Crowds draw criticism at Lantern Festival

LIT UP: Ten new lanterns will feature at this year's festival

About 55,000 people turned out for the weekend’s Christchurch Lantern Festival.

But it has faced widespread criticism with reports large crowds meant people couldn’t see the attractions.

Otago Daily Times assistant editor Paul Gorman wrote in his column What’s With That? that the experience of being “crammed” into Cathedral Square for the first time in seven years was “just hideous”.

“We saw two lanterns. People were tripping over cable guards in the dark, there were no signs that I could see pointing you in the right direction and it was really risky for cyclists and pedestrians trying to get into the Square safely around cars, road cones and barriers,” he said.

“I can understand the thinking behind holding it in the recovering central city as a way of drawing in the crowds, but it simply didn’t work. Perhaps Hagley Park would be the better option.”

ChristchurchNZ chief executive Joanna Norris said all the feedback the promotion’s agency received about the event would be used to shape next year’s festival.

“Some people found it was too busy. We will work to ensure people can move easily around the lanterns, food and entertainment.”

But she said it the festival reaped good benefits for central city businesses.

Original Sin duty manager Katie Wybrant said the restaurant had double the diners it usually did on a Sunday.

“Patrons were saying how good it was to see people back in the city. I’ve lived in Christchurch for a year now and this was the busiest it’s ever been. It will be great to have more of these events, so people realise the city is back up and running.”




  1. Hi there,
    We have been going to the festival for 4 yrs now, my children absolutely love it, and look forward to it each year. However this year it was just awful, I understand the purpose of the location shift but we will not be returning sadly if this is to remain the festival location, having to be cramped up the entire time meant the children couldn’t see anything, felt unsafe and we missed the relaxed festival vibe from previous years.

  2. Loved the location and the set up. People were friendly and the event had a great vibe. Wish there were more of these occasions. Good to see people of all ages enjoying being together in the city. Only draw back was finding a cafe for end of night coffee between 9.30 and 10pm. Thanks C1 Espresso.