Two women sitting on bench with Wollundry Lagoon in background.
GET READY:  Destination & Events Coordinator Kimberly Parker and Events Officer Emma Corbett reveal what’s in store during Festival of W 2024, which will brighten our city over the July school holidays.

Events & Tourism

Festival of W makes bright return to Wagga Wagga this winter

Published: 06 Jun 2024 11:08am

Wagga Wagga's Festival of W (FoW) will transform the city centre into an immersive space of light, art, food and music this July.

A curated festival program, featuring local, national and international artists, performers and businesses, will present immersive light-art experiences, ice skating, live music and winter food offerings across 16 days, from Saturday 6 July to Sunday 21 July.

Man walking out of marquee with other people inside marquee standing at tables
📷 House of FoW will return in 2024, offering a dining experience featuring winter-warming local produce and suppliers.

Council has partnered with leading Australian multi-disciplinary design and production experts, Mandylights, to deliver a free, large-scale, light and sound experience named Lightvision that will illuminate the Wollundry Lagoon precinct.

Lightvision will feature a floating installation on the Wollundry Lagoon made up of large-scale blooming water lilies, a field of several hundred technicolour pixel pebbles, a stunning 48-metre tunnel of light featuring 100,000 individual golden buds, and a mesmerising field of LED battens synchronised to music.

The festival will also deliver a special pop-up activation, funded by the NSW Government's Open Streets Program from Friday 12 July to Sunday 14 July.

This will feature temporary activations within the festival including UV Spaghetti – an eight-metre-long canopy of tactile, light strands that festival folk can weave through – along with a kaleidoscope of colourful First Nations art projections that will light up the Wollundry Lagoon bridge, plus additional displays inviting playful opportunities.

Council's Events Officer Emma Corbett said the event attracted more than 120,000 attendees in 2023, both residents and visitors to the city, to experience the wonder of a festival that activates the city during what is traditionally a quieter winter period.

“Last year’s footfall during the festival period demonstrated that the Festival of W is a firm favourite on the major events calendar in our city and surrounds,” Ms Corbett said.

“The increased visitation in the CBD area over the festival period activates the city and has strong flow-on economic benefits for many tourism, hospitality and retail businesses.

“We’re so pleased to be able to bring the festival back in 2024 with the incredible Lightvision display in collaboration with the creative producers from Mandylights.”

Family looking at a large-scale light display at night time.
📷 The Mandylights large-scale light and sound show ‘Lightvision: A Wagga Wagga surface to sky light journey’, lit up the Wollundry Lagoon Precinct during Festival of W 2023.

CEO and Founder of Mandylights Richard Neville said they are thrilled to be bringing an all-new light and sound experience to Wagga Wagga, off the back of the success of the 2023 program.

"Our creative crew have been working up new and exciting immersive concepts to light up Wiradjuri Country in Wagga Wagga again for Festival of W 2024," Mr Neville said.

"We're always so thrilled to work in regional areas to create unique experiences, inspired by the region. Wagga Wagga embraced the experience last year and we're hoping for an equal, or better, wow-factor this year."

Festival goers can also experiment with playful, immersive art displays, enjoy live music and food offerings, and, of course, the return of the ever-popular Skate Wagga Wagga ice rink.

Group of young people ice skating under lights
📷 The Skate Wagga Wagga rink in the Victory Memorial Gardens during Festival of W 2023.

“We’re also pleased to present House of FoW, the festival dining hub, which this year is run by local culinary specialist Jamie Shepley and his team behind Mr Lawrence foodery,” Ms Corbett said.

This year House of FoW will be located in the Victory Memorial Gardens next to the popular ice-skating rink, and will feature warming food and drinks, live music and fire buckets where people can sit and enjoy the full festival atmosphere.

Light activations will commence from 5pm to 10pm each evening during the 16-day festival program.

Festival of W is proudly presented and delivered by Wagga Wagga City Council with sponsorship from creative producers Mandylights for the contributions to Lightvision, and the NSW Government for funding the special pop-up street activation.