Last July, Alpine Winter Village brought an ice rink and Euro-inspired winter fare to the riverbank. But after parent company The Social Creative was placed into voluntary administration last month, the winter festival is no more.
The Alpine Winter Village was a collaboration between Renewal SA, the Riverbank Authority and The Social Creative, the latter of which is also responsible for Royal Croquet Club and OzAsia’s Good Fortune Market. The organisation, fronted by directors Stuart Duckworth and Tom Skipper, lost $1.1 million after a disappointing turnout for its Royal Adelaide Club in China last year. This was compounded by poor turnout at Good Fortune Market due to the storms and statewide blackout of October 2016.
Last month, Duckworth told Broadsheet the future of the winter festival was in the hands of others. “We’re in discussions with Renewal SA to look at doing that activation again, but I can’t comment on whether that will or won’t go ahead. We’ve definitely put the offer out there and are hoping so.”
It’s now confirmed the festival will not happen in 2017.
“We’re gutted,” Duckworth says. “We explored every opportunity for it to go ahead but unfortunately … it became unfeasible and it would have been irresponsible of us to go ahead.”
After losing the bid to reactivate Alpine Winter Village along the riverbank this year, The Social Creative approached Adelaide City Council to hold the event in Victoria Square. Their application was approved but Duckworth tells Broadsheet the conditions imposed by the Council would have made the event commercially unviable.
Those conditions limited operating hours to 9pm on weeknights and 10pm on the weekend.
The RCC moved from Victoria Square to the Riverbank this year after ongoing complaints that its popular late-night trade had contributed to a loss in business for neighbouring brick-and-mortar venues.
Although there won’t be a winter festival in the city this year, Port Adelaide will host its own “Winterfest” in partnership with Renewal SA this month.
With strong echoes of last year’s Riverbank event, the portside festival will feature roaring fires, an outdoor skating rink and Northern European-style food and mulled wine. The crew from the Port Admiral Hotel will be slinging drinks and there will be food offerings from Folklore Cafe, Kaffana and Red lime Shack. A spokesperson for Renewal SA said the event is part of a state government initiative “to help revitalise and rejuvenate the Port”.
Winterfest is on July 14–23 at the Hart’s Mill Precinct, Port Adelaide. Tickets are available online.