This summer, Celestial was commissioned by The Secret Garden Party to create a drone show that would make their Saturday night Spectacle show stand apart from previous years and from other festivals. Taking place at 10pm above the Main Stage (the Great Stage), and before main act Underworld took to the stage, the drone show kicked off a ground-breaking Spectacle “that wasn’t only world-leading but the sort of collaborative vision that could only be pulled off by the best creative minds in the country.” said City AM “And, yes, it beat any performance I’ve seen at Glastonbury.”
The drone show, titled ‘Cosmic Wisdom’, began with an audio backdrop of ‘Wake Up’ by Rage Against The Machine, which immediately got the 25,000 strong audience’s attention. This was then followed by the appearance of a giant space invader which appeared to shoot down onto the main stage. Then, fireworks proceeded to launch rockets of fire that appeared to be shooting at the space invader.
The proceeding drone animations displayed against a speech by the late philosopher Alan Watts about our collective consciousness and paired with mesmerising sacred geometry formations and cutting-edge neon visuals, represented some of the inner workings of the universe. Three dimensional drone imagery also included wonders of nature such as a dolphin and blossoming flowers to bring viewers back down to earth again.
Use of thought-provoking speech as opposed to music at a music festival might have been seen by some as a risky creative decision, but it paid off, and succeeded in setting the drone show apart from anything ever seen before by spectators.
In crafting the legacy film of our Secret Garden Party show, we embarked on an ambitious artistic endeavor. Our objective was to push the boundaries of visual storytelling by incorporating state-of-the-art Machine Learning visual effects. This cutting edge cinematic technique allowed us to seamlessly merge the celestial wonders of outer space with captivating scenes from our show.
The high-concept vision for the film was clear: to create a transcendent experience that not only showcased the mesmerizing interplay of Alan Watts’ profound wisdom with our cosmic drone visuals but also took our show to a whole new dimension—quite literally into the boundless expanse of outer space. This fusion of technology, philosophy, and artistic expression aimed to transport our audience into a surreal dreamscape, blurring the lines between reality and imagination.
It was an innovative exploration at the intersection of art, technology, and metaphysical inquiry, that we so enjoy exploring as film makers at Celestial.
The success of this drone show was very much down to the fantastic collaboration between the teams at the Secret Garden Party and Celestial. Both parties are intent on being a force for good and both lead the charge on creative entertainment for their audiences. Freddie Fellowes, the Secret Garden Party founder, called the collaboration “exhilarating and life affirming”, and we tend to agree.
A huge thank you to all the individuals across all the teams that made the Spectacle what is was. We’re already looking forward to how we might better it next year.