Second night of 'mosh pit' crowds at Christchurch light festival spark complaints video

STACY SQUIRES/STUFF

Christchurch's Night of D'Light opening night attracted a large crowd despite the threat of rain.

A second night of "rock concert" crowds at a popular Christchurch light festival has sparked more complaints, with one woman claiming her six-year-old child was trampled at the event. 

The Botanic D'Lights festival opened in Christchurch's Botanic Gardens on Wednesday, with about 30,000 people attending the second night and some complaining of long queues and "mosh pit" crowds at the Rolleston Ave entrance to the event.

About 25,000 people attended on Friday night, with similar complaints about large crowds and people surging to get into the attraction.

People were leaving before stepping foot inside on Thursday night. The glowing arc by the tree is the entrance.
JOELLE DALLY/STUFF

People were leaving before stepping foot inside on Thursday night. The glowing arc by the tree is the entrance.

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One woman said her six-year-old child was trampled on in the rush through the entrance gate on Friday night. She wrote on Facebook that she had to wait with her two children and a baby in a pram for 45 minutes at the entrance by the Canterbury Museum. She said that each time the gate was opened and people were let in "the force from the people behind was like that of a rock concert".

She said when the gate was opened "the pushing and rushing of [people] behind left my 6 yr old being trampled on before we could pick him up and carry him through and the pram being pushed and shoved."

Once inside, the path was slow moving.
STACY SQUIRES/STUFF

Once inside, the path was slow moving.

"Once in, the herds stood in front of each exhibit making it hard to see anything ... Did not find it enjoyable at all."

A spokeswoman for the Christchurch City Council said the attraction reached capacity by about 8pm on Friday and so the entrance gate had to be closed and only opened intermittently. She said more security staff and volunteers had been drafted in to help with the crowds.

"They haven't had any major issues. People have complained, but that is why they have put on more volunteers and security," she said.

The event reached capacity by 7pm on Friday night.
STACY SQUIRES/STUFF

The event reached capacity by 7pm on Friday night.

"They had to close the gates for five minutes at 8pm to reduce the crowds in the grounds. They had reached capacity in the grounds so they closed the main gate."

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"The gates close [for the night] at 9pm so you have to be there by 8.30pm to get in. It is best if people come before 7.30, otherwise they should expect queues."

Another woman wrote on Facebook that she took her two children to the event, but could not get in.

An estimated 30,000 people flooded into the Botanic D'Lights in Christchurch on Thursday night.
STACY SQUIRES/STUFF

An estimated 30,000 people flooded into the Botanic D'Lights in Christchurch on Thursday night.

"Walked to festival only to see venue at capacity and no show of getting in," she wrote on Facebook.

"Really disappointing for the kids ... Mammoth effort to go only to be turned away. [First] time ever had a problem going, but will steer clear in future me thinks."

This year is the first time the festival has included the Arts Centre, with 40 light and animation installations scattered through the Botanic Gardens and historic complex.

Amelia Marden said she sprained her ankle on Thursday night after being pushed as everyone "funnelled into one narrow path".

She said the crowd "resembled more of a mosh pit than a walk through the gardens".

 - Stuff

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