Sky Song | McLaren Vale | Adelaide Fringe | Review

Sky Song Review – Adelaide Fringe 2022

★★★★ 4 1/2 stars for a spiritual, cultural and meaningful night of flying lights and compelling storytelling. A must see.

Set against the Willunga Hills and surrounded by vineyards, Sky Song lights up the night sky after dark and features the voices of poet Ali Cobby Eckermann, storytellers Major ‘Moogy’ Sumner and Jack Buckskin, plus icons Archie Roach and Kev Carmody.

As the sun sets in the background the ‘campfire’ is lit – flames crackle on the huge animated screen for around 20 minutes until Sky Song begins.  This gives the audience a chance to grab a final drink, take a quick toilet stop and settle down onto rugs, beanbags and chairs to wait for the drones to start.

Sky Song is the world’s first feature-length drone show bringing to life Indigenous stories through imagery, poetry, language and song.  From the story of how the River Murray was created and the formation of the Milky Way, to how the First Nations peoples hunted and gathered for survival, this show is unlike anything we’ve seen before.  

The first part of the show acknowledges Kaurna people as First People of this country here in Adelaide, the importance of honouring all First Nations people and connection to country. The drones above fly in and out of formation creating different shapes, animals and words while the screens below help to visualise the stories voiced through surround sound speakers.

This large scale project features more than 300 drones and what is believed to be Australia’s biggest screen projection – 70 metres long and 50 metres high.  Combining the ancient history of First Nations storytelling with the latest cutting-edge technology is such a clever way to educate our children about the importance of our diverse culture.  

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The drones are nothing short of spectacular.  The incredible artistic formations high in the sky are mesmerising to watch and the accompanying stories of our First Peoples are deeply thought provoking. Despite the breeze the drones hovered and moved into place seamlessly and the sound quality was outstanding for a large scale outdoor event. 

Sky Song covers topics such as belonging and connection to Country, land rights, the Stolen Generation and the hopefulness of reconciliation. There are messages and lessons to be taught in every story.  Hearing that before occupation there were five hundred language groups existing harmoniously and telling us that now is the time to listen, the seriousness of this event can not be ignored.

Play & Go Tips

Leconfield and Richard Hamilton Wines is approximately 40 minutes drive from Adelaide.   If you have the time it’s a good idea to plan on arriving when the gates open at 6pm.   Allow yourself time to park and walk to the venue – quite a long distance from the carpark!  A pull along cart would be useful for carrying chairs, rugs, food and drinks and a pram for tired little legs.  The road is rocky and dusty so flat, closed in shoes is advisable.  The weather will cool down so check the forecast and bring extra layers of clothing and blankets.

Once you are through the gates you can find a spot to set up on the grass in front of the screen.  There were lots of groups enjoying picnics brought from home, or you can buy dinner from one of the food trucks on site. Options include burgers, tacos, nachos, hot dogs, loaded hot potatoes and fries, Boost juice, popcorn and fairy floss.  There is also a vegan food van and a bar selling wine, beer and soft drinks (alcohol can’t be brought into or out of the venue).  

When it comes time to pack up and leave, expect a long line of cars as everyone heads home.  We turned right out of the car park (most cars were turning left) and made our way to the main road fairly quickly.

Our family group of 10 people ranged from 8 to 72 years old and we all enjoyed Sky Song – it was a very special night that will leave us deep in thought for some time.  Our only minor criticism would be the very long walk from the carpark (you can request to park closer if you have a valid permit) and the show felt very short (30 minutes) – we would all have loved it to be longer.

The centrepiece of this year’s Adelaide Fringe, Sky Song, is on until Sunday 20 March 2022 at Leconfield and Richard Hamilton Wines in McLaren Vale.  

Sky Song Show Schedule:

  • 6pm – Gates open – please arrive early allowing for traffic
  • 7pm – Catch a surprise Fringe act* – Food trucks and Leconfield and Richard Hamilton Wine available
  • 8pm – No entry permitted to the site due to Civil Aviation Regulations
  • 8:10pm – Sky Song projections begin
  • 8:30pm – Drones launch – Please be sure to be in the site atleast half an hour before Drones launch
  • 9pm – Show ends

Be seated for 8pm show start. Drones Launch: 8.20pm

*Our ‘surprise Fringe act’ was a talented solo guitarist who sang some beautiful songs – they were positioned at the very front, right hand side of the screen.  

Please check out the event info page for FAQ’s, site map and show program here.


Warning: Sky Song contains cultural stories which may be sensitive to members of the Stolen Generations and their descendants. To support children and people with their learning, Adelaide Fringe encourages audiences to access guiding resources from the Healing Foundation and Reconciliation Australia, made available on their website in February.

Important Information: This event is taking place at one or more venues that require proof of double vaccination upon entry. Please check the performance listing for the vaccination icon ahead of purchase.

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For more information and all enquiries please visit the Adelaide Fringe website.

At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.

Image Source: all photos by Play & Go


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