ELEVATE Sydney, a new festival that was held January 1-5, unveiled one of the largest drone displays in the Southern Hemisphere. The ELEVATE SkyShow, lit up Sydney Harbour for the first time with 500 drones.
Featuring a First Nations narrative, the inaugural ELEVATE SkyShow blended art and technology to create nighttime entertainment. The 500 Intel drones performed in between the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge to a moving soundtrack.
AGB Events was commissioned by the NSW Government through tourism organization Destination NSW to create and produce ELEVATE Sydney. This summer festival was designed to activate Sydney’s Central Business District (CBD), and AGB’s SkyShow provided a conclusion at the end of every night for thousands lining the Sydney Harbour foreshore.
AGB Events assembled a team of leading creatives to design the show, comprising Creative Director Anthony Bastic, First Nations Advisor Rhoda Roberts AO, musical artist Rhyan Clapham (DOBBY) and Senior Producer Olivia Bradley.
Set to an original soundtrack composed by DOBBY, the drones danced to orchestral sounds, energetic beats, and Indigenous language, bringing First Nations culture to the forefront. The drones served as flying pixels animating an authentic and thrilling narrative of Greater Sydney, paying homage to the ancient wisdom of the Eora People and the beauty of the Australian flora and fauna.
“The innovation and technology offered by drones is really exciting; they are environmentally friendly with zero emissions, you can create a narrative and tell a story, and the possibilities are endless. They really are the future of major events,” said AGB Events CEO, Anthony Bastic.
To set the scene over Sydney Cove, Mandylights was brought in to enhance the Sydney night skies with light projections, programming sixty mBeam searchlights from multiple locations around the Harbour.
As a further enhancement, AGB engaged international augmented reality artist Charles Clapshaw of Future of Art to overlay an augmented reality experience to the drone show. Visitors scanned the QR codes on site and enjoyed added visual elements, further enhancing the live experience.
“We’re very grateful for the support and efforts of the many agencies who have worked with us to realize this project. This is an industry we really want to nurture and promote. The Intel Pilots traveling to Australia and sharing their knowledge is an amazing opportunity to grow the expertise of local drone operators,” Bastic concluded.