29 June 2023

Welcome to the light show: Festival of W is ready to brighten up Wagga

| Jarryd Rowley
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The much-anticipated Festival of W kicks off this weekend

The much-anticipated Festival of W kicks off this weekend. One of the attractions exciting locals is the new light show, Lightvision: A Wagga Wagga surface-to-sky light journey, by Mandylights. Photo: Adam Drummond.

Wagga Wagga will not be going into hibernation this winter as the return of the Festival of W (FoW) looks to showcase the best of what Wagga has to offer.

The 16-day festival, planned and organised by Wagga Wagga City Council, will feature a major visual and sound experience in the Wollundry Lagoon precinct, ice-skating at the Victory Memorial Gardens and several food vans and stalls across the CBD.

The festival will reach a fever pitch on Saturday 8 July, as several talented Australian musicians – Sycco, Hatchie, Tom Snowdon, Muesli and Vino + Vinyl – take to the FoW main stage on Baylis Street.

After a successful first year for the FoW in 2022, WWCC’s Director of Community Services Janice Summerhayes said she still believed council organisers had found a way to make the 2023 iteration of the festival even bigger and better.

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“What we did learn from last year was a little bit more spread out, so this year, beaming around connection and place,” Ms Summerhayes said.

“We’re activating our whole cultural precinct through an amazing and immersive sound and lighting experience that has been informed and collaborated with by some of our Wiradjuri First Nations elders.”

Elements of this year’s Festival of W, including the impressive light and sound experience organised by Sydney-based artists Mandylights, will celebrate NAIDOC Week by incorporating First Nations stories and music.

Wiradjuri elder Uncle James Ingram worked closely with Mandylights to create several light shows based on local Indigenous stories.

This year’s light show primarily focuses on the story of the ‘Wawi’, more commonly known as the ‘Rainbow Serpent’, and its link to Wiradjuri land and culture.

“The experience has been absolutely brilliant,” Uncle James said.

“We do these things in conjunction with Mandylights and Wagga City Council to bring an experience to the people of Wagga Wagga.

“We are very excited for the community to come to the Wollundry Lagoon and learn about the Wawi, the Rainbow Serpent, while also enjoying the brilliant lights and sounds. It really is a great show that I’m sure everyone will enjoy.”

Lightvision: A Wagga Wagga surface-to-sky light journey, will feature four shows – Skimming The Surface, The Breezeway, Sky High and The Verticals on a loop starting at dusk each night of the festival.

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Councillor Dan Hayes said the Festival of W was becoming an event that everyone in Wagga should be marking on their calendars each year.

“Wagga Wagga used to be a place that very much hibernated each year,” Cr Hayes said.

“What the Festival of W has shown is that the people of Wagga have an appetite to come out in winter and enjoy music, food, sound and light shows and even ice-skating.

“It’s a fantastic event that has only grown from strength to strength and I know that council staff are excited for everyone to come down and enjoy the festival over the 16 days.”

The festival commences on 1 July. To book tickets to ice-skating, click here.

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