Illuminate Adelaide: How Daniel Michael put together a winter wonderland

Last updated 08 Dec, 2022
From Gluttony at the Adelaide Fringe to the Lucky Dumpling Market at OzAsia, events guru Daniel Michael has been in the industry for more than 30 years. When the chance to run a winter wonderland event complete with an outdoor ice rink came about, he got his skates on to create the city an experience like no other.

The Basis for Base Camp

Daniel Michael, the brains behind Adelaide Fringe festival favourite Gluttony, always toyed with the idea of hosting a winter event. When there was an opportunity to create his own event with Illuminate Adelaide, he decided to get his skates on, quite literally.

This year, Daniel and Gluttony co-director Elena Kirschbaum are hosting Base Camp in Victoria Square/ Tarntanyangga — a winter village with a dedicated ice-skating rink.

“We heard there wasn’t going to be an ice-skating rink this year, so we made some inquiries, and someone suggested we talk to Illuminate Adelaide,” Daniel said. “We had a chat with them, asked them what they thought, and they said, ‘let’s do it and make it part of the festival’.”

The Illuminate Adelaide team added its Electric Playground ticketed events — two premiere installation works from South Australia's most innovative audio-visual artists — to the mix.

“Throw in some bars, food, drinks, open fires and undercover areas and then Base Camp really felt like it was supposed to be part of Illuminate (Adelaide).”

Base Camp Ice Skating Image Credit Frankie The Creative 5

Daniel has been the brains behind Gluttony at the Adelaide Fringe for the past 11 years and, four years ago, started the Lucky Dumpling Market as part of OzAsia.

He expanded Gluttony from a one-weekend food and wine event to a month-long celebration of the arts in the East Park Lands. The learnings from both events were applied to Base Camp, which he believes has contributed to the event’s success thus far.

“One thing we know that works in a space like that is to have a combination of free and ticketed events,” he said. 

“People can come and interact then just …. soak up the vibe, you know, without having to shell out any money. But then they can also go in and ice skate or see a show or whatever the case may be.” 

The concept has allowed him to have a “gradual turnover” of people, leading to a more relaxed experience.

Base Camp Orbit by Mapped and Motez Image Credit Frankie The Creative 2

The joy it brings

Mr Michael said it is important to sit back, relax and enjoy the fruits of his efforts when “all the pieces of the puzzle come together.” Even when problems were thrown at him, one after the other, seeing patrons smile and enjoy themselves was rewarding.

“The other night I was sitting down and having a tea and I was just watching people skate around and there was something hypnotic about it,” Mr Michael said. “It is an experience that we don’t see a lot in Australia, particularly outside, so I just sat down for ages.”

Mr Michael, a family man himself, loved watching families enjoy themselves at the event. “You see kids just squealing around in happiness because it is a new experience,” he said.

Illuminate Adelaide received funding through AEDA's Events and Festivals Sponsorship Program.

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Photo 1:  A skater at Base Camp inVictoria Square/ Tarntanyangga. Credit: Frankie the Creative
Photo 2: Orbit at Base Camp. Credit: Frankie the Creative