'Needing public support': 'Hakitekura', by Jeff Smith, features in this year's Luma light festival. PICTURE: STEPHEN JAQUIERY


Organisers of Queenstown’s popular Luma light festival intend raising ticket prices and limiting numbers to ensure the event’s survival.

At this year’s festival in the Queenstown Gardens, over Queen’s Birthday weekend, attendees had to pay for the first time — a nominal $5.

Next year, there’ll probably be three price tiers — $10, $15 and $20 — though kids will still
go free.

Organising committee chairman Duncan Forsyth says the event’s ‘‘at a bit of a crossroads,
where ticketing has to be our financial model’’.

Event funding they’d had from the likes of council and Central Lakes Trust is drying up, while they can’t continue to expect in-kind business support given the economic climate.

Yet at the same time, he says, running costs continue rising, including those related to Covid requirements.

‘‘We’ve got to a point where people can vote with their feet.

‘‘If they don’t want to go to a world-class event for the cost of a burger and fries, or three
coffees, then they’ll tell us, and we can stop it.

‘‘We’re really looking for the public to support us and go, ‘yes, we’ll help you’.’’

Tickets would most likely range from an earlybird to last-minute, however Forsyth says they’d look after those financially hard-up.

He’s hoping tickets will be released before Christmas.

For the first time, organisers are also set to limit numbers next year to about 10,000 a

That’s in part due to Covid regulations, but also to improve everyone’s experience.

‘‘We know people are comfortable with [10,000], any more than that is starting to get

This year, about 60,000 people attended altogether over the four nights.