26 September 2018

Let there be light! Floriade throws switch to Nightfest

| Ian Bushnell
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The RiotACT was on site for a sneak preview last night. Photos: Ben Appleton, Photox.

If you think you’ve seen one Floriade Nightfest, you’ve seen it all, think again.

Floriade lights up tonight until Sunday with an array of cascading colours across Commonwealth Park in a unique show created by design stars Mandylights – which handle the big festivals – concerts and touring productions in Australia and overseas.

Director Richard Neville says no one Nightfest is the same. “Every year we try to reinvent the lighting so we don’t do the same things two years in a row,” he tells me from Alice Springs where he is preparing for the Parrtjima festival in which Mandlylights will illuminate the MacDonnell Ranges.

The big change this year is the use of ‘intelligent’ lights across the park so they can remotely change colour, position and patterns throughout the night.

“There’s a lot more transformative looks across the beds,” Mr Neville said. “We’ve got moments where you’ll see all the lights go out on the beds and up into the sky and get this huge web of searchlights and then back down. The beds will change colour constantly throughout the night.”

His advice is to do more than one lap of Nightfest because the effects will change and you will see the flower beds literally in a completely different light.

The Nautalis Forest.

A new installation is the Nautalis Forest in the rhododendron garden where there will be thousands of LED pixels supported by an ambient musical soundtrack and mist.

“There will be glowing mysterious trees of light growing there,” Mr Neville said.

On Nerang Pool, a giant glowing inflatable lotus flower will change colour in time with the nearby flower beds.

All up, Nightfest will number 20,000 LEDs with a 1000 main lights illuminating the beds. There are lights in the beds, around the beds and over the beds.

It’s a three-week build for the Mandylights crew and a team of three are on site to run and monitor the show.

The lotus flower on Nerang Pool.

For an overhead view, the iconic Floriade ferris wheel will be operating, and of course, each night will have its own entertainment theme, with food trucks and local drinks providers on site, including the Underground Spirits pop-up bar.

Tonight is a double feature movie show with Back to the Future and Ghostbusters; tomorrow and Friday is music night with Caiti Baker, Jeff Duff and a stellar band in Bowie Unzipped and award-winning singer-songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke, Thelma Plum, plus local star Lucy Sugarman; Saturday is party night with Canberra’s Cell Block 69; and Nightfest finishes on a smile with Sunday’s comedy night unleashing Canberra comedienne Christine Ryan, The Stevenson Experience, Akmal Saleh, Matt Okine, Melanie Bracewell, Andy Saunders, Nikki Britton and Arj Barker.

For a tipple, try the Underground Spirits pop-up bar.

For more information go here.

Original Article published by Ian Bushnell on the RiotACT.

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