An Auckland couple feel fortunate to have secured a patch of grass to camp on for the 2018 Mission Estate Concert after coming up short on accommodation options.
Trevor and Lesley Willmot bought tickets to the Mission concert - featuring Neil Diamond - with great excitement in October, only to hit a wall when they began searching for three nights' worth of accommodation several days later.
"We could not find anywhere at all for those days. I spent nights searching on the internet and then we found one place where we could book but they wanted [us to stay] a week and I think it was $500 per night," Mrs Willmot said.
Announced in October this year, the concert was set for Saturday March 17, clashing with the tail-end of Horse of the Year which had been booked for March 13-18 since early this year.
Mrs Willmot said she didn't realise the concert clashed with another significant regional event, and had now resorted to booking a patch of grass at a Hastings campground for one night.
The remaining nights would be spend further afield in Taupo, she said.
"Had I realised that we might have looked for accommodation before we got the tickets but we just got the tickets and thought we'd find somewhere.
"That's why we started searching for accommodation almost straight away because we thought it would be tight and we didn't want to pay luxury rates, but were prepared to spend a little bit extra because it is a prime weekend."
Hawke's Bay i-Site centres were keeping wait lists of up to 20 individuals seeking accommodation for couples or groups.
Napier City Council visitor experiences manager Sally Jackson said the Napier i-Site's waitlist for that weekend was "definitely busier" than Horse of the Year 2017.
"However we did have a wait list for the Mission concert in 2017 and were able to move through it and find beds for everyone either here in Napier or by tapping into accommodation in Havelock and Hastings."
A Hastings District Council spokesperson said their wait list had been halved since last week, due to accommodation being located.
Mission concert event director Garry Craft said while people may be hard-pressed to find available accommodation, the event clash was unavoidable.
"In this particular case it wasn't an option for us to get an international act to Hawke's Bay. We don't choose what date it is.
"If the artist says 'that's the only day I'm available', then that's it. We either do it or we don't."
Mr Craft said locals were encouraged to list their properties as homestays on Mission Estate's free accommodation listing service.
More than 300 homes were used as homestays for this year's concert and Mr Craft said 240 properties had already been booked for the 2018 event, with an additional 35 properties still available on the website.
"I would suggest there's probably not a lot left in town right now. In saying that, we're still selling tickets every day ... so they must be finding accommodation or friends with a spare room."
Horse of the Year event director Dave Mee said the clash of events wasn't an ideal situation and pressure on accommodation in Hastings would likely result in an overflow.
While many HOY goers booked accommodation one year in advance, those making last-minute decisions to stay in the region, including riders who find out they have qualified for events at a later date, may end up losing out, he said.
"Those kinds of people will end up missing out which will be a shame. I guess the plus we have is there is a culture of camping on-site and we might have to increase our on-site camping options because of that."
Hawke's Bay Tourism general manager Annie Dundas said the clash of events was a chance for the community to step up and help where possible.
"I think we'll see a really positive Hawke's Bay spirit and I think if locals are prepared to rent rooms and host people then this might be a really great example of the Hawke's Bay community getting in and welcoming visitors."