Organisers have swung back at residents who claim they were “ripped off” from a lack of lights at Wagga’s first attempt at illuminating the city.
What was expected to be an Easter weekend of light and colour left residents disappointed, with demands for refunds of the $10 entry fee.
Organiser Tim McMullen defended the volunteer-run, privately-funded event, promising to deliver a bigger and better event on Sunday night.
“We want to show people they weren’t ripped off and there is value for money,” Mr McMullen said.
“There was also a lot of amazing comments but we will take the criticism, address the issues and come back with a better show.”
Illuminate visitors took to Facebook to express their disappointment at Wagga’s first attempt at the event.
Resident Leanne Frow gave the festival a big thumbs down.
“You have embarrassed Wagga with your very ordinary light display,” Ms Frow said.
“False advertising. I will not be surprised if some poor bugger is injured stumbling around in the dark.”
Residents took a shot at the lack of light installations and claimed the Wagga beach path was not sufficiently lit.
Mr McMullen said despite negative feedback, more than 5000 people headed to the event to watch Wagga light up.
“Tonight we will have two more lasers, another projection to fill in the gaps and the path along the riverbank will be completely lit up,” Mr McMullen said.
“Unless you’re directly involved it can be hard to appreciate the time, money and work that goes into this sort of event – it was our first go.”
Organisers have invited visitors to return as a show of goodwill, asking people to present any proof of purchase at tonight’s event, for a free entry.
Wagga resident Brooke Gibbo said she was not put off by the negative feedback, excited to support the event.
“Everyone whinges that there is nothing to do in Wagga, how about thumbs up for them having a go and trying,” Ms Gibbo said. “Trying is what should be recognised.”