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‘Nieergoo – Spirit of the Whale’ set to soar over Maiwar during Brisbane Festival this September

Written by Sue Osborn

Sue Osborn is Skyshows' Head of Flight Operations and Chief Remote Pilot. She has more than 15 year's experience across uncrewed systems, predominately from her time as a Mission Commander and Flight Instructor within the Australian Army's premier uncrewed systems Unit, 20 Regiment. Sue now uses her significant Defence experience in the civilian sector to promote flight safety and excellence.

This article was originally published by National Indigenous Times here.

Brisbane Festival will mark a huge milestone as it presents the world premiere of “Nieergoo – Spirit of the Whale” on September 2-3.

Presented by The Star Brisbane, the event showcases a mesmerising drone performance, featuring 400 choreographed drones illuminating the skies above Maiwar (Brisbane River) with The Queens Wharf providing the backdrop.

This drone display pays tribute to a 65,000-year-old Dreamtime story, creating a captivating celebration of Indigenous culture and storytelling.

From vantage points at South Bank and Brisbane’s CBD, the inaugural drone show of the Brisbane Festival provides a journey through Meanjin Brisbane’s extensive 65,000-year history.

Guided by Traditional Owner and storyteller Shannon Ruska, the three-dimensional multicolour drone performance is enhanced with visuals and an original score composed by Guy Webster of Brisbane.

The free presentations above Maiwar draw attention to the Neville Bonner Bridge and Queen’s Wharf Brisbane precinct.

This drone show complements the Festival’s renowned event, Riverfire by Australian Retirement Trust, scheduled for Saturday, September 2.

Brisbane Festival Artistic Director, Louise Bezzina said the premiere production shared an ancient story of creation, Country and culture.

Nieergoo – Spirit of the Whale is a dazzling way to kick off a bright and joyous Brisbane Festival,” Ms Bezzina said.

“I am so delighted to present this Brisbane Festival world-first, self-determined First Nations’ work which is sure to captivate and entertain audiences of all ages and backgrounds.”

The Star Entertainment Group Managing Director and CEO, Robbie Cooke said it’s a privilege for The Star Brisbane and Queen’s Wharf to provide the backdrop for such a spectacular and vibrant cultural sky show.

“We are proud to be involved in the Brisbane Festival’s world-first Nieergoo – Spirit of the Whale supporting First Nations and local artistry as a driver of community connection and local tourism,” Mr Cooke said.

Leaders in sustainable aerial entertainment, Skyshow will orchestrate each performance from a barge in the Brisbane River, supported by fellow Queensland-based company, Aviassist.

Skyshows Managing Director Andrew Crowe said it was a huge honour to stage Brisbane Festival’s very first drone light show.

“It’s been a huge undertaking, organising and choreographing that many drones but I know people will love it. Trust me, it’ll be an unforgettable experience,” Mr Crowe said.

Aviassist Managing Director Ross Anderson is equally excited to play an important role in Brisbane Festival history and said Nieergoo – Spirit of the Whale would elevate the much-loved Riverfire by Australian Retirement Trust.

“Riverfire is known around the world for its incredible firework display but these drone light shows really bring a ‘wow’ factor to crowds,” Mr Anderson said.

“They basically ‘dance’ across the night sky – it’s really something to behold.”

Mr Ruska and Tribal Experiences have merged the past with the present to tell a timeless Dreamtime tale using cutting-edge technology.

“These lands have not seen anything like this before so I invite everyone to experience Nieergoo – Spirit of the Whale and become part of Meanjin Brisbane’s history – both new and ancient,” Mr Ruska said.

“This spectacular show will see 400 drones dancing above the Brisbane River in beautifully choreographed 3D formations including enormous native Australian animals, all set to mesmerising music.”

View more on the Skyshows blog

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