The Playmaker
Let's play
  • It's Friday
    What day is it?
  • Now
    What time is it?
  • Anywhere in Brisbane
    Where are you?
  • What do you feel like?
    What do you feel like?
  • And what else?
    And what else?

Illuminate Adelaide Is Back for 2023 with Art and Light Installations, Yothu Yindi and Oneohtrix Point Never

Make plans to visit the South Australian capital — the City of Churches' winter arts, music and light festival has just dropped a dazzling lineup.
By Sarah Ward
April 19, 2023
By Sarah Ward
April 19, 2023

Fresh from scoring plenty of attention in Australia's sporting circles after hosting the AFL's first-ever Gather Round, Adelaide is giving locals and visitors alike another reason to enjoy the City of Churches. Art, music and culture lovers, get ready for the South Australian dream that is Illuminate Adelaide, which debuted in 2021, then backed up its dazzling first year in 2022 — and has just dropped an impressive 2023 lineup, too.

Illuminate's third month-long event will run from Wednesday, June 28–Sunday, July 30, putting it in prime winter festival season following Vivid Sydney, RISING Melbourne and Dark Mofo in Tasmania. Spending the country's colder months travelling between all four fests sounds positively heavenly; however, if you can only hit up one, SA's addition to the fold makes a strong case.

Topping the music bill are Yothu Yindi, Oneohtrix Point Never and Tourist, giving Illuminate both Australian icons and electronic must-sees from overseas. With the former, the iconic Indigenous rock band play for one night only to celebrate NAIDOC Week. As for the latter, the Brooklyn-based Oneohtrix Point Never (who is responsible for the intoxicating scores to films Good Time and Uncut Gems) and English electronic musician and producer Tourist (aka William Phillip) will also bring their respective tunes to the Hindley Street Music Hall during the fest.

After making its Aussie debut at last year's Illuminate, concert series KLASSIK underground will return, once again pairing classical music with live visuals. So too will experimental and electronic music celebration Unsound Adelaide. And, the roster of tunes also spans Murrawarri and Ngemba talent DOBBY, Space Afrika's dub-techno sounds, Sofie Birch and Antonina Nowacka teaming up, rapper bbymutha and Guatemalan experimental cellist Mabe Fratti.

Jack Fenby

That's what festival attendees will be listening to. The arts and light part of the program is just as impressive — and literally vibrant. UK creatives Architects of Air will hit Illuminate with Arborialis luminarium, which will take over East End in Rymill Park / Murlawirrapurka with 1000 square metres of inflatable mazes. Even better: running for three weeks, it's basically a labyrinth of colour and light, and you can head along by both day and by night.

Mirror Mirror is another standout, harking from multimedia studio Moment Factory and coming to Adelaide fresh from premiering in Montreal. An interactive and immersive experience that'll take over its own purpose-built structure on Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga, it gets attendees wandering their way through unique art installations — and yes, a hall of mirrors is included. The same outfit is also behind Resonate, which takes over from 2021 and 2022's Light Cycle in lighting up a 1.7-kilometre trail nightly through the Adelaide Botanic Gardens.

John Owens

Keeping with the 2023 festival's radiant side, Illuminate will welcome back some of its past big luminous drawcards for a third time, because they're just that impressive and popular. That includes Light Creatures at the Adelaide Zoo, which means even more glowing animal installations. This year, it'll feature returning panda, skink, underwater and tiger favourites, plus a golden falcon, crabs and a projection that travels through time.

Also worth looking out for (not at you can miss it) is the City Lights program, which makes a comeback to again feature more 40 free site-specific works over 17 days. A sculptural floral field, CoolShit getting into stare mode with large-scale art installation The Eyes, a touch-sensitive light and sound piece, an exhibition of works by the multi-talented Poh Ling Yeow, Amanda Parer's towering and inflatable Man: they're all included. So too is Augmented Revolution, which dives into augmented reality featuring works by First Nations artists.

Elsewhere, you can make a date with pop-up bar and eatery hub Base Camp in its third year; the also-returning New Light, which commissions new screen works from Aboriginal talents; Make|Shift @ The Mill, aka projection art by six SA multidisciplinary artists; and the world premiere of Restless Dance Theatre's new Shifting Perspectives.

Looking for more things to do around South Australia at the time? Concrete Playground Trips has a four-day wellness escape in the Adelaide Hills available to book in July as well.

Moment Factory

Illuminate Adelaide 2023 runs from Wednesday, June 28–Sunday, July 30. Check out the festival's website for the full program and to grab tickets.

Top images: Sam Wong, Amigo and Amigo, Frankie the Creative, Moment Factory and Rami Saarikorpi.


Feeling inspired to book a getaway? You can now book your next dream holiday through Concrete Playground Trips with deals on flights, stays and experiences at destinations all around the world.

Published on April 19, 2023 by Sarah Ward
  •   shares
Tap and select Add to Home Screen to access Concrete Playground easily next time. x
Counter Pixel