'Lots of things are changing': Royal Canberra Show ticket prices cut
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'Lots of things are changing': Royal Canberra Show ticket prices cut

Ticket prices have been cut up to 40 per cent in a bid to attract more visitors to next year's Royal Canberra Show,  new chief executive Athol Chalmers has announced.

Mr Chalmers said he hadn't been to the show himself in 20 years, but attracting people like him and millennials was key to the show's future.

New Royal Canberra Show chief executive Athol Chalmers and chief horse steward Brooke Keir, with Izzie the horse and a cheaper ticket to next year's show.

New Royal Canberra Show chief executive Athol Chalmers and chief horse steward Brooke Keir, with Izzie the horse and a cheaper ticket to next year's show.Credit:Karleen Minney

"How do you get me to come to the show? I'm not going to go to the sideshow alley and buy a showbag, but if they have some nice entertainment on, local bands, local wine, local music, I'd probably come."

Food and entertainment must change, he said.

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He promised an increased focus on farm technology.

"There's a lot of great technology going on [in agriculture] behind the scenes," he said.

This year's show sparked a backlash for axing the woodchopping event and asking musicians to play for free.

Mr Chalmers said those decisions had been reversed. Woodchopping would return to the coming show, in February, and professional musicians would be paid.

Adults would pay $20 for entry to the show in February, down from $30 this year. Child and concession tickets had been cut from $18 to $12, and families would pay $50 instead of $72.

Prices are lower still online, Mr Chalmers said, and online ticket sales were now available.

Appearing on horseback, chief horse steward Brooke Keir handed Mr Chalmers an oversized ticket at Exhibition Park to mark the announcement on Thursday.

Mr Chalmers was confident the show would break even despite the reduced ticket prices.

"We're confident that, having done the numbers, with this reduction we can create generate the increased traffic that will make us meet the targets," Mr Chalmers said.

Mr Chalmers is the president of the Burns Club and chairs the Canberra Community Clubs group. He has been chief executive of the Royal National Capital Agricultural Society for two months.

More announcements about food and entertainment at the show would be made in the coming weeks based on community feedback, he said.

The Royal Canberra Show will be held at Exhibition Park from February 22 to 24, 2019.

Jasper is a reporter for The Canberra Times.

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