Light show: Kids and fairies at last year's LUMA PICTURE: LEIGH JEFFERY

The theme of this year’s Queenstown Gardens LUMA light festival is ‘explore’.

Organisers of the third annual festival, running June 1 to 4, are inviting people to go deeper into the woods to seek out the illuminated underworld.

“Once they cross the threshold of the Gardens, we invite visitors to fully explore and watch the Gardens come alive with nocturnal creatures and illuminated fauna,” LUMA’s Luke Baldock says.

Helping put many of the light, video and sound-based installations together is Auckland ‘pixel pusher’ Samuel Folkard.

He works for a company, Nocturnal Ltd, which is delivering two thought-provoking installations this year, and a collective, ‘Mapping Mondays’, which is behind another six.

“We’re doing a piece in the pond. It will be full-surround sound, full-surround video.”

Luma: Light artist Samuel Folkard, left, and LUMA trustee Dan Move

‘Mapping Mondays’ supported LUMA with five installations at each of the first two festivals – last year’s included Astral Fern, Time Traveller and Wise Roots

Asked if he sets out to scare people with his work, Folkard says: “It’s all about having those little moments where you want to draw people in out of curiosity.

“But then you want to give them a little bit of a surprise, or maybe a bit of a fright.”

Folkard praises the “amazing” goals of the festival trust, which last year was supreme award winner in the Trustpower Queenstown Lakes Community Awards.

Trustee Dan Move says the Gardens will be brought to life with light in a completely different way this time.

“The last thing we want to do is paint with the same colours we did last year.”

LUMA runs from June 1 till 4, 5pm to 10pm; entry’s free.