A series of free public activations, including a surreal fire installation and a Dreamtime dance party, is coming to Perth from 4 to 9 October this year. The new festival, EverNow, is inspired by the land of the local Noongar people, whose songs and culture have hummed throughout Australia’s South-West for over 45,000 years. The festival signals the return of the Noongar season, Kambarang, when the days and the wildflowers bloom and Western Australians reach out to share their boodjar (Country) to the world. Here’s what you need to see.
See Government House Gardens in a stunning new light
Wonder at sculptures crafted from thousands of giant candles, listen to live music inspired by the crackling flames and watch shadows flicker on grand turrets as you wander through the Fire Gardens. The elemental, steampunk-inspired installation runs from 5 to 8 October in the beautiful Government House Gardens, a 10-minute stroll from Perth train station. It’s the creation of French collective Compagnie Carabosse, who have set aglow iconic sites from Stonehenge to Kremlin Square. This time, they’ve consulted with local Noongar custodian Mitchella “Waljin” Hutchins to weave a unique sense of place into their acclaimed production. Bookings via evernow.com.au are a must – the event is free but has designated sessions to manage the flow of people.
Feel Country with all your senses in Kings Park
Immerse yourself in larger-than-life stories of Kambarang as most iconic sections of the whopping 400-hectare King’s Park, in the city’s centre, transforms into a magical installation of film, light, sound and stories from 6 to 9 October. A revised edition of the incredibly popular event Boorna Waanginy: The Trees Speak sees new stories of family, fire, and connection to Country dance on the towering gums of Kings Park, thanks to next-generation lighting and projection technology. If previous years are anything to go by, it’ll be teeming: your best bet is to catch a shuttle bus or walk along Fraser Avenue, taking in the dusky city skyline. From there, you’ll wander through a 1.2-kilometre trail to the heart of the Western Australian Botanic Gardens, learning from elders about Creation stories and the state’s rare flora and fauna. Surrounded by nature, it's hard to be immune to the message of the preciousness of biodiversity – or the rallying call to protect our lands.
Celebrate Noongar language in a technicolour dance party
Enter a futuristic Noongar dreamscape, with song and dance unfolding from all angles on a ceremonial revolving stage, encircled by sand and lit by technicolour. The Supreme Court Gardens – a short walk from Elizabeth Quay in Perth’s CBD – is reimagined by night from 4 to 8 October as Song Circle, a multi-sensory celebration of Noongar song and language from the Boomerang & Spear team. While it’s a guaranteed good time, with energetic choreography and pulsating percussive music, its songs and stories are rooted in respected research from composer Dr Clint Bracknell. Reflecting on the beauty of the animals and the earth from Boorloo/Perth, the Great Southern and Esperance, there’s a cyclical element to the performance – just like Noongar culture. Gather around the circular stage to feel connected to the land and community on a visceral level. And don't miss the totemic woven animal sculptures from Sharyn Egan, suspended from the mature trees surrounding you.