DQ sticks to four-day fest

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Queenstown Winter Festival organisers will stick with a shortened format next year, with a new boss at the helm.

Reducing the festival’s duration from 10 days to four this year proved the right decision, Destination Queenstown boss Graham Budd says.

Next year’s  festival would centre around June 23 and 24.

“Before then we’ll be doing a thorough review and looking at ways we can fine-tune the event, which overall has been a great success.”

The festival ended on June 25, and its director for the past five years, Lisa Buckingham, has decided it was her last time at the helm.

When she got the go-ahead for this year’s shortened version, she was determined to “stay on to see it through”, Buckingham says.

“Now that it’s been the success we knew it would be, it’s the perfect time for me to pass on the responsibility of continuing to evolve the festival to someone else.”

Buckingham had been in favour of shortening the festival from early on in her tenure.

A busier but shorter programme meant the level of “energy on the streets” continued to stay strong for four days without flagging.

She intended to remain in the destination marketing and promotion field as it was her “professional passion”.

But the job was “all-encompassing”, and she planned to spend some time on personal pursuits, as well as helping her partner with his business.

The search for a new festival director will begin in a few weeks.

● An online survey on www.winterfestival.co.nz seeks feedback from festival attendees, participants, sponsors, local community groups and businesses. It closes on July 14.

Otago Daily Times