Festival funding call

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Resort residents got right behind Queenstown’s Winter Festival but community funding doesn’t reflect that, event boss Simon Green says.

The Lindauer Ladies Fashion Afternoon and the Thriller in the Chiller fight night – featuring locals celebrating locals – were highlights for Green.

But the last-minute cancellation of the Mardi Gras parade was a downer for some residents and was a by-product of limited backing, Green says.

“This year has probably overall been the most well-received festival I’ve been involved with in five years,” Green says. “It feels like a lot more people locally got right back into the whole feel of Festival again.

“Probably the biggest struggle we’ve had for 2010 was community-based funding. We invest in the vicinity of a quarter of a million dollars into free events for the community and we don’t seem to get the recognition or support from community-based funding agencies that I absolutely feel we deserve.

“The parade was just one symptom of that,” Green adds.

A sustainability review – the first in five years – is underway. A previous review shows $17-$20 million is pumped into Queenstown’s economy during the annual 10-day celebration, which wrapped up last Sunday
And despite New Zealand hosting the Rugby World Cup next year, Green doesn’t expect Winter Festival sponsorship to be affected.

“We are different enough and separated enough by time that our event shouldn’t be particularly impacted on,” he says