Canberra Show slashes ticket prices as part of bid to revive event

Ian Bushnell 7 December 2018 58
Royal National Capital Agricultural Society CEO Athol Chalmers announces the new Canberra Show ticket prices at Exhibition Park. Photo: George Tsotsos.

Royal National Capital Agricultural Society CEO Athol Chalmers announces the new Canberra Show ticket prices at Exhibition Park. Photo: George Tsotsos.

Organisers of the Royal Canberra Show have slashed ticket prices for next year as part of an opening gambit to arrest declining attendances and revive the struggling event.

Tickets will be 30 per cent cheaper than this year, with a further 20 per cent discount if purchased online, as well as $5 a day for school students.

The Royal National Capital Agricultural Society will also introduce a suite of new features while reinforcing the show’s traditional elements such as bringing back the popular woodchopping.

Show entry will now cost $20 for an adult, $12 for children and $50 for a family (up to 2 adults and 2 children), compared with the 2018 prices of $30, $18 and $72 respectively.

The Society’s new CEO, Athol Chalmers, said organisers had listened to the community to make the show, to be held on 22-24 February, more affordable.

“In addition to this significant price reduction we will also be offering all Canberra and regional schools the opportunity for their students to attend the show on Friday 22 February 2019 for $5 per student,” he said.

“What better way to learn about farming and horticulture than by seeing the animals, observing farming demonstrations, watching agricultural competitions and having the opportunity to ask questions of farmers about their produce and their animals?”

Mr Chalmers said the 2019 Show would have some new and exciting events and innovations, with further announcements coming on parking, community engagement, food and drink offerings, technology and free entertainment.

He said it was no secret that the show had struggled in recent years with falling attendances but it was fundamentally a good event, and the Society remained on a solid financial footing after successful events at EPIC such as the Home and Leisure Show and the National Wine Show.

This year’s Sunday washout at the Canberra Show had been a blow but he believed there was great potential for more events to be staged at EPIC to protect the Society against unforeseen weather events.

“It’s a prudent thing for us to do to have a diverse range of events with different revenue streams, instead of relying on the show. There are lots of events we could run out here at EPIC. It’s a great facility so I think we can do more things out here, both on the grounds and in the pavilions,” he said.

Mr Chalmers said the Society had been seeking advice and inspiration from other shows around Australia, particularly the Royal Easter Show in Sydney.

One event it had staged successfully was the Farm of the Future, highlighting innovation and technology in the agricultural sector.

Mr Chalmers said the core of the show would still be the same, but the Society was looking to add some different entertainment options and new display areas.

He was talking to several organisations about staging new events in the arena beyond those such as the traditional precision cars, as well as investigating the possibility of live music in various areas of the site, including the bars.

He said the show was also about bringing the Canberra community together and highlighting its different aspects and he was keen to have an area set aside for a multicultural precinct.

Show patrons can also expect a wider range of food and drink at next years’ show. “People think about a show as Dagwood dogs and chips but people’s tastes have changed so we need to have some better offerings than that,” Mr Chalmers said.

Tickets are now available on the Canberra Show website

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58 Responses to Canberra Show slashes ticket prices as part of bid to revive event
A_Cog A_Cog 10:43 am 10 Dec 18

These jokers still don’t get it. $62 to $74 for a family with 3 or 4 kids just to walk through a gate is still too much. Then we’re supposed to cop a further gouge for rides, food, showbags – that we have to buy more of those things coz we’ve got more kids…

How about: $50 for a family pass, irrespective of how many kids you’ve got.

Or just fess up and cop to this not being family friendly at all. We’ve already got Barr’s hand in our pockets every day. For these guys to have a go too is just not on.

    Tim Benson Tim Benson 11:16 pm 11 Dec 18

    Good point. The family pass is now $40 online (two adults and two kids) not $62 or $74. Kids under six are also free. If you have more than two kid between the ages of 6 and 16 give me a call and I’m sure we would be able accommodate you with the Canberra Show Family pass. We are trying to make the 2019 Canberra Show as accessible as possible. My mobile is 0402900402. Call me if you fall into this category. We want you and your family at the 2019 Canberra Show.

g210 g210 9:56 am 10 Dec 18

Here’s a suggestion. Provide “pass -outs” so people can leave and come back on the same day.

Pandy Pandy 11:48 am 07 Dec 18

What no wood chops?!

Or horseies?

No go.

What they should do is build in a hot rod car event too with the show.

Oh wait………..

    Tim Benson Tim Benson 11:19 pm 11 Dec 18

    Wood chop is back baby. The team at the Canberra Show has recorded the outrage and had brought wood chop to the 2019 Canberra Show.. Couldn’t agree more that wood chop is essential at the show – just as Dagwood Dogs, show bags and the farmyard nursery …

kiddus kiddus 8:34 am 07 Dec 18

I’d go again if they had a safe area for bicycle parking.

Daniel Duncan Daniel Duncan 7:05 am 07 Dec 18

Its cheaper to go to the movies with the family and buy food from the candy bar. Than go to the show..

