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Illuminate Adelaide Is the Latest Huge New Winter Arts Festival Making Its Debut This Year

The South Australian event will deliver 17 jam-packed days of music, art, light projections and performance, including everything from The Avalanches to Van Gogh.
By Libby Curran
April 08, 2021
By Libby Curran
April 08, 2021

This year, Australia's arts calendar is steadily making up for lost time, compensating for all of 2020's missed gigs, exhibitions and experiences with a slew of brand new large-scale festivals and events. And, plenty of them are arriving this winter — including Rising, Melbourne's latest addition; Sydney Solstice, which will take over Vivid's usual June slot this year; and Illuminate Adelaide, which has just unveiled its first program reveal.

Kicking off on Friday, July 16 and delivering 17 jam-packed days of music, art and light, Illuminate Adelaide kicks promises to fire up all of the South Australian city's senses. On the bill: a diverse lineup of installations, collaborations, world-premiere works and tech-driven immersive experiences, which should help fill locals' calendars and also tempt folks across the rest of Australia to SA for a mid-year getaway. In total, there'll be more than 150 installations, performances and events, including 41 world premieres.

Helping to launch the festival's inaugural Luminary Artists in Residence program, legendary electronic act The Avalanches will take part in five events throughout Illuminate Adelaide. They'll perform their debut album Since I Left You live with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, present an art exhibition exploring the works that influenced their most recent album We Will Always Love You and descend on the outdoor music stage for a massive DJ set to help soundtrack the closing block party. In between all of that, Robbie Chater and Tony Di Blasi will also chat about their career, and their residency will include Michaela Gleave and Fausto Brusamolino's sky-high Messages of Hope, Messages of Love as well.

Innovative light shows and illuminated works feature heavily throughout the program, starting with Light Cycles — an Aussie debut from Canada's Moment Factory that's set to transform the Adelaide Botanic Gardens with two kilometres of light projections, lasers, sound and special effects across each night of the festival. Adelaide Zoo will come alive after dark with a series of enchanting interactive animal installations for Light Creatures, while Van Gogh Alive, a multi-sensory digital art immersion from the minds behind The Lume, will let you experience the works of Van Gogh like never before. And City Lights will see a range of acclaimed artists transform the CBD into an after-dark art trail, featuring over 40 free site-specific works from kaleidoscopic projections to a giant inflatable deconstructed rainbow in Rundle Mall.

Light Creatures, A Blanck Canvas

The Adelaide Film Festival has jumped on board, collaborating on two world premiere VR works to be screened in a specially designed dome inside Queen's Theatre. And Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute is set to team up with Music SA for Kinara — a free celebration of art and culture led by a cast of groundbreaking First Nations artists. You'll also catch freshly commissioned public artworks by the likes of South Australia's own Jason Sims, dig into unique music experiences from acts such as Paul Grabowsky AO and head to the reimagined Adelaide Festival of Ideas, too.

And, on the final weekend, Illuminate Adelaide wraps up with a bang, dishing up a high-energy block party dubbed MAAD (Music & Art After Dark). Galleries and venues across the West End will come alive with gigs from a broad-ranging lineup of emerging and well-known talent, along with more exhibitions, short film screenings and light installations.

The inaugural Illuminate Adelaide runs from July 16–August 1. Check out the festival's website for the full program and to grab tickets.

Images: North Forest Lights at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Moment Factory; Airship Orchestra, ENESS.

Published on April 08, 2021 by Libby Curran
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