Creative director of Safe As Festival Sophie Watkins is single-handedly lifting morale by ensuring Hawke's Bay gets its dose of the creative.
Safe As Festival will be animating the streets of Heretaunga from September 30 to October 10, with offerings from Baroque music to live-streamed DJ sets from balconies.
"It's my mission to raise morale and get people happy. It's been hard to see everyone feeling gutted at the moment, with lots of gigs cancelled due to Covid," Watkins said.
"My opinion is, why feel bad if it's out of our control? Let's just do what we can. So I decided to initiate a smaller version of what was planned for Fringe in the 'Stings," she said.
Watkins, together with director of the Fringe festival Wai Tupaea, has spent the past four months collating an eclectic line-up of talent, which she has repurposed for the Safe As Festival.
"We spent so much time on the programme, I didn't want that effort to go to waste," she said.
Since August, the hospitality sector has been hampered with Covid-imposed restrictions on local businesses, which has seen fewer people frequenting their watering holes and grazing spots.
The injection of art and music into the city with the Safe As Festival will provide a welcome bump for local businesses, though Watkins fears that her efforts might be judged by Covid gatekeepers.
"I have a bit of guilt and worry, that people might think what I'm doing is dangerous, or irresponsible.
"But the East 200 Block community are the most encouraging bunch of people in Hastings. Everyone has been keen to help and be involved," Watkins said.
The festival kicks off with MSFT Threestyle Thirstdayz at Spaceship Studios on September 30, The Cellars duo at Spaceship on October 1, and Hammer Head Sharks playing from the back of their cars in the Common Room car park on October 2.
Watkins' quest to bring joy to Hawke's Bay is also within budget, with several free gigs among the festival's offerings and all tickets costing under $25 on the Eventfinda website.