Winter Pride Gets Social » Lakes Weekly Bulletin

Winter Pride Gets Social » Lakes Weekly Bulletin

Winter Pride Gets Social » Lakes Weekly Bulletin

Winter Pride directors Sam Coulthard, right, and Odette Rose

Winter Pride organisers are taking things a step further in 2024 with the return of Pride in the Park and more relaxed social events on the agenda.

Queenstown’s Sam Coulthard and Odette Rose have taken over the Southern Hemisphere’s largest Pride festival after owners Martin King and Mike Hughes sold the festival after six years at the helm.

The 11-day party takes place from August 22 to September 1, and thousands of people are expected to attend on-mountain events at The Remarkables, Coronet Peak and Cardrona Alpine Resort, as well as dozens of après-ski events including club nights, drag shows and parties.

Coulthard, who has been involved with the festival for many years, says the aim is to reintroduce the popular Pride in the Park as the festival celebrates its 21st anniversary.

“It’s been a few years since we’ve done Pride in the Park, but it’s such a great part of the festival that we wanted to bring it back,” he says.

“We feel there needs to be a way for the community to get involved, and people shouldn’t be excluded because they can’t afford to come to the ticketed events or go up the mountain. Pride in the Park is very expensive to run, a real loss leader, and you have to sort everything out with council permissions, liquor licenses and all that stuff, which we’re working on now, but we had 4,000 people on the lakefront last time, so we want to make it happen.”

The plan is for Pride in the Park to be held on Marine Parade, Queenstown Bay, from 12pm to 8pm on the first Saturday, August 24. Coulthard says there will also be more daytime social events on the calendar.

“We want to offer something for everyone. The younger generation of New Zealanders are into drum and bass, tech house, that sort of thing, so we have Camp Base at Seek on the first Friday night, and we have the big parties, the opening night Lavender Lounge party at the Memorial Centre, a Western AF night at Cowboys, our Final Party at the Events Centre, and cocktail nights, DJ nights etc.

“But we’re also adding a lot of more relaxed events, like brunches, long lunches, bowling, ice skating, roller skating, games nights, karaoke, charity runs, mountain walks, our colour run, photography workshops. A lot of people who come want to get involved, but also want to save some energy by skiing and ticking off those Queenstown bucket list items like bungee jumping.”

Ticket sales are going well, he says, though you often don’t get a good idea of ​​the numbers until the time comes, and inflation is putting pressure on spending and the costs of an event like Winter Pride. Two of the biggest sponsors for 2023 have pulled the plug this year, meaning the festival is even more dependent on ticket sales.

One of the new initiatives for 2024 is Spread The Rainbow: A Beacon of Hope in the Storm, an initiative to help people from the LGBTQIA+ community who are struggling emotionally and financially.

Those who can afford it can buy a Spread The Rainbow ticket, which allows a young queer or trans person to attend an event for free. Winter Pride is also giving away 100 tickets to the closing party.

Coulthard says that with suicide and violence among queer youth on the rise, against a backdrop of toxic rhetoric on social media, the initiative is about fostering connection and enabling people to connect with others in a safe and inclusive environment. The tickets will be distributed through local queer clubs, rainbow youth groups and educational institutions.

It is part of Winter Pride’s broader efforts, which include partnerships with organisations including the Burnett Foundation and Netsafe.

For more information visit www.winterpride.co.nz. Tickets are available at humanitix.com