Thousands of people and 34 unique light installations filled every nook and cranny of the Queenstown Gardens for LUMA’s light festival over Queens Birthday weekend.
LUMA Light Festival Trust chairman Duncan Forsyth said visitor numbers were slightly up on last year, with well over 50,000 people exploring the free multi-sensory event, illuminated by lights, gnomes and a little bit of magic.
“We were just stoked with everything from the performance pieces to the signature installations; it was another incredible year full of diversity,” he says.
LUMA Southern Light Project’s new initiative ‘Adopt-a-Gnome’ provisionally raised over $25,000, which will fund an emerging artist to create an installation for next year’s festival.
Thirty beautifully crafted fibreglass-concrete gnomes were transformed into mini works of art by some of New Zealand’s top artists.
They were an extremely popular feature on display in ‘Gnome Alley’ during LUMA and were auctioned on Trade Me.
Bidding on the gnomes intensified throughout the four-day event and culminated in the highest bids being made for Mossy Gnome by Dick Frizzell at $3010 and Elemental by Jenny Mehrtens at $2700.
Duncan says the 250 people involved with the festival’s delivery worked tirelessly, with many LUMAteers being first-year helpers.
“We rely heavily on funding and volunteers to bring LUMA to life, and although we deliver an amazing event it’s hard work for everyone involved.
“We wouldn’t be able to do it without the help of our incredible community, partners, community funding and donations.”
Crowds were greeted by an Angus Muir Design installation called ‘Tilt’ which saw a geometric themed lit up colonnade luring spectators into the wonderful world of LUMA.
There were lights around every corner, lining the footpaths, in the trees, along branches and even in the water.
An installation by ‘Creature’ gave viewers a look into what could be beneath the cold depths of the Queenstown Gardens’ pond with ‘Monstrum Marinum’.
Moving images of a Taniwha, Loch Ness Monster, Jaws and more were projected onto the water’s surface.
Among the installations around 40 performers dazzled crowds, from fairies to gold miners and tree dancers – it was nothing short of a spectacle.
“The performances added one more piece to the puzzle for us and it’s something we intend to continue with, we’re not sure in what fashion, but we have plenty of ideas already,” says Duncan.
LUMA would like to thank its principal partners including Queenstown Lakes District Council, Central Lakes Trust, Mainfreight, Tom Tom, SILO, Summit Events and Angus Muir Design.