Under smoke-hazy skies and an orange sun, they came in their masses.
Busload after busload, Uber after Uber and in their best festival-wear, they poured into Trustpower Arena for New Zealand's biggest music festival: Bay Dreams.
Festival promoter Mitch Lowe said the Bay Dreams had been on top for the past four years.
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This year, 32,000 festivalgoers were expected to attend the sold-out main event yesterday, headlined by international superstars Tyler, The Creator and Halsey.
"Honestly it just gets better every year," said Lowe.
"The whole process from packing in right through to delivery has been the best it has ever been."
The event got off to a calm start, with little to report in the way of traffic issues around the venue.
Ticket-holders could use Bayhopper buses for free and get direct rides from four shuttle stations around the city. Others used Uber or taxis.
Gates opened at 12pm, an hour later than expected, to the frustration of early-comers who formed a long queue.
Among them was Gemini Rose, who had been dropped off early in an effort to avoid traffic.
"It was ridiculous they were that unorganised."
Camper Josh Aschebrock arrived at the festival on January 1, hoping to beat the queues of traffic that left him stuck for five hours last year.
"It's more about relaxing rather than stressing out trying to get here on time," Aschebrock said.
One person, believed to be a festivalgoer, was taken to hospital in a critical condition after collapsing at a Bay Dreams park-and-ride bus stop in Parton Rd, Pāpāmoa.
They were taken to Tauranga Hospital and their condition - as well as the cause of their collapse - is not known.
New Zealand band Mako Rd opened the festival, thanking the crowd for coming even though "we're all still dusty from RnV".
They were the band Southlander Emma Leslie was most excited to see.
"I've been to about four of their shows and each one is better.
"They're local so it's good to support them."
There was plenty of support for festivalgoers, too, from paramedics and food trucks to cooling sprinklers and the Red Frogs team.
Armed with lollies and cups of water, Red Frogs co-ordinator Graeme May and his team were ready to be the "mate you need" for intoxicated patrons later in the night.
He expected close to 10,000 cups of water would be handed out by the end of the night.
"The crowd decides how the night will go," he said.
Food trucks lined one of the larger stages and manager of both Chip Head and Banger Boys, Shannon Grey, said it was a "no-brainer" to head along.
"There are 30,000 people here so it is kind of a no-brainer.
"Campers were already lining up this morning and I would say it will gear up to be a busy night."
One exception from the list of services was one where people could have illicit drugs tested for safety purposes - a topic that was widely debated last year as politicians debated funding research into the service.
Lowe said drug testing was something his team had wanted since the festival began but was still not able to happen.
"It's a case of what is legal and what stakeholders would support but it is something we have been pushing for four years.
"We have seen it work overseas so it is not a case of us not wanting it but something that just hasn't aligned yet, but we think soon it will."
A Bay of Plenty District Health Board spokesman said shortly after 5pm that emergency department staff had not seen anything abnormal in terms of numbers or drug-related admissions that day, including from the festival.