For six years Baypark has been the host of a sell-out festival inspiring people to dream.
This year is no different. With the first lineup of Bay Dreams announced this month and another one to come, the hot season is already proving it is just around the corner.
Preparing to work his fingers over the keyboard all summer long is Sons of Zion's Joel Lattimer.
Having released Love on the Run at the beginning of June and now working on re-releasing their original album, Sons of Zion are already gearing up for a summer of fun and Bay Dreams is just the beginning.
Lattimer picks up the phone while waiting for a Covid-19 test in a managed isolation facility following a week trip to Sydney gone wrong.
After the Australian state went into lockdown, he was stuck for more than three weeks, plus another two in MIQ.
"It's been a while since I have had a sleep in my own bed."
Although as a musician, spending endless hours on the road or floating in between hotel rooms means the MIQ situation doesn't feel too strange for Lattimer.
While it's the part that feels like "work" when everyone else is enjoying their summer holiday, nothing beats the feeling of being on stage, he said.
"The best part of the job really is performing live in front of people.
"We don't really get any downtime before the show, but once we're on stage - I prefer being on stage than being in the crowd. It's a massive rush."
Sons of Zion have played at Bay Dreams four times since 2018. Aside from the sunshine goodness the Bay of Plenty has to offer, it's the electric mix of musicians Bay Dreams brings to the stage that keeps the band interested.
"First of all it's a great festival to play, it's well organised and local.
"It's also got a great selection of artists, it's not just one style of music. It's always really cool to play at that sort of festival where there's a different mix of artists and styles of music that we can get involved in and watch.
"Plus they [Bay Dreams] keep asking us if we wanna play," he says with a chuckle.
Starting over a decade ago, Sons of Zion established themselves with an Aotearoa roots sound, or as Lattimer puts, it "fusion reggae".
In 2018, after a five-year hiatus, the single Drift Away was dropped, establishing the band as a mainstay in the music scene. But the single started something more.
With a pop and R&B sound floating out of the speaker, Drift Away was not like their usual tone. The boys had evolved.
It's been put down to a natural progression of growing up and being comfortable to make music that felt right for them in the current stage of their lives. Lattimer said there was no genre the band was afraid to bend into their tracks.
"Even back then, we always had a different element to our musical style. As we have gotten older we feel more comfortable making music we want to on the day - if it's a pop song, it's a pop song.
"It's not as musically fun if you know what you are doing when you are writing a song. It's always cool to shift the music into something different or something unexpected, something you yourself wouldn't even feel the music could go."
The boys know the formula to making songs with the reggae sound. Lattimer puts it clearly stating, "we've done that now".
"It's always trying to better ourselves and push ourselves into being more creative and not getting stuck in the same routine."
With drum and bass largely on the Bay Dreams menu, Lattimer said he wouldn't put it past the band to be influenced by tracks at the festival or even bring it into their live show.
After all, live shows are the best place to see how the crowd reacts to the music.
"Getting to see the other artists and how it resonates with the crowd - what they've done live compared to their recorded music is all very inspiring.
"It definitely gives you ideas of, 'what they did there during that was so cool. We should try and incorporate something like that into our set'."
Sons of Zion won't be the only local act on the day, with Tom Scott's hip-hop jazz ensemble Avantdale Bowling Club, Auckland rap duo Church & AP, and Kiwi-born, LA-based rapper Lilbubblegum all set to play.
With Covid border restrictions making it harder to ensure big international acts can perform, Australian big names like Tones of I and Tash Sultana are on the set list.
Billed as a "one-person band", Sultana, the gender-fluid multi-instrumentalist returns for their first New Zealand festival performance since Bay Dreams 2019. The psychedelic rock singer-songwriter was a drawcard then and no doubt will be again.
The question is whether Sultana or their fans are more excited about their return?
"I'm finally returning to my second home across the sea. It's been almost two years since I've been on stage in New Zealand and this time I'll be back bringing an entirely new show to Bay Dreams."
Similarly, for Tones, Bay Dreams holds a special place in her heart. Rising to the top of music charts around the world with her single Dance Monkey in May 2019, Bay Dreams 2020 was the first international festival the indie-pop singer was able to play before the world went dormant.