    Daniel Duncan Daniel Duncan 9:29 am 07 Dec 18

    Stephen candy is sold at the candy bar.

    Peter Shands Peter Shands 6:16 pm 11 Dec 18

    Can’t pat an animal or even smell one in the movies. Totally different experiences. We always came in the north gates with the kids ... right to the livestock rather than right to the rides and showbag stalls. Camel rides, pony rides, sheep, cattle, dogs, yard dogs ... all great stuff.

    Daniel Duncan Daniel Duncan 8:40 pm 11 Dec 18

    Peter I was comparing the cost of going to the show and going to the movies. Not the experience of kids patting fauna.

    Tim Benson Tim Benson 11:28 pm 11 Dec 18

    Maybe we could have cute nursery animals roaming around local cinemas during the show period ... that would be fun!

    Daniel Duncan Daniel Duncan 12:28 am 12 Dec 18

    That would be interesting.

Mark Ellis Mark Ellis 11:06 pm 06 Dec 18

Another option is The Bungendore Show on 27 January. A great day out with parking, entertainment and activities for kids all included for the low price of $25 for a family ticket. The Show offers the full compliment of country show competition sections in all traditional areas as well as the largest Dachshund racing event in the Southern Hemisphere.

    Tim Benson Tim Benson 11:21 pm 11 Dec 18

    I fully encourage everyone to go to the fabulous Bungendore Show and the great Royal Canberra Show in 2019.

John Moulis John Moulis 8:03 pm 06 Dec 18

I am a member of a Facebook group about Australiana and they posted a picture of woodchopping at the Royal Easter Show in the 1980s.

There were a range of respondents talking about the Ekka, Royal Melbourne Show, relatives and friends who had been involved in woodchopping, et al.

I posted that this year’s Royal Canberra Show did not have woodchopping and they didn’t believe me. I had to convince them that – yes – there was indeed *no* woodchopping in Canberra this year, and I had to link to a newspaper article to prove it. This prompted a range of sneering comments ranging from “Typical Canberra” to “An agricultural show without woodchopping is like a Peach Melba without the peaches”.

So it’s good to see commonsense making a comeback this year and the woodchopping back in its rightful place.

Really, WTF were they thinking?

Nicole Hartwig Nicole Hartwig 5:52 pm 06 Dec 18

Exactly parking is a big issue too

The fees they charge stall holders is over the top , so exspensive

After last year so many stall holders said they would not return to Canberra show

    Donna Schwass Donna Schwass 5:58 pm 06 Dec 18

    Nicole Hartwig very true.

    Will be interesting to see how many stall holders return after last year.

    Paying $900 (for three days) a small 3x3 site is beyond a joke. And that being in the dog yards. Lucky we spoke up and demanded to be moved.

    The Canberra show society needs to rethink, take a look at Queanbeyan show society fees. 3x3m stall paying $ 75 for Saturday and Sunday trade days.

    Nicole Hartwig Nicole Hartwig 6:00 pm 06 Dec 18

    Donna Schwass and made more money at Queanbeyan show

    Donna Schwass Donna Schwass 6:01 pm 06 Dec 18

    Nicole Hartwig 👍 definitely worth our time.

Donna Schwass Donna Schwass 4:30 pm 06 Dec 18

Does that mean cheaper stand rates too?

Nigel Page Nigel Page 4:09 pm 06 Dec 18

No Wood Chop = No Go.

    Meg Ferguson Meg Ferguson 4:59 pm 06 Dec 18

    Nigel Page "The Royal National Capital Agricultural Society will also introduce a suite of new features while reinforcing the show’s traditional elements such as bringing back the popular woodchopping."

    Margaret Freemantle Margaret Freemantle 9:47 pm 09 Dec 18

    Meg Ferguson and I sincerely hope the Sheaf tossing! Have never been and nor have the group of 30 I went with when they stopped it, in case something MIGHT happen

    Peter Shands Peter Shands 6:10 pm 11 Dec 18

    Sheaf tossing sounds good

    Tim Benson Tim Benson 11:33 pm 11 Dec 18

    Wood chop is absolutely back!!!

Roberta Lynne Anning Roberta Lynne Anning 4:08 pm 06 Dec 18

About time.

Bethany Williams Bethany Williams 4:00 pm 06 Dec 18

Thank God for that. It’s become so ridiculously expensive to go.

Sonia Burke Sonia Burke 3:17 pm 06 Dec 18

A better time of the year would also help..generally dusty and stinking hot.

    Tim Benson Tim Benson 11:22 pm 11 Dec 18

    Read you there. Hopefully we can cool you down with some water, shade and great food and entertainment in 2019. Stay tuned!

Donna Venables Donna Venables 3:05 pm 06 Dec 18

Yay bout bloody time. It was way too expensive to get in and then the costs once inside are horrendous. I have not been able to afford to go for several years. But there is still no Pensioner discounts?

    Karen Cowan Karen Cowan 4:43 pm 06 Dec 18

    Donna Venables maybe the concession tickets cover pensioners aswell.

