There will be more than the standard Instagram-worthy moments when Floriade’s dark side lights up at NightFest tonight.
More than 5000 awe-inspiring lights will illuminate the flowerbeds, along with two interactive lighting installations that are sure to set social media buffs alight with opportunities to capture the many unique angles on offer.
Created by internationally renowned lighting specialists Mandylights, director and designer Richard Neville said one of the installations, Framed, features a series of 20 towering picture frames while Spheric featured flashing lights set to a soundtrack.
“Framed is covered in thousands of pixels of LED lights which create a stunning tunnel,” Mr Neville said.
“All of it is set to music with floral themes to each of the songs, so this stunning display will light up Floriade in an Australian-first installation of the 60-metre long artwork.
“Spheric is a new installation with a 15-metre wide dome with more than 3000 lights that are also set to music.”
Mr Neville said there are just as many different photo opportunities as you walk around and capture reflections into the lake that surrounds it.
He said the planning took at least two months’ preparation and testing before installation of the NightFest’s two feature interactive lighting displays.
“It’s taken a lot of very long, cold nights for our team to get it all ready.
“We want people to be able to experience all of the different aspects and find as many different angles as they possibly can.
“It’s definitely bright and bold and colourful and we really just try to make it fun for everybody,” Mr Neville said.
“There are a couple of really amazing rainbows down near Nerang Pool, so you can get some great photos looking back on the reflections there too.”
The bulbs in the gardens complement the lightbulbs that bring a whole new light to Floriade’s theme of a ‘world in bloom’.
There will also be lots of pop-up performances, markets and cuisines from around the world.
Live music on Stage 88 is headlined by The Veronicas, Busby Marou and Electric Fields.
Sunday night will see the return of Comedy NightFest with back-to-back laughs featuring Urzila Carlson, Dave Hughes, Becky Lucas, Sam Taunton, Guy Montgomery and The Stevenson Experience.
Canberra comedian Anthony Tomic will join the headliners with what he calls his ‘deadpan’ approach to comedy.
He hails from Melbourne but says Canberra is definitely home now and he’ll feel comfortable among the doyens of Australian comedy.
“I’m pretty awkward but genuine,” Tomic says. “I’ll share a few true stories and a little bit about my life and probably poke fun at my parents as well.”
Tomic has a public service background but says there is nothing funny about that, so he has been honing his comedy routine over the past four years.
“I’ve done a few festivals such as the Canberra Comedy Festival and in Goulburn and Sydney as well, so I’ve just been getting around as much as I can.
“It’s a really great community here; I think the Canberra comedy scene really punches above its weight.”
He said performing at NightFest is a great opportunity that highlights the comedic talent in the area.
“This year it’s me performing and next year, it might be another local, so it’s a really great opportunity that I won’t be taking lightly, but at the same time, I’m just trying to be funny as much as I can.
“In terms of crowd size, this is definitely going to be my biggest gig so far.”
Tomic said he finds the act of giving flowers funny.
“I think that flowers are quite happy to be in the ground and alive, so I find the act of giving them to be quite dark,” he said.
That said, Sunday night’s comedy festival at Floriade will be a highlight of the four days of NightFest, which also boasts an array of local food producers, beer brewers, spirit and winemakers who will be shining a light on Canberra.
Floriade NightFest is open each night from 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm until Sunday.