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Has Floriade jumped the shark?

By Charlotte Harper 4 October 2016 27

Flower boxes

I’m feeling a little bit sorry for the organisers of Floriade this year.

They’ve had to deal with hideous weather, including some chilly periods (I saw snow on the Brindabellas yesterday) and heavy rain over several days causing them to close the site to the public for two days.

Has Floriade jumped the shark?

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They’re copping criticism for the smaller footprint of the event, which is something they couldn’t do much about given the National Capital Authority’s changed requirements.

Plant boxes arriving

The NCA’s new rules meant they had to move to a model of growing bulbs offsite and trucking them in, which has been an adjustment, albeit an innovative one.

Plant boxes in the lead up

They’re being accused of planting fewer bulbs than in previous years, which the organisers say is not true, though clearly the number of cloudy days we’ve experienced this spring will have impacted on the number of blooms peeking out of the flowerbeds.

Floriade daffodils

There are questions about why there was no Face of Floriade this year, and we’re trying to get an official answer on that.

Then there are complaints about the food. We had lunch in the food court and I agree, there wasn’t a lot to inspire. I found some decent salads in the corner, but the kids ended up with greasy fish and chips. Something like the noodle markets at Enlighten would be a big improvement on the offering.

Children painting Floriade's gnomes

All in all, though, I found just as much to delight in as in previous years. Gorgeous flowers, cute hand-painted-by-children garden gnomes, the megaslide, the Ferris Wheel and a new personal favourite: the talking lamp post.

Gnome art

I reckon the issue here is that for many of us, the concept itself is getting a bit tired. Tourists who are first, second or even third time visitors will probably be dazzled, but on visit number 29, a Canberran can hardly be blamed for feeling as though this is a flower show that’s jumped the shark.

How have you found Floriade this year compared to previous years? Has it jumped the shark? Did you get to Nightfest? How as that? What would you like to see organisers do differently in future years?

What’s Your opinion?


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Has Floriade jumped the shark?
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jrsubs 6:39 pm 08 Oct 16

It has become boring and insipid because, as happens EVERY time for EVERY one of Canberra’s festivals, the government attempts to monetise it, or reduce costs compared with the original successful formula.

Here is what made Floriade an original success:

Masses of flowers in an imaginative environment with no fences and the ability for all to wander at will and be amazed and absorbed.

What improved on the original:

Adding the sculpture competition and imaginative and fabulous entertainment including, at its peak in 2006(?), the performing group Strange Fruit ( https://www.flickr.com/photos/ozjulian/119101374/sizes/o/ ). The sculptures and good quality entertainment gave a whole new dimension to it.

What ruined Floriade:

Fencing the venue to support the paid evening sessions that always were mediocre. With the fence came the loss of the wonder of wander, the formalisation of the boundaries, less space for interesting components like the sculptures, a ridiculous set of LCD commercial tents, poor food and a poor food venue that did not make the most of the flowers.

Just go back to giving what the public want and stop counting beans. Assess things on their value to the show, not their value to ACT coffers. Trying to make direct profits on every aspect has ruined what were originally brilliantly successful festivals. The balloon fiesta is another example. And the Food and Wine fest.

dungfungus 8:50 am 08 Oct 16

creative_canberran said :

dungfungus said :

creative_canberran said :

rommeldog56 said :

It’s a major tourist attraction for Canberra too.

A display of massed flowers is amazing – just enjoy it. And its free.

People won’t come if it’s lame. And while they don’t charge you at the door during the day, Canberrans pay millions to put Floriade on.

And Canberrans pay millions to keep the arboretum afloat. It’s looking very lame at present.
Perhaps it needs to be covered in tulips.

By its very nature, the arboretum is an attraction whose vision will take time to literally grow. In the meantime, even while the trees are immature, you are starting to see some Autumn colour, and the visitor centre offers one of the best views of Canberra. And its popularity has helped prompt the National Botanic Gardens to get on with a redevelopment and expansion.

