Crowds lined up at the gates for the opening of what is being billed as Floriade’s “Dark Side” on Thursday night – and they weren’t disappointed.
The rain held off for NightFest and the illuminated floral displays provided a spectacular backdrop for the after-dark event.
ACT Events executive branch manager Ross Triffitt said this year’s NightFest had been split into two themes – Unwind and Invigorate.
Unwind ran on Thursday (29 September) and will run again on Saturday 1 October, offering “chilled out sounds in a relaxing atmosphere”. Think massages, floral-infused gin and soft sounds.
Invigorate, on the other hand, will be held tonight (30 September) and again on the final day of NightFest (Sunday 2 October). It is billed as having “more of a party vibe with upbeat music and energy”.
“Floriade is very relaxing and then when night-time comes, NightFest just has a different atmosphere,” Mr Triffitt said.
“We’ve got two different programs running, and so far we’ve seen quite a lot of people engaging with the lights and loving the displays.
“It’s difficult to describe, but there’s just a different energy about the night-time activities.”
Although he couldn’t disclosure attendance figures yet, Mr Triffitt said Floriade 2022 was currently tracking ahead of its record attendance.
“Ticket sales have been very good and attendance is looking strong,” he said. “We’ve seen thousands of visitors enjoying over one million blooms during the day and now it’s time to put a spotlight on Floriade’s Dark Side.
“Commonwealth Park is dazzling with lights, exciting musical acts and roving entertainment.”
NightFest features laser lights, smoke haze effects and lit up garden beds with a range of colours, programmed to suit the different themes of each night.
“The majority of NightFest really comes to life through the programming and music is one of the major pieces in terms of changing the experience,” he said.
“On the Sunday night, I encourage people to come along if they think they’d enjoy listening to some nice jazz or string music, or would like to experience a massage and have a glass of wine.
“Saturday night is more of a party atmosphere, so there will be a lot more dancing, and a lot more upbeat music to really kind of change the moods and offer that unique experience.
“There’s just such a range of activities for everyone to participate in.”
Floriade runs until Sunday 16 October, from 9 am to 5:30 pm every day. After it officially closes, flower-lovers will get the opportunity to participate in the Great Big Bulb Dig.
“It involves up to 5000 people. Basically they purchase the Great Big Bulb Dig bag for $15 and they can fill it with bulbs to take home, to plant some of Floriade in their own gardens,” Ross said.
“All the money that gets collected is then going our charity partners, SEE-Change and Raw Potential.”
Tickets for NightFest’s Invigorate display on Saturday 1 October, and Unwind display on Sunday 2 October can be purchased here.
They are $25 for adults, $15 for children and concessions, and $65 for a family of four. Under fives enter free.
NightFest gates open from 6:30 pm and close at 10:30 pm.
Visitors are encouraged to use public transport wherever possible to get to and from the Floriade.
“On the weekends and public holidays, we’re running a shuttle bus from the Parliamentary Triangle where people can park there and also from the city,” Mr Triffitt said.
To find out more, visit Floriade.