3 June 2022

Wagga promises a winter of ice skating, live music and castles in the sky

| Chris Roe
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lighting installation

The Airship Orchestra will occupy the Civic Centre Precinct through the Festival of W. Photo: Eness.

The returning outdoor ice rink and a luminescent, inflatable sky castle will take centre stage at Wagga’s new-look winter festival.

The Festival of W runs over the school holidays from 2 to 17 July in the city centre featuring art, live music, food, drink and of course, ice skating.

Wagga City Council events officer Emma Corbett said the ever-popular attraction in the Victory Memorial Gardens will be bigger than ever before.

“The ice rink is returning in a larger format and will be the only ticketed part of the festival, operating every day over the two-week period,” she said.

READ ALSO Glimpses into social and political history at Wagga Winter Exhibition

This year’s winter festival expands the success of the one-night Lost Lanes event into two weeks of activities in the Victory Memorial Gardens and Civic Centre Precinct.

“We’re looking forward to bringing the community together and supporting the local creative, hospitality and event industries during what is typically a quieter time of year,” Ms Corbett said.

“We have a host of offerings running continuously over the two weeks, such as the ice rink, creative lighting installations and pop-up food and drink vendors.”

outdoor ice skating

The Wagga ice rink will be back and bigger than ever for the Festival of W. Photo: Wagga City Council.

A feature attraction will be the immersive Airship Orchestra that has been touring Australia after appearing in New York and Shanghai.

The glowing six-metre high installation will cover a 500 sqm area within the Civic Centre forecourt.

Made up of about 20 inflatable sculptures, the award-winning interactive experience pulsates with light and sound and invites festival-goers to enter its glowing interior.

According to Melbourne-based creators Eness, “The Airship Orchestra is a mystical tribe of otherworldly characters beamed from the night stars, skin streaked with galaxy and voices like stardust.”

It’s also the perfect place for a selfie.

READ ALSO ‘Festival of W’ to put the Riverina on ice

Celebrations kick off at 4 pm on Saturday 2 July with food and live entertainment.

“There will be lots to see and do, delicious food and drinks to enjoy and plenty of memorable moments,” Ms Corbett said.

Up-and-coming artist Mia Wray will perform along with a host of homegrown performers including Sweet Citrus and Parklands.

Ms Corbett said they are still keen to hear from food and drink vendors and local businesses interested in participating.

“Festival of W is an ideal opportunity for local vendors and businesses to get involved and come up with an offering that festival-goers will enjoy,” Ms Corbett said.

Visit the Wagga website or email [email protected] to register an expression of interest.

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Are we ever going to see Lost Lanes again? It was such a good night and really showcased the artwork on the rear of buildings in the laneway. The general vibe was fantastic, particularly with the fire buckets, food and drink along the laneway made for a excellent mid winter celebration. Lost Lanes felt more intimate and a bit more “edgy” that this whole festival thing that has now been created. While I am not against the festival, I would certainly like to see Lost Lanes included in its original format.

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