13 Jul 2016

Festival lights up Nelson

11:43 am on 13 July 2016

About 55,000 people attended Nelson's third Light Nelson festival over its four-night run and it has secured a place on the mid-winter calendar, organisers say.

Trust chair Brian Riley said the most popular night was Sunday when 15,500 visited - a more manageable crowd than the more than 30,000 who crammed into the Queens Gardens on one night alone at the event two years ago.

He said it "put a little bit of magic" into people's lives in the mid-winter, and got people out and about together.

Mr Riley said there were many people from out of town at the event, and while its role in attracting visitors was important, it was first and foremost a celebration for Nelson.

Many central city cafes, restaurants and bars had been exceptionally busy, he said.

"They've had a great weekend and many have done okay out of it. It all generated a bit of energy for the town."

It was a diverse crowd with many of those who attended would not normally engage with the arts, or have the opportunity to see a show such as the electronic synth band, Neon, with its spectacular digital imagery, he said.

The largely volunteer-run event had run within budget, Mr Riley said.

About 55,000 people attended the Light Nelson festival over its four night run and it has secured a place on the mid-winter calendar, organisers say.

Dancers knitted from fishing line are magically suspended above the duck pond in Nelson's Queens Gardens. Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal


About 55,000 people attended the Light Nelson festival over its four night run and it has secured a place on the mid-winter calendar, organisers say.

A student installation at Light Nelson attracted a lines of mesmerised children. Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

Light Nelson had around $300,000 to play with, half of which came from the Nelson City Council which had budgeted for the event through its long-term plan.

He said the guaranteed funding was leverage in seeking further funding.

"We've made sure we've tailored the event to fit the budget but there's a huge volunteer effort that goes into it.

"We can't say 'thank you' enough to our sponsors, the Luminaries, and our major funder the Nelson City Council for the support that enables us to keep Light Nelson free to the public.

"We also need to acknowledge the huge hours put in by the whole team in creating and delivering this event - the artists, the production staff and the volunteers who braved the cold to make everything flow smoothly."

The next show is planned for July 2018.

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