The 45th Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival programme has been revealed and is a birthday bash packed with everything the Festival has become legendary for – buzzing downtown streets, fireworks, live music and comedy, and madcap antics in the snow and icy water of Lake Wakatipu, announced Festival Director Rae Baker at the official Festival launch on the steamship TSS Earnslaw earlier this evening (15 April 2019).

“The Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival is all about celebrating the start of winter in New Zealand’s premiere winter destination,” says Ms Baker.

“The four-day Festival celebrates and showcases our unique and beautiful wintery region as only Queenstown and the people who live and visit here could.”

The Festival programme, which runs from 20-23 June 2019, goes live on at 9am tomorrow (Tuesday, 16 April 2019), with ticketed events on sale immediately – many of which are expected to sell out within the first week.

Launching New Zealand’s snow and ski season in inimitable style since 1975, the programme for the Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival’s 45th birthday shows the Festival has no intention of aging gracefully according to Ms Baker.

“The Festival’s most loved events, like best friends and eccentric rellies, are in town for the party and some come with an unexpected twist in 2019,” said Ms Baker.

The Hits 90.4 – Jucy Lucy

The Monteith’s Dog Derby will be run for the 45th time. MoreFM Day on the Bay features AJ Hackett Birdman – but not as you know it, Vincent Holdings Jet Sprints, the Jucy Undy 500 and Go Orange are bringing back the Splash for Cash – reimagined.

Events that make the streets and environs of Queenstown buzz with community, families and visitors are back. The Real Journeys Friday Fireworks, Dodgeball Champs, the Winter Fest Hospo Race, Gibbston Valley Long Lunch, the Real Journeys Business Lunch, Queenstown Rotary Duck Race, Skycity Quiz and Jingo and four days of family friendly fun, food and music in the Festival Village on Earnslaw Park featuring Cardrona Snow Play, and the Real Journeys Selfie Booth.

The Festival celebrates the start of winter and falls within Matariki, the Maori New Year. Proceedings begin with manuhiri (guests, local and from afar) being guided through Queenstown’s beautiful streets in the Matariki Torchlight Hikoi.

“Creating a beautiful sea of fire torches, our manuhiri will be met by representatives of the multiple iwi that watch over Tahuna Queenstown and welcomed into our place with a spectacular Waka Ama and Mau Rakau demonstration,” said Ms Baker.

“This allows our manuhiri to be welcomed and accepted into our winter celebrations before a Ngai Tahu led mihi whakatau (welcome ceremony) precedes unmissable performances by the legendary Trinity Roots and Ladi6.”

It’s a mountain festival and Queenstowners and visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to ski resorts. Cardrona Alpine Resort once again hosts the Monteith’s Dog Derby and Dog Barking and the antics at the Mountain Festival Village – the Winter Fest Suitcase Race, Snow Tubing, and a ‘70’s event flashback, the Tug O War on Skis. The Tour de Cardies and Macpac Mountain Bikes on Snow, ironically cancelled due to too much snow in 2018, are highly anticipated by local adrenalin chasers.

Festival Comedy Nights are legendary and 2019’s line up is stellar. The laughs start a day early with Three’s 7 Days live recording from downtown Queenstown’s Memorial Centre. Featuring Jeremy Corbett, Paul Ego, Dai Henwood, Ben Hurley (7 Days only), Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Hayley Sproull and Mel Bracewell (2018 Billy T Award winner), the comedy stars stay on to present two Winter Fest Comedy Nights.

Festival nights are a feast of choices, from comedy, to live music and the annual glamfest, the Skycity Ball. Once again, the final location will be kept a secret until the very last minute, but it has been revealed that the theme for 2019 is the ultimate in decadent disco, Studio 54.

The Festival mainstage has always hosted the best of New Zealand’s musical talent and 2019 sees four packed days and nights of local acts and national headliners, most of which are free gigs.

On the lake front Bathhouse Stage, Trinity Roots and Ladi6 headline opening night. Mitch James, L.A.B. and the Richter City Rebels feature at the Real Journey’s Friday Night Fireworks and Lyttleton’s Adam McGrath plays at Sherwood. Saturday night sees four Dunedin bands headlined by student favourite Soaked Oats followed by A Night of Drum and Bass presented by Audiology ft Flowidus at the Memorial Centre.

The Festival’s Sunday finale sees the time-travelling, ‘dance-through-the-decades’ audio-visual party concept Hot Dub Time Machine hit Queenstown at the Festival Village from noon until 5pm followed by the Queenstown instalment of Audiology’s Mardi Gras featuring Chase and Status on Coronet Peak.

The 2018 Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival saw more than 45,000 unique visitors come to Queenstown, injecting an estimated $4.4million into the Queenstown economy during their stay. The Festival was a finalist in the 2018 NZEA Event Awards for New Zealand’s best regional event, people’s choice for New Zealand’s best event and Rae Baker was a finalist for New Zealand’s best event professional.

“Backed by a hefty family of local and national sponsors and firing on all cylinders after two years of format and creative changes, from mountain top to lake shore, the 2019 Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival 45th anniversary bash will be one to remember,” said Ms Baker.

The 45th Real Journey’s Queenstown Winter Festival programme, which runs from 20-23 June 2019, goes live on at 9am, Tuesday, 16 April 2019, with ticketed events on sale immediately.

Event individual and team sign-ups are open from 9am, Tuesday, 16 April on and some events have limited numbers.