SKY SONG at Adelaide Fringe Festival is the world’s first feature-length drone art show. An epic combination of future technology and ancient storytelling that will reawaken in our audience a remembering that we are all bound by universal wisdom.
Originally commissioned by Heather Croall, Director of the Adelaide Fringe Festival, this ground-breaking collaboration involves the world’s biggest holographic projector screens, show lighting and soundtrack. All of it showcasing First Nation art, narration and music through Celestial’s unique visual storytelling.
The co-design took a year to develop, write and produce, working with multiple collaborators and across different times zones and, of course, the challenges of Covid.
This epic drone show is a highly original and profoundly emotional experience that takes audiences on a cosmic journey through First Nation history, culture and art. Themes centre on belonging, connection to country, land rights and the hopes for reconciliation. Designed to be a medicine for these troubled times, Adelaide Fringe Festival SKY SONG is a massive technical production that represents a bright ray of hope that we hope will ripple across the world.
Working closely alongside First Nation Consultant and singer-songwriter Nancy Bates, we managed to get the contributions of some of the most iconic First nation artists working today. Huge gratitude to the involvement of Archie Roach, Jack Buckskin, Uncle Moogy, Dusty Feet Mob, Ali Eckermann, Paul Kelly, Iriwi Choir, and Electric Fields.
The drone display is 30 minutes long, with five chapters linked together by iconic musician Archie Roach’s powerful narration. Each of these chapters represents a different story and message from the various First Nation artists.
Throughout the show, our drones fly majestically in the air. Below them, the world’s largest holographic projector screen – 75m wide and 15m high – creates an extended canvas for further virtual drone storytelling.
We also took on the challenge of digitally mapping the live performances of First Nation singers and dancers to transform them into drone art that features on the screens. The result is a groundbreaking visual spectacle.
The combination of drones in the air, projections on the screens, dramatic lighting on the ground and an immersive sound system aim to connect audiences and add further texture and movement to the Adelaide Fringe drone show.
Tech collaborators Novatech and production gurus Gluttony knocked it out of the park with their expertise and knowledge of large scale event production. Alongside the Adelaide Fringe Festival, they were a dream to work with.
Poetry and NarrationArchie Roach, Uncle Moogy, Jack Buckskin and Ali Eckermann
MusicNancy Bates, Paul Kelly and Electric Fields
PerformanceDusty Feet Mob and Iwiri Choir
“Something we strive to offer at Celestial is a voice piece to the voiceless. By combing First Nation art and stories with our modern tech, we’re able to create a blockbuster show that encapsulates indigenous wisdom for mainstream modern audiences. In this age of conflict and confusion, we need to be turning to indigenous wisdom more than ever. We’re extremely honoured to be a part of this innovative show.” - John Hopkins, Celestial co-founder.
Final thoughts and thanks
With such a long time in the making, it feels incredibly rewarding to see the hard work of all the talented contributors and the Celestial team come together in the form of such a groundbreaking visual spectacle. Sky Song is designed to heal and bring people together. We really hope this intention is felt by all those who get to watch.
It’s been a sensational creative experience working with such incredible collaborators to create this drone display for Adelaide Fringe Festival. We are hugely grateful to take part on such a special project that combines ancient wisdom, storytelling, music and art into a state-of-the-art futuristic drone show.
We hope you enjoy watching SKY SONG!