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The 2024 Adelaide Festival will culminate with Floods of Fire, a festival-within-a-festival, on the final weekend. Conceived and directed by international theatre-maker Airan Berg, Floods of Fire is commissioned and led by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and presented in partnership with the Adelaide Festival, The University of Adelaide in celebration of its 150th anniversary, and over 100 South Australian partner organisations.

This special community event is dedicated to showcasing the creativity and stories of South Australians. Involving over 1700 participants, it provides a collective platform for addressing climate change while celebrating the rich cultural diversity of our community.

connects South Australia’s diverse cultural narratives of creation to our natural world and extreme weather events. It represents one of the largest collaborations in the history of South Australia, involving citizens, visitors, artists, scientists, communities, and partner organisations. The weekend consists of three distinct events open to all: two entirely free events on Saturday, March 16th, and a ticketed event on Sunday, March 17th.

Minister of Arts Andrea Michaels MP said: “Floods of Fire marks a pivotal moment for South Australia, uniting thousands in a bold celebration of creativity and climate action. This groundbreaking event underscores our community's determination to drive change through art and collaboration.”

Artistic Director Ruth Mackenzie CBE emphasised: "The 2024 Adelaide Festival program starts our journey of cultural democracy with both Floods of Fire and our exhibition Create4Adelaide. Both of these free events put South Australian citizens and young people at centre stage, working with inspiring world class musicians and artists to develop and share their own creativity and art. We invite everyone to come along to experience some outstanding work, and to join in after the Festival to develop your creativity for the 2025 event.”

Artistic Director of Floods of Fire Airan Berg said: “Floods of Fire is a declaration of love to the people of South Australia and a testament to the power of community collaboration. Designed as an exercise in collective survival, Floods of Fire brings together diverse voices and experiences, that need to be heard. We celebrate the strength and resilience of our communities, united in confronting the challenges of climate change. These two days of presentations and concerts should not be seen as the end of the project, but the beginning of a new culture of collaboration and unexpected alliances that will allow us to resolve complex issues together, using the magic and beauty of art and culture as our driving force."

Adelaide Symphony Orchestra CEO Colin Cornish AM said: “The ASO has spent the past four years collaborating with community groups across the state to create Floods of Fire and we’re very excited to see this work presented at this incredible scale. There are some truly inspiring stories and friendships that have developed during the project and we can’t wait to share it with everyone.”

University of Adelaide Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement) Dr Jessica Gallagher said: "As we celebrate the University's 150th anniversary, hosting Floods of Fire, a festival-within-a-festival, on our grounds feels incredibly symbolic. The Elder Conservatorium, our heart of music education, is one of the oldest in Australia, having established its roots in South Australia in 1898. Today, its curriculum is a vibrant tapestry that includes Western classical, jazz, sonic art, and an exceptional Indigenous and First Nations music program. Floods of Fire brings together our staff and students, not just from the Elder Conservatorium but also the University’s Environment Institute, who will find their collective voice at the intersection of art and science, to confront one of the most significant challenges we all face today: climate change.”

On Sat 16 Mar, 2pm - 6pm, Floods of Fire: Our Voices, Our Dreams will animate the University of Adelaide campus with music, stories and art from a diverse array of the community including citizens, cultural leaders, artists, scientists, researchers, activists, and artivists. Audiences are invited to roam freely across the campus, immersing themselves in songs, theatre, dance, creative writing, storytelling, workshops, and artistic surprises. One such artistic surprise audiences will find is South Australian learning disabled and neurodiverse arts group Tutti Arts performing a short play on the extinction of bees, live creation of visual art with the help of passers-by, and a Climate Quiz, amongst many others.

At 7:30pm that evening, the University's Maths Lawn will be transformed into a community square where the Citizens’ Orchestra returns for Floods of Fire: Our Citizens' Orchestra after their debut performance opening the 2023 Adelaide Festival. This intercultural, intergenerational orchestra and chorus welcomes professional musicians, individuals without any prior musical experience, and everyone in between, including those who simply love to sing. The 500 participants have collaborated with Music Directors Tim Steiner (UK) and Ricardo Baptista (Portugal), as well as members of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and local musicians, to craft music and songs that resonate with South Australian experiences and reflect our climate reality. Audiences, families and friends are encouraged to stay and hear this new music performed live.

The following day, Sun 17 Mar at 7:30pm, award-winning electronic music duo Electric Fields and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra will conclude the 2024 Adelaide Festival with Floods of Fire: Our Celebration with Electric Fields & the ASO at Festival Theatre. This program will showcase collaborations between South Australian composers, musicians, and the ASO, including the world premiere of the Floods of Fire Symphony and a newly commissioned song by Electric Fields specifically for this occasion.


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