30 September 2010

Thoughts on Nightfest

| johnboy
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[First filed: Sep 29, 2010 @ 16:59]

nightfest [photo courtesy of ACT Tourism]

Floriade’s Nightfest took place over the weekend just gone and I was lucky enough to be invited.

Floriade by day is a known quantity. The sun shines. The brass band plays in a corner. The crowds stumble over the tripods of a hundred aspiring photogs.

One might have a cup of coffee.

Nightfest surprised me by being quite different.

It might seem obvious from the name but, well, it’s much more like a festival. Night also brings a whiff of menace which creates an un-nerving but very pleasant dissonance with the familiar and family friendly landscape of Floriade.

Throw in bars and contemporary music to get a radically different vibe.

The moist night air carries the scent of the thousands of tulips far better than the dry day as well.

When I got there at 6.20 a lot of people with tickets were all queued up waiting for the gates to open so it might be worth rolling up around 7 as long as you’re not planning on queuing for some of the specialty tents.

The lighting of the flower beds does not make them better or worse, but it does alter the perception of them dramatically.

But with all the wonder and magic it brings I almost want to shout “give me more”. Something fringey, a bit of carnivale.

And given the setting and that it’s at night why not have a light sculpture competition? Encourage more imaginations to run wild on the glorious canvas?

It’s a young event, there’s plenty of time to grow and they’re heading in the right direction.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what they do with it next year.

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I enjoyed it but the food selection was disappointing (the usual greasy affair was available, but even the meat pies had sold out by the time we decided to get dinner. Why not diversify and expand a little? Make it a feature of the nightfest?)

I agree it should also run longer than only a few nights.

The “whiff of menace” might be enhanced with a few monsters amongst the trees. Thinking “where the wild things are”

Inappropriate2:40 pm 30 Sep 10

I went along this year: it was my second time going.

Overall I think there’s lots of room for improvement. I think there needs to be lots to see and do: I found myself wandering around looking for something to see or do.

Pyro and the Flamettes – the fire twirlers we excellent

grunge_hippy said :

it should be free and throughout the whole run of floriade, not just a few sessions.


and lose the fences. back when i were ‘lad, floriade were open and free and early evenings strolling through the gardens among the heady scent of hyacinth is among my fonder memories…

More light sculptures like the umbrellas would be good, I’m sure there are many budding artists out there who work with light.

More performers would be good, but I’m expecting that would also copme at a cost, either of higher entry or cuts elsewhere.

My other gripe is, I’d like some raised viewing platforms, they don’t have to be high, but high enough to get a good view of the flower beds.

luther_bendross11:12 am 30 Sep 10

I went on the weekend and I think JB nailed my sentiments. There is a certain sinister feeling to the night and I love it. The umbrella pathway was really well done. I’d like to see more though, and whilst I acknowledge that it’s a family friendly affair, they could make it a really good night out for the adults by providing some more live music and a Wig and Pen stall. I don’t want a freaking cosmopolitan thankyou.

Woody Mann-Caruso11:01 am 30 Sep 10

Everybody wants masks and stiltwalkers and street theater until it arrives, and then it’s ‘oh god, not more cringey masks and stiltwalkers and street theater’.

Expo 88 called, it wants its commedia dell’arte troop back.

Muttsybignuts10:33 am 30 Sep 10

Nightfest was great. It just needs to be stuffed with lots more to do and see. A complete visual overload.

I live in Macgregor9:32 am 30 Sep 10

Nice review JohnBoy – liked it so much have tweeted about it! (with a link to your review) 🙂

My better half and myself went to the Short Film screening last Thursday and enjoyed it very much .
The Fire Twirlers were great to …

I loved it! The fairy floss, view over the lake from the giant wheel. The fire twirlers (OMG – AMAZING!). Lovely cocktails, beautiful lights etc. We will most definately be going back.

in terms of fire-based entertainment, a few twirlers doesn’t beat last year’s burning musical chinese pirate ship.

But I agree, more roving entertainment is required if they want to keep calling it a ‘fest’.

The fire twirlers performed about 5 shows during the night in 3 different locations, you can see quite a few photos of the shows at http://www.flickr.com/photos/d-eye/sets/72157625034849946/

I also have a few general nightfest photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/d-eye/sets/72157625044828874/

Free Garniere stuff FTW
It was pretty good experience although that wait took 40 minutes….totally WORTH IT
Also It needs to go longer than 10:30, I barely had time to watch the Fire Juggling Guy and directions were not very clear.
But there is potential to expand more and involve more activities, its called Fest for a reason.
Also I like them to change the name to something like Nytefest – looks and sounds cooler 🙂

grunge_hippy7:39 pm 29 Sep 10

it should be free and throughout the whole run of floriade, not just a few sessions.

Johnboy I pretty much agree with your post. Nightfest has some good potential, but does need something extra to make it great. There are a lot of people there, so there is scope for it to expand.

“Something fringey, a bit of carnivale.”


Masks, costumes, revellers, dancing, more food stalls… Indeed, the Nightfest could be a lot more diverse than it is right now.

But you’re right, it is a distinctly different way to see Floriade, and I’m pleased they’re running this option as well. Is that “fire organ” contraption still there this year?

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