Queenstown Winter Pride going ahead despite extension of COVID-19 alert levels

Bigger events like dance parties will be replaced with smaller shows.
Bigger events like dance parties will be replaced with smaller shows. Photo credit: Winter Pride

Winter Pride is launching in Queenstown on Friday despite the country remaining at COVID-19 alert level 2 for at least another week and Aucklanders being barred from travelling to the event.

The festival's organiser Martin King says the festival was designed to function at level 2 right from the beginning.

While the annual event usually attracts hundreds of Australians, Winter Pride Queenstown 2020 will be for Kiwis only.

"We had already also planned for it to be a domestic only festival, but were optimistic that the trans-Tasman bubble would open," King told Newshub.

"We will miss [the Australian attendees] and they are wonderful supporters. Many of our events are sold out with just the domestic audience so the festival will be great with Kiwis and we know lots of people are coming for their first time, and that includes their first trip to Queenstown." 

Due to level 2 restrictions, all events will be seated with a maximum capacity of 100 people.

"This suits lots of events like Quiz Night, Gibbston Valley Long Lunch, Comedy Night and Cabaret Wars," King said.

"Winter Pride is a fabulous festival with loads of variety and there is so much to do in Queenstown. There are people from every corner of New Zealand, and the town has a wonderful inclusive buzz."

Bigger events will be split up - so instead of dance parties, there will be shows instead. With over 40 events set to take place in more than 20 venues and with 80 crew and talent involved, it was "not possible" to postpone or cancel.

"Usually there are people from every corner of the world. This year there will be people from all parts of New Zealand, and it will be equally fabulous, just full of Kiwis!"

Winter Pride runs for 10 days from August 28.