Ready to start the party: Tom Tilley, half of apres-ski party First Base, pictured at Snow Machine Hakuba in 2020. PICTURE: PAT STEVENSON


Organisers of a new Queenstown event, which became a victim of last August’s lockdown, say they’re more determined than ever to make it happen this year.

Snow Machine, billed as a ski and music festival, was initially planned for Coronet Peak and The Remarkables last September, but had to be pulled given the Alert Level settings in play at that time.

With a sister festival held annually in Hakuba, Japan, festival director Quentin Nolan has been on the lookout for a southern hemisphere spot to bring the event.

‘‘We wanted to bring together our love and passion for snow and music and do that in an area that appeals to a lot of people … there’s nowhere better than Queenstown.’’

The festival is an all-you-can-eat buffet of what Queenstown has to offer — tickets can be purchased alongside adventure, accommodation and ski pass packages.

‘‘We’ve got two apres stages, one at Remarks, one at Coronet Peak … so the idea is you can go skiing/snowboarding in the morning, or go do an adventure activity and then head up the slopes, see your favourite DJs, do some laps, have a drink and then head back into town to the main stage.’’

With a sharp focus on the Australian market — 90% of ticket-holders at Hakuba were Aussies — the festival has partnered with NZSki and local businesses to offer punters a complete ski trip experience.

‘‘We found with last year’s sign-up that 60 to 70% of people hadn’t actually been to the snow, so by putting on this music event they can see their favourite bands and learn to ski and snowboard, and it’s introducing a whole lot of people to this way of life.’’

And with a heavyweight line-up including Ball Park Music, Hermitude, Sneaky Sound System, and New Zealand’s own Fat Freddy’s Drop, Nolan believes there will be something for everyone to dance to.

‘‘We haven’t tried to pinpoint a genre … somebody coming over might be wanting see The Avalanches or Bliss’n Eso and get introduced to Sachi.’’

After its postponement last year, the destination festival is more determined than ever to bring its vision of mountains and music to life for those suppressed by recent travel and event restrictions.

“We’ve had a couple of tough years with travel and hospitality but there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and once things open up there’s going to be a huge amount of pent-up demand for people to do these types of things,’’ Nolan says.

Though mindful Covid may still throw a spanner in the works, Nolan has been encouraged by many patrons’ decision to roll over their tickets from last year and is confident that the festival will go ahead in the Orange setting of the traffic light system.

‘‘It’s a huge amount of planning contingencies but at the moment, especially with Queenstown, it’s needed more than ever.”

The event, which will run over four days, is estimated to bring in $10-to-$15 million to Queenstown businesses.

‘‘We are a local business and we want the community to be on board so that it’s sustainable and adds benefit long-term.’’

With a slew of tickets to be released later in the year for locals, Nolan hopes the Whakatipu will get among the frosty festivities.

‘‘It’s really trying to combine everything Queenstown has to offer: hospitality, adventure, the amazing mountains, with a world-class line-up.

‘‘I think if we can combine those elements well it will give a really unique experience that people will want to come back for.’’

Snow Machine, September 7-10, 2022, Coronet Peak and The Remarkables. Packages and tickets are available now at