07 Aug 2023

Illuminate Adelaide shines bright in its third record-breaking year

Winter in Adelaide has been anything but sleepy, with Australia’s most innovative winter event Illuminate Adelaide celebrating another record-breaking season.

Boasting more than 1.3 million attendances across the curated program of free and ticketed events, Illuminate Adelaide ended its city-wide program yesterday. 144 artists from 13 countries were represented, showcasing the very best in global cutting-edge art, light, music, and technology in over 2080 performances and sessions. 

Having cemented itself as a favourite on Australia’s major event calendar in just three years, Illuminate Adelaide was embraced by local, national, and international audiences with over 200,000 tickets sold across the month-long dazzling program.

People came in their droves to see the highly anticipated Adelaide exclusive exhibition Mirror Mirror by world renowned Canadian multimedia studio Moment Factory. Using cutting edge technology, the unique work took audiences on a journey that explored the imagination via a series of vivid interactive installations. 

The runaway hit of Illuminate Adelaide’s 2023 program was Resonate in Adelaide Botanic Garden, also from Moment Factory. With the season extended to keep up with audience demand, this bespoke designed trail featured six newly created installations presented along the new 1.7km path, which showcased the garden’s lush natural environment in an unexpected way. Starting at the North Terrace entry gates, audiences tuned into the natural world as they navigated the awe-inspiring installations, projections, and soundscapes.

The family-friendly Light Creatures once again invited audiences back to Adelaide Zoo after dark, with new lanterns, projections, and installations. 

Another program highlight was Arborialis by Architects of Air, a mesmerising installation of experiential inflatable mazes that created a labyrinth of colour in the East End parklands.

Much loved chef and TV presenter, Poh Ling Yeow celebrated her return to art with Illuminate Adelaide. Her signature subject, The Girl was a highlight of City Lights with a magical series of projections on Rundle Street and an exhibition at Light Adelaide.

Illuminate Adelaide introduced a new food and beverage zone in the heart of the East End, Base Camp. With fire pits and a spacious layout with plentiful seating, the site buzzed throughout the month with attendees stopping off to refuel or have a pre or post drink and bite.

Illuminate Adelaide Co- Founders and Creative Directors Rachael Azzopardi and Lee Cumberlidge said once again, the number of people who descended on the city for Illuminate Adelaide has been incredible.

“Seeing so many locals and interstate guests converge on our city is such a thrill," Ms Azzopardi and Mr Cumberlidge said.

“Working with the State Government through the South Australian Tourism Commission to bring this event to life for its third year is such a privilege and we are immensely proud to have changed winter in Adelaide with our program.

“We are delighted to work with so many amazing cultural institutions, arts organisations, and artists, as well as the hundreds of businesses in the CBD. A truly successful collaboration.”

Illuminate Adelaide’s music program was also a huge success. Some of the world’s most reputable and popular DJs and musicians descended on Adelaide, showcasing classical, experimental and electronic genres.

Yolngu supergroup Yothu Yindi kicked off music proceedings at Hindley Street Music Hall, performing with original band members joined by fresh talent to inject new fire into classic songs.

The Unsound Adelaide program was an international celebration of cutting edge experimental and electronic music over two nights, and Live at the Lab showcased four weekends of curated local and international performance.

International elite electronic artists, Tourist and Oneontrix Point Never played across two weekends to venues of loyal and avid experimental and electronic music fans. In addition, multi-instrumentalist and rapper Dobby dazzled fans at Nexus Arts with his signature ‘drapping’ style.

International series, KLASSIK underground returned, once again transforming the Dom Polski Centre into an immersive concert experience for two breath-taking evenings. In a world premiere event, Illuminate Adelaide also proudly commissioned Shifting Perspectives, the latest work from celebrated Australian dance troupe Restless Dance Theatre in a mesmerising and immersive study of light and darkness, shape and movement, perception and reality.

Free outdoor program, City Lights lit up the East, North and West precincts of the CBD each night across two weeks and three weekends, over the school holidays. Massive crowds embraced the cold and were delighted by over 40 installations, events and projections from artists presenting interactive, engaging, and mind-blowing works.

Government House was a standout on the City Lights trail, the Governor of South Australia welcoming visitors in to view the captivating projection Into The Light, a celebration of South Australian women past, present and immerging.

Rachael Azzopardi and Lee Cumberlidge said winter is for Illuminate Adelaide.

"We were so delighted that we reached so many people across the program," Ms Azzopardi and Mr Cumberlidge said.

With thousands of visitors flocking into the city, restaurants, cafes and bars as well as the CBD, businesses reported that winter trade was again strong thanks to the city being activated.

Early data from Adelaide Economic Development Agency shows that footfall throughout the city increased 50% over the first two weekends of July when compared to the same two weekends last year, while accommodation providers enjoyed a 12% pick-up in forward bookings for City Lights opening weekend.

Minister for Tourism, Zoe Bettison said Adelaide illuminated once again this winter thanks to another incredible event ‘Illuminate Adelaide’.

"In Illuminate Adelaide’s third year, more than 1.3 million people headed to our city to enjoy the curated program of free and ticketed events – helping boost visitation for our city’s hotels, restaurants, cafes, and bars in a typically quieter month," Minister Bettison said. 

“The innovative festival helps cement South Australia’s reputation as a must-visit arts and cultural destination all year round, and I cannot wait to see what worldclass, thought-provoking, and exciting program is in store for us next year. 

“And it’s also been great that we are able to support local businesses and tourism operators hit hard by the recent Murray River flood, with River Lights transforming Mannum’s main township and riverbanks into a playground of immersive installations and dazzling light displays."

Rachael Azzopardi and Lee Cumberlidge said Illuminate Adelaide is also committed to programming and presenting a series of satellite events that explore art, light and technology in our regions.

River Lights in Mannum opened on Friday 4 August to a rousing response. The event, which will run over 10 days including two weekends from 4-13 August, aims to draw visitors to the Murray River, Lakes & Coorong, providing further support to local businesses and tourism operators recovering from the impacts of the once-in-a-century flooding event.

Illuminate Adelaide will return in 2024 to again transform winter with an all-new curated program of art, light, music and technology.