“Autumn colour?”

I think you may have been reading spin from a press release about 6 months old.

I wasn’t aware that the ACT Government had any control of the destiny of the National Botanical Gardens either.

creative_canberran 7:00 pm 07 Oct 16

dungfungus said :

creative_canberran said :

rommeldog56 said :

It’s a major tourist attraction for Canberra too.

A display of massed flowers is amazing – just enjoy it. And its free.

People won’t come if it’s lame. And while they don’t charge you at the door during the day, Canberrans pay millions to put Floriade on.

And Canberrans pay millions to keep the arboretum afloat. It’s looking very lame at present.
Perhaps it needs to be covered in tulips.

By its very nature, the arboretum is an attraction whose vision will take time to literally grow. In the meantime, even while the trees are immature, you are starting to see some Autumn colour, and the visitor centre offers one of the best views of Canberra. And its popularity has helped prompt the National Botanic Gardens to get on with a redevelopment and expansion.

dungfungus 3:40 pm 07 Oct 16

m.kelly said :

This was my first time to Floriade – I have wanted to attend this festival for 15 years! I moved to NSW last year so this year, my dream became achievable. However, I must say I was pretty disappointed. I feel that the scale of the media portrayal and the public interest that Floriade attracts, is quite misleading and, disproportional to the experience I had. I love flowers and color and was looking forward to what I believed would be a feast of these two beautiful things. I expected them to be combined in what I thought, was one of Australia’s leading tulip and flower exhibitions/festivals. The Bolwar Tulip Festival and Tulip Top Gardens I have to say, is what gave me that experience this year. It felt like the crucial focus had fizzled out at Floriade-perhaps a gradual decline over the last few years or so?? There was however, really great family entertainment/activities which was brilliant to see and the floral workshops held by the Floral Society were fantastic. I am positive there are many brilliant ideas that could be injected into Floriade. For me, I think it could be beneficial to invite and involve displays from LOCAL AND NATIONAL plant nursery/ floral/ gardening businesses & also key floral educational departments/schools. This would allow promotion of businesses while injecting more floral displays into the festival that will also come with the added component of learning and information.

The hipsters are looking forward to the day when Floriade serves pulled tulips.

The Tulip Top Gardens just north of Sutton are the best value going.
Free parking on site.
Only $16 entry (concession is $15) which entitles you to a free sausage sandwich and as many cups of tea/coffee as you wish.
Other food including Dutch pancakes at reasonable prices.
Plenty of seating and tables.
Magnificent permanent displays in established, purpose designed gardens.
Not too large.

For Floriade to survive it has to be in a permanent setting. It would also do better if it was run by private enterprise.

Maya123 1:16 pm 07 Oct 16

I went this year and it didn’t appear to me to be as good as other years, but I would think the rainy weather might have contributed a lot to that. I didn’t like the containers either. Perhaps the suggestion of some competition gardens might add to the interest. Also, more smaller coffee outlets perhaps spread about the gardens. This might reduce queues.

markb 12:19 pm 07 Oct 16

I went on a perfect day and really enjoyed the displays including the new ones in the transportable containers – very clever.
Jumped the shark? The whole thing feels just that bit tired in concept. Repetitious even! I’d take a look at the Chelsea Flower show with competitive gardens of different sizes and themes. That would be interesting.
As for location I can’t think of a better place. So why can’t the top end management just commit to Floride as one of our city’s and national cultural assets?
Thanks Mr Organ man for turning up. How delightful you were in this years location.

dungfungus 10:59 am 07 Oct 16

creative_canberran said :

rommeldog56 said :

It’s a major tourist attraction for Canberra too.

A display of massed flowers is amazing – just enjoy it. And its free.

People won’t come if it’s lame. And while they don’t charge you at the door during the day, Canberrans pay millions to put Floriade on.

And Canberrans pay millions to keep the arboretum afloat. It’s looking very lame at present.
Perhaps it needs to be covered in tulips.

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