LUMA light festival returns with $25 tickets

by Lauren Pattemore - Mar 01, 2023

After a Covid-19-induced hiatus, Queenstown’s large light festival LUMA is returning to the botanical gardens, this time with a $25 entry fee and an extra night added.

First introduced to the community seven years ago, the festival includes live music, illuminated art, interactive performances, and food available from local eateries. 

However, LUMA chairperson Duncan Forsyth says  "everything is different this year" with a new creative plan and an aim to take guests on a "sensory experience", with international performers coming to the event.

"We're creating different little worlds inside the gardens for people to explore."

LUMA is back 'in the deep, dark south' for five nights from the start of June, organisers say (Image: Facebook/LUMA Queenstown).

Event trustee Tim Buckley says ticketing and entrance fees are in place this year as the initial sponsorship and partnership funding to get the event established in the community has begun to drop off - it's at the point now where the event organisers are expected to stand on their own two feet.

Plus, there's rising costs associated with putting on events in the wake of Covid-19, Mr Buckley says. 

“The cost to transport a shipping container around New Zealand has doubled in that time." 

Ticketing will also allow the organisers to limit the number of people through the gate.

In previous years, some nights drew crowds close to 20,000 strong. Now, they're hoping to level numbers out across the five nights and limit damage to the gardens and reduce congestion.

“We agreed with the council to cap the numbers."

After the last event, they received feedback from wheelchair and mobility scooter users that the crowds of people made it difficult to get around and took this onboard with their future planning, Mr Buckey says. 

LUMA was free in its inaugural year (2016), then, over the years, a koha was introduced before ticketing came in 2021.

Ticket sales have gone live today, and Mr Buckley says there's plenty of demand, despite the price jump.

“We’ve sold well over what was expected."

He says it's good to see the community excited about the event.

Some tickets will be available through Happiness House and the Salvation Army for community members who'd otherwise struggle to pay the new ticket cost, and children 12 and under remain free, with a paying adult.

LUMA will be back this year from Thursday, June 1, to Monday, June 5.

Main image: LUMA event (Facebook)


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