"I am bloody coming back, I can't wait to see you all at Bay Dreams. [It] was my first overseas festival and it will also be my second too."
It was easier to convince artists from England to play than those in Australia at this year's festival, said Bay Dreams North director Mitch Lowe. However, with the bubble (mostly) open this year, front-runners like Tones and Tash were more than ready to play.
"It's difficult, we struggle to get the big American acts because obviously, they don't want to quarantine for two weeks. We found it easier this year in terms of artists, however, we really are looking forward to next year when hopefully the whole world is our oyster."
With the pandemic putting a halt to festivals worldwide, Lowe said it was a crazy journey to get bands playing at the beginning of the year and it certainly came with its challenges.
"There was a point last year when our headliners were pulling out and it was getting so hard basket that we thought it was probably easier to fold it all in and miss a year.
"But we worked our asses off and got what artists we could at the time."
The latest report into Mount Maunganui's Bay Dreams event released by Fresh Info, found of the 29,347 attendees in 2019, 26,802 had come from outside the region, and visitors spent more than $8.8 million while in the city.
A separate report was not completed for the 2020 or 2021 events because of similar visitor numbers.
As well as bringing spenders, it will also provide jobs. Bay Dreams has previously had 150 bar staff, 50 gates staff, and 200 security. There were also 20 vendors who would benefit from the event.
About 20,000 people showed up in the rain this year to dance when the rest of the world couldn't. But once all the amps are turned off, the fireworks extinguished and lights shut off, planning for the next show begins.
The "never-ending cycle" is what it takes to put on one of the biggest festivals in the country. This year it aims to be the biggest with 25,000 tickets available for Bay Dreams Mount Maunganui.
In Nelson, 20,000 tickets are available.
Tickets were available from July 22 and Lowe said three tiers were already sold. With six months left until the event, he's pretty happy with how it's tracking.
"It's always nice to see months of work in the background end up into this one poster that people connect with.
"I look at a Bay Dreams lineup and it's a bunch of mine and Toby's favourite acts, and we put it together onto a board and hope everyone loves it as much as we do."
Lowe has been behind the festival since its inception in 2016, but this year it is under a new ownership structure. Owned by Pato Entertainment until this year, Lowe is excited to lead the festival with his Bay Dreams Nelson director Toby Burrows.
With the "fresh new look" encouraged by the new team, Lowe said he and Burrows wanted to bring a new flavour to the festival.
It's part and parcel of why the music genre drum and bass heavily influence the lineup. While not the only tunes that will be heard throughout the day, Lowe said the genre was growing in popularity and he wasn't going to deny people what they wanted.
"We're super-passionate about how much it's grown. It went from this underground genre to now being our headlines now.
"We always want to be a diverse festival. It was really key for us this year so it's equal part female and male, equal part live music versus electronic."
It doesn't stop there with everything from alternative to hip-hop and drum and bass to house.
"We are one of the only festivals that offer a bit of everything."
English electronic duo Chase and Status is the artist at the top of Lowe's list this year, but with Tones and I recently releasing a new album exceeding his expectations it's hard to pick a favourite.
The one-day event will be held at Trustpower Baypark at Mount Maunganui on January 3, and at Trafalgar Park, Nelson, on January 5. Tickets are already on sale, and more artists are due to be added to the lineup.
The initial lineup
&bull: International acts: Lilbubblegum, Hybrid Minds featuring Charlotte Haining, MC Tempza, Macky Gee, ONEFOUR, Masked Wolf, Netsky, Friction, Holy Goof, Koven, René LaVice, Tori Levett, Party Thieves, Discovery - The Daft Punk Experience, Brydie Tong, Jack River
&bull: Local acts: Avantdale Bowling Club, Church & AP, and Kiwi-born, Blindspott, Sons of Zion, V O E, Lance Savali, Muroki, KÉDU CARLÖ, Masaya, Poetik, Waja B2B Bloom, Brydie Tong, Jess Rhodes, Kaylee Bell, Ponz, Nakita, and Who Shot Scott, Ex-Freq
&bull: Tickets from www.baydreams.co.nz