After its two-year hiatus due to COVID, Firelight Festival returned to Docklands to resounding success last month with record crowds eclipsing the numbers most recently seen in 2019.
Beginning Friday July 1 on a picture-perfect Melbourne winter night, the neighborhood buzzed from NewQuay to Victoria Harbor as fire twirls, roving performers, musicians and light shows entertained the huge crowds.
With more traffic reported to have visited Firelight’s website than Moomba’s prior to the event, as many as 95,000 people attended the three nights, a 20% increase over 2019 figures.
The City of Melbourne reported that pedestrian activity near NewQuay over the weekend was up 1069% from the previous week and 59% from Firelight Festival 2019.
And while Friday night was supported by Carlton v St Kilda at Marvel Stadium, the highest activity recorded was Sunday July 3, with evening activity up 2857% on the previous week and 40 % higher than the last night of Firelight 2019. Festival.
The festival was a boon for traders all around Victoria Harbour, with over 30,000 evenly distributed nighttime crowds and perfect wintry weather blessing the neighborhood throughout the three nights.
NewQuay Cargo and Berth restaurant co-owner Jerry Dimas told Docklands News it was “fantastic to see Docklands firing again”.
“It was really positive; The berth was reserved and we had people waiting for tables all night at Cargo. A lot of our customers were new customers, which was really great,” he said.
“If we could run a few more events throughout the year that would be great. The police station is a better place when there are people everywhere.
Docklands Chamber of Commerce chief executive Shane Wylie described the festival as “an incredible success”.
“Firelight showed that Victorians still crave a well-run and engaging event,” Mr Wylie said. “Docklands saw all-time record crowds throughout the weekend, with Saturday night easily the largest in the precinct’s history.”
“Apart from the outstanding pre-event marketing, what we saw was word of mouth feedback generating organic excitement. Social media was filled with – ‘how good is this? And it’s free!’”
“It was beautiful to see crowds spreading all around the harbor and into nearby restaurants, bars and retailers. Obviously, an event like this is incredibly expensive to run, but wouldn’t it be great to see elements of the activation here all the time? »
“Amazing credit to the City of Melbourne team for running and hosting the best Firelight to date and another thank you to Development Victoria for continuing to support Docklands events.”
Deputy Mayor Nicholas Reece said the council was “delighted” with this year’s “record attendances” at the Firelight Festival, which he said “came back bigger and better than ever”.
“This is another example of our community wanting to get out of the house and into the city with loved ones as we continue to spend our record $34 million on events this year,” said Cr Reece.
“Festivals like this have immense ripple effects for our merchants, with the majority of visitors choosing to dine or shop in the city before or after their event.”
“Melbourne certainly does not hibernate during the winter, and as a council we are incredibly proud of our busy calendar of events which ensures our city thrives in the colder months.” •