The winter event’s creative directors Lee Cumberlidge and Rachael Azzopardi feared the plug would have to be pulled on Light Cycles, a blend of light, sound, video and special effects that bathes the Botanic Gardens and had its world premiere in Adelaide.
“Light Cycles is a good example of us being determined to present an international project in a different way – and the only thing that could stop us was a full lockdown,” Lee says.
“When that happened, we were devastated and it was a very stressful week as the government sprung into action.
“We were incredibly fortunate that because of the strong and clear leadership, and how compliant the community has been in adapting to the response, we were able to open again.”
Organisers worked tirelessly to extend the event, which has generated massive hype for its jaw-dropping use of light and sound across a 2km loop of the gardens.
The event is delivered under an approved COVID Safe plan and in adherence to strict guidelines as set out by SA Health which was reviewed and revised since the 7 day lockdown. The event is operating with reduced capacities to allow social distancing, and the number of Covid Marshals on site was together with mandatory wearing of face masks is a condition of entry.
“A lot of planning had gone into an event like Light Cycles but really we had planned the whole event knowing Covid-19 was something we needed to account for right back when we started planning in July last year,” Lee says.
“When we opened again, that was when we saw the strength of a project like Light Cycles because it is an installation-based project that we could get back and up and running quite quickly.”
Created by Montreal-based multimedia studio Moment Factory, Light Cycles features seven installations along a one-way linear path that reimagine the Botanic Gardens.
“We’ve had an overwhelming response which has been great for us and it’s really exceeded our dreams and expectations in terms of how much people would be loving it,” Rachael says.
“People are really engaging with it, and I think it’s because of that beautiful marriage between nature and technology.
“Our vision was that we wanted to reimagine the city. Things that we take for granted we wanted to show in a new light and make it accessible in a different way and we are really glad people have been able to experience that.”
The Light Cycles Bar is also open daily from 5pm. They’ll be serving up Sparrke beers and Yalumba wines alongside generous burger, pizza and donut offerings from Gang Gang, The Market Black and Wild.
Also due to the lockdown, organisers postponed the hugely-anticipated The Avalanches: Since I Left You, live with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. They will now perform on October 13 at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre. Some tickets are still available.
The Avalanches formed in 1997. A group of Melbourne DJs, punk rockers and hip-hop artists, they recorded the album Since I Left You in 2000. The record, meticulously crafted by a mash up of 3500 vinyl samples, is widely considered one of the greatest electronic albums of all time.
Rachael says the group was “pretty devastated” and worked with organisers on a rescheduling of a performance. “It was really important to all of us to reschedule that one and get that one on and up” Rachael says.
One thing that often gets forgotten in these situations is that the artists themselves are often impacted just as much, if not more, than the organisers.
For the shows that weren’t able to be rescheduled, Lee guarantees these will come back bigger and better next year.
“I think Adelaide will see [next year] the even greater depth of our kind of program and our model, and the vision that we have.”
Tickets to Light Cycles and The Avalanches can be purchased through the Illuminate website.