A recent “internationally acclaimed” light display at Australia’s brightest festival has enraged Sydney residents who have criticized the event for moving away from a “free” family night out.
Sellout global fame Lightscape premiered at Sydney’s Vivid on Friday at the city’s Royal Botanic Garden and is believed to attract huge crowds.
The experience boasts “glowing tree canopies filled with color” and invites guests to walk under the 2.1 km-long spectacle while taking in the soundscape and light works designed by local and international artists.
While tourists and wealthy Australians who visited the site on the first three nights of the two-month festival praised the show, not everyone was pleased with the “outrageous” entrance fees.
The garden will be closed for masses after 5 p.m., as Lightscape will be starting for ticket holders from 5.30 p.m.
Individual tickets start at $24 for a kid, $34 for an adult, and may cost as much as $128 for a family of four, based on when people attend.
Ticket costs are higher on peak nights between Wednesday and Sunday in comparison to off-peak nights on Monday and Tuesday.
There is also a $4 per person fee for visitors buying their tickets at the on-site box office, with those wanting to attend the event being recommended to purchase their tickets online.
The cost of a ticket goes from $34 and $44 for adults, dependent on whether it was bought online or not and if it is for peak or off-peak.
The marquee joins two other paid Vivid events, including a light performance at Taronga Zoo and a new installation beneath Wynyard Station.
While tickets are apparently “selling fast” according to feedback from the festival’s website, news that the once-free installation is now a paid event has disappointed some attendees.
“I couldn’t believe it! It used to be free to walk through that whole area; now they’re asking for – I think it was $40? The outrage,” one Sydneysider posted to Reddit, which resulted in numerous people sharing similar views.
“I really wanted to go see this but $40+ that’s robbery. It’s absurd. Maybe $10 I’d pay but over 40 you’re taking the p**s,” a second person said.
Another posted: “$128 for a family of four is pretty expensive, especially at a time like this.”
Similar views were heard on TikTok, where podcaster Sonny-Joe Flanagan shared a video of the Lightscape ticket pricing sign as enormous crowds gathered outside the Botanic Gardens.
“When everyone gets to Vivid this year, they charge $116 (for members and friends of the Botanic Gardens at the box office) to look at the lights and stuff, everyone’s so cranky,” he said.
In response, Noels Marie, Sydney Girl magazine editor, mentioned she was “so disappointed” in the pricing.
“Vivid was supposed to be an event for everyone to enjoy and a chance to have families enjoy a night out that wouldn’t be so costly,” she said.
Meanwhile, others objected to the inaccessible prices for seniors or concession card holders, and also the “crazy” cost for young children.
“I notice no price for concessions so if you’re old and on the pension you can’t afford it,” one woman remarked.
Another stated: “$28 for a three-year-old, how?”
But not everyone criticized the prices, with some stating that crowd control, additional light effects, and the work put into the display justified the price of the tickets.
“I thought it was expensive too but paid anyway; it was 1000 per cent worth it,” one Lightscape attendee remarked.
“Inside [it was] quiet, beautiful, well done with bars, marshmallow roasting fire pits and mulled wine. 10/10.”
“I went last night and honestly for $40 to enjoy the vivid experience without the wall-to-wall crowds that were in Circular Quay was entirely worth it,” another visitor added.
“It took us over an hour to go through the whole thing and felt like value for money to be honest.”
Vivid Sydney will run until June 17 and include more than 300 light, food, and music activations and events throughout the 23-day program, with the majority of its 50-plus light displays free to watch.
- Published By Team Australia News