Set for its fourth year as a favourite on South Australia’s major events calendar, Illuminate Adelaide will once again transform winter with an all-new curated program of art, light, music and technology to attract visitors to the CBD in the traditionally quieter month of July.

The 2023 city-wide program featured 144 artists from 13 countries, in over 2,080 performances and sessions.

More than 200,000 tickets were sold across the month-long event and early data from the Adelaide Economic Development Agency (AEDA) indicates a 50% increase in footfall throughout the city over the first two weekends of Illuminate Adelaide when compared to the same time last year.

It comes as the regional installation of Illuminate Adelaide, River Lights, wrapped up last night – attracting more than 20,000 visitors to Mannum to help drive recovery in one of the communities hardest hit by the once-in-a-century flooding event last summer.

Local businesses heralded the 10-day River Lights event an overwhelming success, with operators reporting it attracted visitors to the region and into their businesses and boosted takings.

One of the most popular installations of River Lights will ‘shine on’ in the region for years to come, with the “I am here – Mannum” sign to become a permanent fixture on the Mannum riverbank thanks to support from the State Government through the South Australian Tourism Commission.  

The light display by artist Carla O’Brien has become an iconic feature at Illuminate Adelaide events, prompting visitors to take photos standing under the illuminated arrow and serving as a way-finder when those images are shared across social media.

The Honourable Zoe Bettison MP, Minister for Tourism, said:

"Illuminate Adelaide has become a much-loved feature on our state’s annual events calendar.

With a record 1.3 million attendances this year and data showing large increases in footfall throughout the city, Illuminate Adelaide has demonstrated once again it is crucial for attracting visitors and activating the city in what is the traditionally quieter winter period.

Anything we can do to increase visitors and foot traffic in our CBD – right throughout the year – is extremely important to businesses across tourism, hospitality and retail, and we’re pleased to support the return of Illuminate Adelaide in 2024 to do just that.

This year we also brought the benefits of this major event to one of the most flood-affected communities, with thousands of visitors heading to River Lights in Mannum.

The feedback from the Mid-Murray Council and local operators has been terrific, and I’m thrilled there’ll be an ongoing legacy with the permanent installation set to attract more visitors to Mannum who can take and share photos and stop in at a local business."

Illuminate Adelaide Co- Founders and Creative Directors, Rachael Azzopardi and Lee Cumberlidge said:

"Once again, the number of people who descended on the city for Illuminate Adelaide has been incredible.

Seeing so many locals and interstate guests converge on our city is such a thrill.

Working with the State Government through the South Australian Tourism Commission to bring this event to life for its third year is such a privilege and we are immensely proud to have changed winter in Adelaide with our program.

We are delighted to work with so many amazing cultural institutions, arts organisations, and artists, as well as the hundreds of businesses in the CBD. A truly successful collaboration.

Winter is for Illuminate Adelaide and we are so delighted that we reached so many people across the program.

Illuminate Adelaide has now presented a series of satellite events that explore art, light and technology in our regions and River Lights in Mannum has been a resounding success."

Simone Bailey, Mayor Mid Murray Council said: 

"While the flood may have disappeared from the headlines and people’s social media newsfeeds, its impact is still very real for our community. Illuminate Adelaide, River Lights, has been spectacular for Mannum and the region. The light installations have helped in bringing the historic main street to life again.

The atmosphere in the Main Street has been amazing for the last 10 days. I have had so much positive feedback from businesses and the community, we are so grateful and can’t thank the State Government and SA Tourism Commission enough for bringing Illuminate Adelaide to our region, it has been a great success.

It has been great to see so many visitors returning to the Mid Murray area to support us, and as we head into the spring and summer peak season over coming months, we hope to see many more people returning to the river and the broader region to assist with our recovery."