Fairy land: A Luma light installation in 2018. PICTURE: CHE MCPHERSON


The lights have gone out on Luma 2020.

One of Queenstown’s biggest event success stories of recent years, the four-day festival of illuminated art, light sculptures and performance has been cancelled because of the coronavirus.

A media statement says the Luma Light Festival Trust, after spending the past 10 months “dreaming, planning, scheming and preparing” for the event, held at the Queenstown Gardens since 2016, it’s made the “difficult decision” to can it.

It was to run over Queen’s Birthday weekend, May 29 to June 1.

Trust members need to focus their energy on “looking after each other, our whanau, our businesses and the wider Queenstown community”.

“The government’s decision to impose restrictions on incoming visitors, and, more recently, to discourage large gatherings, is the right one and we fully support it.”

The event’s grown from 10,000 visitors four years ago to more than 50,000 last year, and was supreme winner at the Trustpower Queenstown Lakes Community Awards in 2017.

Trust chairman Duncan Forsyth says it’s a “huge blow to our family of artists, partners, fellow instigators and funders”.

“This is the beginning of the next chapter, and we aim to begin working on Luma 21 as soon as the time feels right for us and the wider community.”

All invoiced businesses will be refunded, and discussions have begun with the event’s major funders on a “rollover plan” for next year, Forsyth says.