The long awaited LUMA Southern Light Project rolled into town two weeks ago and I was first in line to see what all the hype was about. Only in its second year, LUMA is relatively new to the QT festival scene but the promise of glowing artwork transforming the humble Queenstown Gardens certainly brought in the masses.
After a suitable feed at Bombay Palace to warm me up, I braved the cold and followed the crowds towards the gardens. Despite the chilly temperature, the atmosphere was buzzing and the festival was full of young and old alike. The featured pieces of art were contributed by local artists from Otago and around New Zealand. 26 bright sculptures made up the walk which winded its way through the gardens. There was also live music and food carts on offer, as well as a few lit-up fairies along the way. The different colours and patterns the lights created on the water and in the sky was really something special and the night of culture provided a welcome break from the adrenaline-based activities for which Queenstown is renowned.
I have to say that I have never been to anything like LUMA festival before and I really enjoyed not only the amazing light shows on offer but also the community atmosphere. It’s a place you can go with your friends, with your family or even by yourself and with mulled wine on offer I certainly was a fan! It was also a pleasant reminder that art is cool! Far removed from boring art classes spent failing at sketching an apple, I really enjoyed reading about each of the sculptures and the inspiration behind them. I also noticed that one of the pieces was contributed by a class at Wakatipu High School. It was great to see how young people were getting involved in LUMA and from the number of kids I saw enjoying the lights, the night was definitely a hit with all the family!
It’s fair to say that the three-day festival of lights was a roaring success and a night enjoyed by many! So thanks LUMA, we can’t wait for next year!
Thanks for reading,