    Donna Venables Donna Venables 5:51 pm 06 Dec 18

    Karen Cowan. They didn’t have concession prices when I asked a few years ago. Also didn’t accept the Companion card!

    Julie Lamont Julie Lamont 12:20 am 10 Dec 18

    Pretty sure they have concession, I'm pretty sure I've bought them before - but still insanely expensive

    Peter Shands Peter Shands 6:13 pm 11 Dec 18

    One thing to consider is the different between expensive and costly I think. The costs to run a big (maybe a giant size) event like this are huge. The RNCAS is a not for profit organisation with a basic charter of bringing country to city.

    is there enough rural flavour do you think?

    Tim Benson Tim Benson 11:53 pm 11 Dec 18

    Karen Cowan I would think that this is the case. But I'll check and post back here - pensioner is an interesting category these days. Does it mean anyone that receives support from the government, or are we talking about people of a certain age. Does this include self funded retirees? These are all important questions ... the Royal Canberra Show team for 2019 is all about making the show as accessible as possible for all Canberrans ... we aim to remove as many barriers as possible. The show is of course not Government funded and is a not for profit organisation run by the Royal National Capital Agricultural Society. Let's work together to address some of these questions - my mobile is 0402900402.

    Donna Venables Donna Venables 11:56 pm 11 Dec 18

    Tim Benson blue pension card and companion card holders. Very interested to find out prices on this.

    Tim Benson Tim Benson 11:58 pm 11 Dec 18

    Donna Venables I'll get on in and get back to you tomorrow!!!

    Tim Benson Tim Benson 10:57 pm 12 Dec 18

    Sorry Donna crazy day - tomorrow.

    Liz Hampton Liz Hampton 7:23 am 13 Dec 18

    Tim Benson they only give concessions to ‘seniors’, students and disability.

    Tim Benson Tim Benson 10:42 am 13 Dec 18

    Liz Hampton I've checked and concessions are also available to all pensioners and companion card holders. I am getting the Canberra Show team to make this much clearer on the website, ticket page and social media - come one, come all - let's ensure the show is super accessible to everyone!!!

    Tim Benson Tim Benson 10:42 am 13 Dec 18

    Liz Hampton Hi Liz - wow this rain is something great! I've checked and concessions are also available to all pensioners and companion card holders. I am getting the Canberra Show team to make this much clearer on the website, ticket page and social media - come one, come all - let's ensure the show is super accessible to everyone!!!

    Tim Benson Tim Benson 10:47 am 13 Dec 18

    Karen Cowan Yes concessions for all pensioners and companion card holders!!!

    Donna Venables Donna Venables 12:35 pm 13 Dec 18

    Tim Benson thank you

    Liz Hampton Liz Hampton 4:23 pm 13 Dec 18

    Tim Benson good to know, but unfortunately the person on the ticket booth told me that they didn’t accept the blue cards as concession and I ended up not going.

    This was a couple of years ago though

    Tim Benson Tim Benson 9:22 pm 13 Dec 18

    Liz Hampton Bugger ... that's not good. You won't have a problem at the 2019 Canberra ActewAGL Royal Canberra Show.

Cass Proudfoot Cass Proudfoot 3:04 pm 06 Dec 18

They could also have a look at the parking chaos, and the insane and disorganised queues to get in to the event.

    Tim Benson Tim Benson 11:26 pm 11 Dec 18

    Yup announcements around parking coming. Also, if you haven't purchased your tickets online - 40% cheaper than 2018 (30% cheaper at the gate) - You can still purchase them online in the carpark and benefit from the discount ...

Amanda Fisher Amanda Fisher 2:39 pm 06 Dec 18

McGoogan Guy - we might actually be able to afford it next year now 💕 xo

Tiffany Gleeson Tiffany Gleeson 1:26 pm 06 Dec 18

Elisecia Mellish we should take the two big girls! As if that wouldn't be fun!!

Jenni Zimoch Jenni Zimoch 12:55 pm 06 Dec 18

Last time I went the parking was too far away and too expensive for a dirt field too.

Maybe once light rail is up and running it'll be better..


    Lexie Donald Lexie Donald 1:06 pm 06 Dec 18

    Nowhere to park to get onto the tram

    Jenni Zimoch Jenni Zimoch 2:28 pm 06 Dec 18


    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 6:24 pm 11 Dec 18

    That's what I would choose, bus to Civic and then take the light rail. The thought of driving and finding a park hadn't come into consideration.

    Tim Benson Tim Benson 11:23 pm 11 Dec 18

    Light rail will be fantastic when completed. But in the meantime please stay tuned for some great announcements around parking at the 2019 Canberra Show ...

Joanne Blake Joanne Blake 12:55 pm 06 Dec 18

This is a great move

Natasha Ackland Natasha Ackland 12:42 pm 06 Dec 18

A pity they’ve slashed so many horse events that many now go elsewhere to compete...

    Tim Benson Tim Benson 11:34 pm 11 Dec 18

    Hi there. Canberra Show is still the largest horse show in Australia with over 2500 entrants. Please call me on 0402900402 to discuss your concerns about horse events!

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