Light up 2022 | Urban list

As South Australia holds the reigning cultural crowns of world fame Adelaide Fringe and Adelaide Festival in the last days of summer, they can now add a winter counterpart to their arsenal. Light Up Festival returns to Adelaide in July to celebrate art, light, innovation, music and technology, and help combat those freezing nights. With Melbourne’s RISING, Sydney’s Vivid and Hobart’s Dark Mofo all done, it’s time for South Australia to take center stage once again.

With a packed schedule of free and paid events to appeal to young and old, art-savvy culture vultures and first-timers alike will find something here to light up their lives. There are local, national and international artists involved, and the cozy Base camp, Illuminate’s winter village, where you can eat, drink, relax and skate to your heart’s content. While the animated lineup promises to intrigue and dazzle, we’ve selected a few shining stars from the cast to get you pumped.



Music industry legends Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett hit the Adelaide stage for the first time in over a decade, and they’re bringing a 20-piece ensemble of international collaborators with them. For one night only, you can see this genre-defying, Grammy- and BRIT-winning virtual band as they grace the Adelaide Entertainment Center for a unique extra show, just for Illuminate. Long before Tupac appeared at Coachella in 2012 as a hologram, Gorillaz have been visionaries of virtual entertainment, seamlessly blending art, music and technology. Known for an indefinable mix of hip hop, rock and dance sounds, Albarn never strays from their trajectory, and they’ll be diving into their seven-album catalog to release some of the all-time bangers. Gorillaz will be supported by Moonchild Sanelly and his recently released album, Phases. Feel Good, indeed!

Unhealthy Adelaide

22.07.22 – 23.07.23

Once again heading south to its oldest overseas outpost, the famous Polish Krakow Festival, unhealthy, returns for his seventh pilgrimage to Adelaide. An international celebration of experimental and electronic music, Unsound has become something of a siren song for those looking for cutting-edge, cutting-edge sound. there’s avant-pop, electronic, club and rap, just to start. Highlights include the commissioned collaboration between Polish avant-garde percussionist Adam Gołębiewski and that of Melbourne MY DISCOunderground australian electronic post-punk darlings HTRKexperimental musician Kali Malone in his down under debut and Catalan rising star Marina Herlop singing a mix of folk, pop and experimentation in her mother tongue. Discovery is the name of the game at Unsound; enter with your ears wide open and see what emerges from another world.

We’ll smack you with our wings

15.07.22 – 31.07.22

The patriarchy comes to die in this free opera video installation. We’ll smack you with our wings, performed by “an army of six girls and a mistress of war”, combines art, audiovisual and sound to remind you that girls really rule the world. The artwork features seven different screens depicting infamous 19th century colonial portraits, with the main difference being that the powerful white men of history have been replaced by young girls, each from a different continent. Leading this work is Adelaide Joanna Dudley, which layers sound by having each girl reinvent the death tune of an iconic soprano from famous operas. You will see Madame Butterfly and Tosca emerge triumphantly in this loud and proud chorus not to be missed.

Wild dog

15.07.22 – 20.07.22

Dingoes have feelings too, you know. This is what the artist Nargungga/Kaurna Jacob Bohme explore in Wild dog, an immersive installation highlighting the rich history and importance of one of Australia’s most iconic, yet misunderstood, cultural symbols. Gadli (dingo/wild dogs) is an important figure of the Kaurna, Narungga and Ngadjuri peoples of South Australia, a triad known collectively as the Dingo people.

Blending animation, puppetry, dance and song, you can explore these interactive installations showcasing the work of artists and communities from five countries as they map songs and rekindle cultural practices. This free event is suitable for all ages, and youngsters are sure to enjoy the storytelling and honesty presented here.

light cycles

07.07.22 – 31.07.22

The city demanded his return, and light cycles heard the call. After a sold-out season when it premiered in 2021, Adelaide Botanic Gardens will once again be transformed into an immersive, illuminated experience to guide you through the night. Brought to our shores by the Montreal studio Factory of the moment, Light Cycles aims to connect its customers to the natural world by blending innovative techniques of lights, lasers and projection with the natural splendor of Adelaide. Add an original soundtrack and you’ve got a fantastic ride you’ll remember.

Ouchhh Studio | Wisdom of AI Light

From 13.07.22

Overseas audiences went wild, and now Istanbul-based pioneers Ouchhh Studio bring their collaboration NASA and CERN Wisdom of AI Light in Adelaide. This ticketed event will take over the East End for Ouchhh’s biggest pop-up exhibition to date, using groundbreaking artificial intelligence and projection techniques to take you on a journey from the world of art from the Renaissance to These days. Enhanced by the music of the legendary classical composer Ludovic Einaudi, you’ll see stars and unravel the mysteries of the universe as your eyes feast on this larger-than-life installation. Say hello to Mona Lisa for us.

new light

01.07.22 – 31.07.22

Featuring the work of contemporary First Nations artists, new light returns with four new commissioned works that explore experimental and diverse moving images. The 2022 cohort features works by Amala Groom, Dawn Sansbury-Smith, Elizabeth Close and Jaydenlee Tong, whose work will be displayed on media screens at the entrance to the Adelaide Festival Centre. This free visual art encourages its artists to examine compelling and complex concepts related to their individual experiences. Created in 2017 for TARNANTHI: Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ArtNew Light has since continued to support First Nations artists.

Mindy Meng Wang and Tim Shiel


The collaboration between Chinese-Australian avant-garde composer Mindy Meng Wang and his Melbourne-based contemporary Tim Shiel will transport you to an ethereal world of oriental power, beauty and dreams. Float on cloud nine as this duo perform an amalgamation of laid-back dub and pop, breakbeat and minimal house, all anchored in place by the traditional guzheng, a two-meter-long 21-string instrument played by Mindy. The work is an ode to the world of Mindy, where tradition and progression collide. Following their critically acclaimed 2021 EP nerve energythe masses will race for the rare chance to see these artists perform live.

Eishan set


Want to hear some ARIA-nominated psychedelic fusion music? Head toward Eishan set to bring you the label-defying encounter of East and West, contemporary and classical, as a Persian-Australian tar player and composer Hamed Sadeghi leads this group of world-class musicians. Sometimes dubbed ‘Persian chamber jazz’ or ‘Middle Eastern fusion jazz’, Eishan will perform Sadeghi’s original compositions mixed with improvised idioms to create elegant soundscapes that will soothe your soul.

While you’re there, check out Adelaide’s best restaurants for a post-festival feed.

Image credit: provided

Comments are closed.