Although my friend told me the forecast was for conditions which would be “stinking hot”, I work a jacket just in case. A warm afternoon in Canberra can often turn into a cold night, and I had visions of walking home in the freezing cold after attending the Australia Day Concert.
This trip was part-work, part farewell for my friend Patrick who is soon leaving to spend three years overseas. “Thanks for putting on such a great farewell party”, he joked as we stood and watched the annual Australia Day Concert on the lawns of Parliament House.
It was the first time I’ve attended and I enjoyed it very much. The telecast of the Australian Of The Year Awards is a bit odd, as it’s recorded at 6pm for later replay. And because it’s on commercial television, they include commercial breaks in the filming which in some respects spoils a bit of the momentum of the presentation of the amazing stories, but which does, on a positive note, give you a moment here and there for a break. But the concert itself was the real surprise for me.
The concert featured a broad range of popular Australian music, with a real emphasis this year on Indigenous performers which is a good thing, especially since they’re all so talented. Jessica Mauboy is a star, and Stan Walker is a star in the making (and a hottie). There was also a young dance group that everyone seemed to know (except me) who were fantastic.
As I walked back to the hotel it was still warm. The 20-minute or so walk back to my hotel was reasonably pleasant, though I’d ditched my jacket by then.
Coming through town the queues into bars were lengthy, and full of young people out for a great night on the town. So much for Canberra’s unfounded reputation as being a rather stiff-necked place for middle-aged public servant families. Put simply: tonight (at least) Canberra rocked.