The organiser of a one-of-a-kind country music festival early next year is urging Northlanders to get behind the event, which she is funding out of her own pocket.
"I've funded the whole thing myself. If we want anything to happen in Northland we have to pay for it," says Whangarei resident Lee Colvin, chief executive of Darksyde Productions.
Headlining the January 2014 event are well-known artists True Legends (featuring Gray Bartlett, Brendon Dugan and Jodi Vaughan), Suzanne Prentice and the Waratahs; joined by Rebellion, the Sou Westers, Toni Gibson, David Coleclough, The Hipshooters, as well as four Northland acts.
"I've been floored that these acts - many of them huge names I've known all my life - [and] have been so into the idea of a concert, by the water, in the middle of summer," she said.
But she is yet to see the same enthusiasm from possible patrons.
"There's been huge interest but no tickets sold.
"We need the community to support [these events] or we are going to lose them.
"We've got all the entertainment industry in LA, Australia and New Zealand watching this festival. If it's not supported, we won't get anything up here," Ms Colvin said.
Aly Cook, lead singer of The Sou Westers, signed up immediately when Ms Colvin told her about the festival.
"This will probably be one of the biggest country festivals ever held in New Zealand. I don't think I can recall one this full of New Zealand country artists," she said.
It is being held on Friday, January 10 at Marsden Cove, Ruakaka, from 10am to 9pm. General admission tickets cost $85, and VIP tickets cost $120.
Ms Colvin said Whangarei Rodeo have got on board with the festival, combining their rodeo event on the Saturday and Sunday after the festival, to be called the Whangarei Western Weekend.
"Let's get the theme going in Whangarei," Ms Colvin said. "Let's actually show people that Whangarei can pull together."
Other local organisations who are getting on board are the Old Butter Factory, which is providing local acts as well as hosting the festival after-party, North Haven Hospice, which is decking out the Hospice stores in a Western theme for the weekend, and the Northland Youth Theatre, which will be performing at the festival.
"I'm wanting the venue to be surreal, with art, landscaping, and the performances from NYT," she said.
She's urging people to buy tickets now from www.summercountryfest.co.nz.