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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

40 Years Young - the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival

SetWidth580-01-American-Express-Queenstown-Winter-Festival-2014-Opening-Party-and-FireworksIn the days after the 40th American Express Queenstown Winter Festival has drawn to a close, as stages and signage are packed away and madcap event entries are becoming fading memories, the Winter Festival team are taking a moment to reflect on a successful event and allowing themselves some rest before planning for 2015 begins.

American Express Queenstown Winter Festival Manager Lisa Buckingham said that the 40th anniversary of the Festival will be remembered as a fitting celebration of one of New Zealand’s biggest and longest running events and that “the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival had paid tribute to its predecessors and is in good stead for another 40 years.”

“My overwhelming sense is that the experience, passion and creativity that the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival has inspired over the past 40 years will continue to drive it and keep it fresh for years to come,” said Ms Buckingham.

SetWidth580-02-The-Exponents-rock-out-at-the-2014-American-Express-Opening-Party-and-Fireworks“While at its core the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival is a community event, with the commitment of its owners, Destination Queenstown, sponsors and a dedicated event team it has become one of the largest and most successful events of its type in the Southern Hemisphere and that is something Queenstown can be very proud of.”

In its 40th year, the Winter Festival will be remembered for the nods to its past with events such as the “Our Story: Celebrating 40 Years” exhibition on Marine Parade, the return of the American Express Comedy Debate, the unbroken record of the DB Export Dog Derby and Waiters Race (now the QRC Hospitality Race), perennial favourites The Hits 90.4 Drag Race and iHeartRadio Day on the Bay and the cementing of the new must do’s such as the Auckland Airport Community Carnival and a trio of comedy events.

SetWidth580-03-Abbi-5-and-Sophie-Jarris-6-from-Dunedin-at-American-Express-Opening-Party-and-FireworksGraham Budd, Chief Executive of Destination Queenstown said that the Festival’s sponsors, partners, community funders and supporters played a huge part in the success of the 40th American Express Queenstown Winter Festival both economically and with creative additions to the Festival programme.

“American Express’ 25 years of support is remarkable and their support in 2014 was phenomenal both through direct sponsorship of events and their innovative consumer activations on the ground,” said Mr Budd.

SetWidth580-04-American-Express-Queenstown-Winter-Festival-2014-Opening-Party-Fireworks-Street-vendors“For 40 years Coronet Peak has been the Festival’s mountain home base and in 2014 NZSki will be remembered for doing everything possible to ensure that ‘the show must go on’ in the face of mother nature’s seasonal vagaries,” said Mr Budd.

New key sponsors such as the Dominion Breweries (DB) family of brands DB Export, Rekorderlig Cider, Crabbie's Alcoholic Ginger Beer and media partner The Radio Network (iHeartRadio, ZM and The Hits 90.4) will also be remembered for substantial sponsorship and creative events at their first festival.

Amongst other activations, DB brought New Zealand’s first Hot Tub Cinema Experience to the Queenstown waterfront and ensured that every night of the Winter Festival’s ten days the main stage on Earnslaw Park was alive with music and entertainment during the DB Export Embrace the Elements Evening Sessions. The Rekorderlig Winter Forest Bar was a rustically elegant ‘pop up’ bar that became a local meeting point, and Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer turned summer’s favourite rooftop bar ‘The Sun Deck’ into a cosy Crabbie’s-themed winter den.

SetWidth580-06-Crowds-enjoy-the-American-Express-Opening-Night-Party-and-FireworksThe Radio Network’s digital platform iHeartRadio offers access to 18 million songs, 450,000 artists and 1,500 live radio stations globally, including TRN’s own station ZM.  ZM brought their 3-7pm national drive time hosts Jay & Flynny to Queenstown for a full week, broadcasting their adventures doing events and Queenstown attractions live on air and taking the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival to a global audience.

Media coverage of the 40th American Express Queenstown Winter Festival was substantial.  Eighty-eight media representatives for more than 40 media outlets and freelance media were accredited. National coverage came from TVNZ’s Breakfast, TVOne 6pm News, and Seven Sharp, TV3’s Firstline, 6pm News and Paul Henry Show, Prime’s 5pm News and sports show The Crowd Goes Wild, and Channel Four's FOURLive.  On radio, as well as The Radio Network’s iHeart Radio, ZM, The Hits 90.4, Radio New Zealand covered the Winter Festival. Print and online coverage was also substantial.  Southland Times and sister publication The Mirror coverage was distributed through the Fairfax network, coverage by Allied Press publications the Otago Daily Times, Queenstown Times and The Mountain Scene was carried by APN’s New Zealand Herald.

SetWidth580-07-Coronet-Peak-Skin-to-the-Summit-at-the-American-Express-Queenstown-Winter-Festival-2014Reflecting on the delivery of a significant Winter Festival, Graham Budd acknowledged the Festival team.

“I’m very proud of the Winter Festival management team and the 75 wonderful volunteers for the fantastic 10 days of celebration and fun that they have delivered for our community, our visitors and our sponsors,” said Graham Budd.

“There are many stakeholders to satisfy in an event like this and I believe we can reflect on the 40thAmerican Express Queenstown Winter Festival as being the best yet.”

SetWidth580-07-Australian-band-Justice-Crew-in-Queenstown-NZ-with-Channel-7s-Sunrise-TV-show-on-the-first-day-of-the-40th-American-Express-Queenstown-Winter-Festival-1“I’m also very grateful to all of our local suppliers and supporters,” continues Mr Budd, “their support and enthusiasm is essential to making the event the success it is.”

Before contemplating the 2015 Festival, Mr Budd is positive about what the 2014 winter season has in store saying “as we all catch our breath a little and before we put our mind to 2015, I know that we have launched our 2014 winter season in fine style,” said Mr Budd.

“With snowfalls forecast for the coming week, the timing is perfect to welcome skiers, boarders and winter holiday makers from all over New Zealand, Australia and the world to experience the unbeatable holiday experience that Queenstown is renowned for.”

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