent Van Gogh.

From Saturday 5 March you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the life and works of the Post-Impressionist painter thanks to the spectacular multi-sensory experience. Read more here.

From 5 March onwards | Park Place Lawns | vangoghalive.com.au

Fantasy Lane feat. LO’99 + Dave Winnel

Fantasy Lane is back with a huge Aussie House lineup….and it’s BYO! Two Internationally acclaimed Sydney house heavyweights will be joining a huge local lineup as we invite you to grab the esky for the 2nd walk down Fantasy Lane.



Tapped by some of the world’s most sought after labels and spun by dance music’s top tastemakers, make no mistake… LO’99 is doing Australia proud! This Sydney producer makes tracks that blur the lines between house, tech-house, bass-house and breaks; his production usually always packing a heady bassline and sometimes contain a little 2-step or garage influence.


Sydney’s own, Dave Winnel, is conquering the world with his unique take on the house genre. This DJ/Producer is going from strength to strength in 2021 with his latest single’s, ‘Freaking Out’, ‘Jungle Juice’ & ´Boomerang´ has been added to full day time rotation on Australia´s leading radio station, Triple J.

With over 65 million streams on Spotify, Dave Winnel has released tracks on internationally acclaimed labels, Heldeep, Armada Music, AXTONE, Def Jam, TMRW Music, Big Beat & More. Huge Sound and light show. Event will go ahead rain, hail or shine.

In the event of COVID related postponement, tickets will be valid for the alternate dates. Lineup subject to changes due to COVID-19 issues.

Vision Entertainment is a proud supporter of the Canberra LGBTQ+ community. We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the ACT, the Ngunnawal people. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.

Please note this is an 18+ event.

Tickets: $40 – $60

Saturday 5 March from 4–11.30 pm, Tocumwal Lane, Civic | events.humanitix.com/fantasy-lane-feat-lo-99-dave-winnel | vision-ent.net

Ruthless! The Musical

A hysterical comedy that puts the show in showbiz, much-loved musical Ruthless! will come to The Q for a three-week run—plenty of time to squeeze in a show around your other March commitments.

Expect song, dance, tantrums (just on stage, hopefully) and laughs.

February 24–March 12 | The Q, Queanbeyan Performing Arts Center | 6285 6290 | theq.net.au/whats-on/subscriptions/ruthless

Australian Dance Parties LESS

LESS. Credit: Lorna Sim.

Australian Dance Party is celebrating Dairy Road’s LESS Pavilion with a new performance. Taking place across various dates from March 4–12, LESSON will be “a performance that has been created from the place, it is an incredible and sort of odd sculpture that reminds us of the power of our imagination and our connection with the built and natural environment.”

We can’t wait to see what the creative minds behind Canberra’s own dance company Australian Dance Party have come up with this time.

March 4–12 | LESS Pavilion, Dairy Road, Fyshwick | events.humanitix.com/less

SiTara’s Story Fundraising Gala Dinner

An evening dedicated to gender equality and mental health awareness at the National Museum of Australia, Canberra. Proceeds will benefit the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities in Canberra and the underprivileged communities in Bangladesh.

The gala night will offer great opportunities to meet amazing human beings and hear their stories.

Tickets include

  • 3 course dinner
  • drinks
  • Multicultural artwork exhibition/auction
  • In conversation with Masterchef contestant Rashedul Hasan
  • Raffle Prizes and Trivia
  • Live entertainment throughout the evening

Adrienne Francis from ABC Canberra will be the Master of the Ceremony.

Individual/corporate/group tables can be bought.

Sunday 6 March from 6.30 pm « National Museum of Australia | Tickets via trybooking.com/BXEXD | sitarasstory.com

VOXNEON at The Basement

After playing a string of sold-out gigs in Sydney, Princess Diana’s favorite cover band VOXNEON are excited to bring their unique 80’s retro show to Canberra for the first time in March 2022.

With vintage synthesizers, immersive lighting and synchronized video VOXNEON authentically recreate the unique sounds of early 80’s electronic music pioneers like Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, New Order, Simple Minds, Depeche Mode, Eurythmics, Human League, Visage, Ultravox, Kraftwerk, Gary Numan and many many more.

The band will be supported by Canberra’s own Isaac Dugdale spinning vinyl until the early hours so grab yourself an Island Cooler and come join VOXNEON under the mirror ball on March 5th at The Basement.

Saturday 5 March | The Basement, Belconnen | facebook

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