Illuminate Adelaide: New festival of light to rival Vivid, White Night

 A new arts festival set to rival Sydney's Vivid, Hobart's Mona Foma and Melbourne's White Night is coming to Adelaide in July.

Starting July 16 and continuing for two weeks, Illuminate  will  include some of the best immersive experiences from around the world, working with cultural institutions, innovation hubs, civic spaces and gardens, Illuminate will present a huge program of ticketed and free lighting installations, projections, music and art.

"The city will look and feel very different and there will something for everyone as people come into the city to experience it," its creators say.

Highlights include "van Gogh Alive", which uses giant screens and 3000 images to reflect his works of art inside a pavilion to a soundtrack of classical music. In Rundle Mall, pedestrians will walk under a series of giant, inflatable, colour-shifting archways called "Sky Castle". Streets, laneways and empty spaces will be transformed with projections and experiences along a "light trail". Even the Adelaide Zoo is getting involved, opening after dark with a series of large scale lanterns inspired by zoo residents such as its pandas rolling around the lawns. There will also be a "winter market" serving food and beverages.

Van Gogh Alive

Van Gogh Alive Photo: Illuminate

Co-founders and creative directors of the festival, Lee Cumberlidge and Rachael Azzopardi, are particularly excited about "Light Cycles", the "forest of light" taking over the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, a creation of Montreal-based multimedia studio Moment Factory. The studio has created stage shows for a range of performers from Madonna to Billie Eilish.

"This is one not to miss as we bring them to Australia for the first time and they transform the gardens with thousands of lights, projections, lasers and music," they say.

'Light Cycles' in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens.

"Light Cycles" in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. Photo: Illuminate

Illuminate's headlining act, The Avalanches, will team up with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra at the Entertainment Centre. "Hosting The Avalanches as our inaugural artists is such a honour – and their live performances together with the talk, exhibition and special installation on a building in the CBD are all must see events in the program," Cumberlidge says.


Having travelled and lived around Australia and the world, working on major arts festivals and events, Cumberlidge and Azzopardi have returned to Adelaide full-time and will be curating the festival annually.

The pair wanted to showcase the work being done across the creative industries in South Australia, and since Adelaide is already known for its summer festivals, they thought there was no better time to do this than in winter.

'Sky Castle' - rainbows of light in Rundle Mall.

"Sky Castle" - rainbows of light in Rundle Mall. Photo: Illuminate

"Winter in Adelaide is traditionally a quieter time which makes it perfect for us to offer something new and unique for people to embrace the cold and see the city transformed.

"It has always been a place where you can make things happen. I knew after years of living in Edinburgh, Melbourne and Brisbane, and working in Tasmania, that Adelaide was the place that we could create new things – and Illuminate Adelaide is a great example." Cumberlidge says.

Illuminate will run from Friday July 16 to Sunday August 1, see