Illuminate Adelaide: Breathing new life and light into SA’s winter festivities


If its recent string of tourism wins hadn’t already put South Australia on your to-do list, ‘Illuminate Adelaide’, the city’s stellar winter arts festival, might just be the final drawcard you’ve been looking for.
Resonate in Adelaide’s Botanic Gardens. Image: Supplied

Effectively turning the city into an open-air art gallery, Illuminate has transformed Adelaide’s admittedly nocturnal winter landscape into a kaleidoscope of colours.

Each installation, interactive experience and live performance has its own unique charm to it. Crowd favourite ‘Resonate’, which is located in the heart of Adelaide’s Botanic Gardens, had to be extended for another week due to soaring popularity.

From the skyline adorned with pulsating projections, such as the ‘City Lights’ trail, to the futuristic tech-art in ‘Light Creatures’ at Adelaide Zoo, the festival breathed new life into Adelaide’s winter nightlife.

Creative director Lee Cumberlidge, who co-founded Illuminate alongside partner Rachael Azzopardi, said they were inspired by South Australia’s fast-growing future technology and renewable energy sectors. 

Lee Cumberlidge and Rachael Azzopardi. Image: Frankie The Creative.

“We wanted to put a program together that brought some of this [technology] on display into the public realm,” Cumberlidge told Forbes Australia. “Adelaide is such a great festival city and we felt the need for something new and unique to really active it over winter.”

“We’re seeing a really large take up of people from outside the state… we’ve been told how visible we are interstate so we are definitely seeing the results in what is normally a quiet time in visitation.”

As a born-and-raised Adelaidean currently residing in Sydney, there’s probably an element of loyalty to my hometown but it must be said – while there’s unique differences, if you wanted to compare the two – Illuminate certainly gives Sydney’s Vivid Festival a run for its money. 

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