All the Bay’s a stage

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Top acts at this year’s Winter Festival will wow fans from a “floating” stage mounted in Queenstown Bay. 

Crowd-pulling events like the opening party and Mardi Gras have traditionally been held at Earnslaw Park. 

But this time, a 12×10 metre main stage will be constructed over the finger wharfs on Lake Wakatipu to host headlining bands like Dragon, I Am Giant and The Jefferson. 

“We are expecting more people than normal and this will make more room in the Earnslaw Park area for the crowds,” festival boss Simon Green says. 

“It’ll also make a much better vista for everyone because the Remarkables will be in the background and the stage will be at the forefront of the fireworks display. 

“We’ll also be using it for other events like the Rail Jam, Dodgeball and Birdman.” 

The new lake platform is being designed by Queenstown-based company Certified Scaffolding. Green says it won’t cost any more than “what we usually pay for a stage at Earnslaw Park”. 

Green also says he’s grateful for the cooperation of jetboat operators and fishing guides in the Bay who’ll be affected by the structure. 

“Another plus point is that having a stage on the water means people at bars in the Steamer Wharf area will have a much better view of the action – before all they could see was the back of the stage.” 

The 10-day Winter Festival starts on June 25.