Big City Lights Is the New Free Festival of Light and Design Coming to the Gold Coast This Winter

For four July nights, the Gold Coast CBD will be lit up with dazzling displays and installations — spanning rooftops, building facades, alleyways, car parks and shopfronts.
Sarah Ward
Published on June 24, 2022

If you're a southeast Queenslander that's fond of twinkling lights, you might get struck by a big case of envy each winter. That's when Vivid dazzles Sydney, Melbourne gets lit up by its Rising festival, Dark Mofo brings the fire to Tasmania and Adelaide's Illuminate gets luminous. But basking in a glow doesn't have to mean heading out of state, all thanks to the new Big City Lights fest. Debuting this July, it'll shine a light on the Gold Coast for four radiant evenings.

When it comes to peering at all things twinkling, night is the time to do it — and Big City Lights has plenty that'll sparkle. Stemming from Placemakers* Gold Coast, who also look after annual arts festival BLEACH*, it's taking over the Goldie's CBD in Southport from Wednesday, July 7–Saturday, July 10. Expect installations, audio-visual experiences, huge digital works, 3D-mapping and projections spanning rooftops, building facades, alleyways, car parks and shopfronts.

Southport will boast five separate art zones: in Nerang Street, Scarborough Street, Young Street, Regent Lane and Davison Lane. They'll get glowing thanks to local, Australian and international artists, with Michaela Gleave, Buchan Group, Jacob Leary, IKONIX, Claudio Kirac, Kirsten Baade and Peter Thiedeke all set to feature.

Fear Eats the Soul, Michaela Gleave. Image: Remi Chauvin.

That includes Gleave's Fear Eats the Soul, a giant sign on a five-minute electrical glitch loop, which'll appear in Nerang Street; Leary's Excesssssscape in Davison Lane's Hutong Garden, which blends sculpture, video and painting; and Buchan Group's Dancing Particles, also in Regent Lane, which'll use infrared sensors to scan the audience and project them onto buildings

Among the other highlights, there's IKONIX's Quantum, also in Nerang Street, which'll turn The Scarborough Centre into a moving canvas — and Buchan's Bug Hunt, a game of hide and seek using spotlights in Southport Central in the Young Street. A wall of neon, Kirsten Baade's Big City Eyes features radiant peepers that even blink and wink, while IKONIX's Iridescence is a tunnel of of light and colour.

Bug Hunt, Buchan.

Live tunes from The Riot, Genie Boy and more are also on the bill, and bars and eateries such as Mr P.P.'s Deli & Rooftop, Vinnie's Dive Bar and Last Night on Earth are also getting in on the action.

And yes, if you're a Brisbanite, this is just your latest excuse for a trip south this winter — alongside a rooftop alpine lodge surrounded by snow, a new hotel with a swim-up pool bar and Miami's street art fest.

Big City Lights, Kirsten Baade.

Big City lights runs from Wednesday, July 7–Saturday, July 10 in Southport. For more information, head to the festival's website.

Top image: Iridescence, Ikonix.

Published on June 24, 2022 by Sarah Ward
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