Floriade is Australia’s largest flower festival and one of Canberra’s proudest achievements full of food, fun, entertainment and of course thousands upon thousands of those beautiful flowers. Floriade brings in a significant number of guests each year and is a major boost for the Canberra tourism industry, but where does its future lie?
Floriade began when two friends, horticulturalist Peter Sutton and his colleague, landscaper Chris De Bruine decided to put together a floral display to celebrate Australia’s Bicentenary and Canberra’s 75th birthday.
The inaugural Floriade was held in 1988 and was a smashing success. It was then decided Floriade would become Canberra’s yearly celebration of spring.
As we forge our way into Floriade’s 28th year, the festival’s future is unclear as rumours are swirling around the familiar venue host, Commonwealth Park, reclaiming the space to host more events throughout the year. An understandable move as preparations for Floriade, in particular the planting of the flowers, happens months before festival goers step foot on its soil. So, what does this potentially mean for Canberra’s beloved celebration of almighty flower power?
An idea put forward by the ACT Government was to split the festival across several venues to spread the love (and the wealth) brought in from Floriade visitors, giving other venues a chance to know the joys of hosting and to promote more Canberra areas to the rest of the country.
In business, it can be said that evolving and changing is what keeps you current and interesting. The Floriade we have grown to know and love has, at times, been thought of as slightly stale and headed in a dull direction despite its popularity. Perhaps getting the boot from Commonwealth Park operators could mean Floriade receives the revival it just might need!
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr expressed his love for Floriade of past and present and what the future may hold.
“Floriade has become one of the capital’s most successful major events, making a significant contribution to the ACT’s tourism industry. Floriade 2014 was the most successful on record, attracting the largest-ever crowd of 481,854 visitors and contributing $47 million to the ACT economy.
This year it will pay tribute to the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli through the theme of Reflection. The garden beds will depict iconic symbols such as the poppy, the Southern Cross, two-up and the famous slouch hat.
However Reflection is about more than just looking back – it is about celebrating our proud past and our vibrant, exciting present, while embracing a future full of brilliant possibilities.
As always, visitors to Floriade will be able to pick up gardening tips, watch cooking demonstrations, enjoy musical performances and keep the kids entertained with an exciting line up of entertainment. To ensure there is something new and different to see each week, the 30 days of activity will be programmed into four themed weeks: Stories, Pride, Connections and Harmony.
NightFest will also return with comedy, music, night markets, spectacular new lighting and an array of exciting activities guaranteed to keep crowds entertained.
Moving forward I’d like to see Floriade spread across the city. There are other areas of the city, such as Civic and Glebe Park that could also be part of Floriade in addition to the festival’s home at Commonwealth Park.”
If the Chief Minister is hoping for a change, there might be a good chance we will see it happen in the coming years. But, what will happen next year?
You will have to come back and find out. Canberra and Abode will be waiting with open arms.
Floriade will return to Commonwealth Park this year from Saturday 12 September until Sunday 11 October.
For more details, visit www.floriadeaustralia.com