You did not read that wrong… yes, here in Canberra, we had Christmas in March.
It sounded pretty awesome, turning one of the laneways in the heart of the city into a veritable christmas extravaganza in the middle of March! Who’d not be keen to see that?!
The YAH team described this one as:
Over the last two years, the You Are Here Festival has developed a taste for going into Civic’s underused back alleys and laneways and throwing parties in them. In 2012 we transformed a Garema Place carpark into a full-scale beach party, with all the palm trees, surf rock and wading pools you could dream of. In 2013, we’re stepping it up yet again, and taking on the biggest celebration of them all: Christmas.
Christmas Lane is a day-long free music festival and fete taking place in Tocumwal Lane, just opposite the Canberra Centre on Bunda Street. From 12 – 6:30pm there will be live bands, circus performers, dance performances, facepainting, market stalls, and of course, Santa Claus. This unseasonal celebration of the season is completely free and suitable for all ages.
We believe Christmas is too much fun to be wasted making awkard small-talk with distant cousins, or trying to wrestle a giant turkey out of the oven in 40 degree heat. We want a Christmas celebration that you can relax with your friends at, where you can sit in the shade and watch live Bollywood dance and circus acrobatics, or get your facepainted in a festive design of your choice.
Come stroll down Tocumwal Lane and take a seat in our Grotto, listen to outstanding Canberra bands play christmas-tinged sets, take part in free craft workshops and help decorate the You Are Here tree. Grab a coffee and an icecream while you get your christmas shopping done before the rush at the vintage fashion stalls, and get your photo taken for free with Santa in his grotto. If you’re feeling energetic, you can take part in the Beep Test, a recreation of the traditional high school PE exercise re-scored with an original soundtrack open to all participants. Or if you’d rather sit back and pamper yourself, you can take part in a free vintage styling workshop.
You Are Here’s Christmas Lane will be MC’d by none other than SANTA CLAUS himself, aided by his similar looking brothers and sisters, also called SANTA CLAUS. The identically dressed team of Father Christmases can lead to confusion about which Santa is real; a question which will be settled in the momentous SANTA-OFF. In this high-energy contest, the real Santa is winnowed from the pretenders through a series of trials at which only the true Santa can succeed. Fast-paced and spectacular, the Santa-Off is an exhilerating opportunity to see Father Christmas pushed to the limit.
Come for a visit or stay the whole day – everyone is welcome, and we hope you’ll find something in the lane that excites you. Take a turn off the main road into Tocumwal Lane, and into a pocket of the city you wouldn’t normally see. You might just find a little bit of Christmas magic.
FEATURING: Space Party, Pocket Fox, Nyash, Fats Homicide, Babyfreeze, Canberra Dance Theatre Troupe Olabsi, CD Teens, Mick Bailey, Sarina del Fuego and Anna Voronoff, Poncho Circus, Adam Cook and Kaya, and award-winning olive-oil popcorn by Palace Electric Cinema
Sunday 17 March, 12pm – 6:30pm, Tocumwal Lane
I attended the laneway after celebrating St. Patrick’s day at a local Irish Pub (one Killkenny! Yay!) I traisped across the city centre to the laneway in question and was less than amused at what I found waiting for me.
All I wanted for Christmas (in March), was a less tacky Christmas event.
The track record for You Are Here (YAH) this year was a good one, the events I’d been to all turning out to be great fun. Christmas Lane unfortunately wasn’t one of them.
This is not to say that the dance crews that performed while I was in attendance were bad. In fact, I rather enjoyed the high energy and well synchronized hip hop dance crew Project Beats who were dressed in all black, but still managed to ‘shine bright like a diamond’. The same too could be said for the African drumming and dancing group Troupe Olabisi. Their infectious beat on the African drums coupled with the lively and tribalistic dancing of the dancers captured the audience’s attention.
What let it down for me was the tackiness of the decorations (it looked like they’d raided a $2 shop for supplies five minutes before the event) and the slap-dash feel of the MCs. The two Santa’s were more stupid than funny and I fear may have been the reason people didn’t stick around too long.
If you were going to attend one event for YAH this year, I hope it wasn’t this one.