Time for a little muse on the Winter Festival fun and games


As we enter this changing of the seasons and temperature, it’s time to reflect on where we’re at, where we’re going, and y’know, poke the borax a little. 

Fest and Games combo? 

I’m looking forward to winter and Winter Festival at the end of June, but just wondering whether we should start rethinking the whole 10-day shebang, given the Winter Games – held every two years in August – now has its own associated 10-day festival as well. Winter Games has downtown awards ceremonies, live gigs, an adventure film fest, an opening and closing party. It seems entirely logical to combine Winter Festival with the Winter Games festival into one mega-event, doesn’t it? 

Festival date change? 

Sure, it’d mean a date change for Winter Festival every two years which has a 39-year history associated with the start of winter in the Wakatipu – and yes, one of its stated goals is to announce to the rest of the country and world that Queenstown ski slopes are open for business. But don’t we market the bejesus out of that anyway? 
Doesn’t everybody pretty much know that we’re open for winter business at the start of winter? Hello! 

Logistical nightmare? 

Okay, obviously, this would leave us a bit of a conundrum as to what to do about Winter Festival every second year when the Winter Games isn’t on. But couldn’t we just have the usual line-up of madcap fun and entertaining, community-affirming stuff we always have in the down year? I’m no event organiser, so maybe logistically it’s far too hard to chop and change … just putting it out there. 

Snow guns, snow fun 

The timing of Winter Festival at the start of the season has traditionally been because back in the day it was about keeping locals and visitors occupied before snow arrived. But thanks to continual investment by ski field operator NZSki we’ve got hundreds of snow-guns now and there’s a hell of a lot more to do in this town than there ever has been – I mean do you ever hear anybody sitting around in Queenstown at the start of winter moaning about how bored they are to be here waiting for snow. (You do? Well, try reading a goddamn book or something – council spends millions a year to provide you with a perfectly decent library, you know). 

Sculpture vulture 

And just on something completely different … given we live in supposed economically-strained times, and have a mayor elected on a cost-cutting platform, is it ironic that we’re staring down the barrel of spending towards six figures on a public sculpture that no one in the public has actually been consulted on – and, if you consider feedback at scene.co.nz to be some sort of barometer of public opinion, isn’t particularly well-liked?