Sunshine, blue skies and a whole lot of mud were on the forecast for Rotorua's first day of summer.
The Rotorua Mudtopia Festival kicked off today with hundreds of schoolchildren getting a chance to test run the mud before the festival opened to the public.
Rotorua Intermediate School and Kaitao Intermediate pupils arrived at Arawa Park Racecourse at 1pm and had the entire festival site to themselves for two hours.
Pupils battled it out on a moving jousting platform, tackled the mud run obstacle course and screamed their way down the giant water slide.
Muddy footprints trailed between each of the activities and the volunteers were smiling and laughing along as they kept an eye on the kids.
One volunteer said he couldn't wait to give it a go himself later in the weekend.
Festival director Scott Rice was excited to see the sun shining and the kids enjoying themselves.
"Let's hope this carries on for the rest of the weekend. I think people will be pleasantly surprised how much there is to do."
The bright, inflatable mud arena makes up one corner of the festival.
On the walk to the mud games there are multiple mud stations, for those who want to get covered, rows of food trucks and health spa operators.
AMI Insurance is running a storage area so people's valuables are safe while they play and there are shower and changing room facilities.
Meanwhile, Kiwi songstress Hollie Smith has been forced to cancel her performance at Mudtopia tomorrow due to sickness.
Acclaimed singer-songwriter Bailey Wiley will fill the Mud Stage slot vacated by Smith between 3.10pm and 4.10pm.
Smith said in 24 years of performing she had never cancelled a gig due to sickness so she was devastated to announce she wouldn't be able to perform.
"I sung sick last week which has developed into laryngitis and so to try to get through tomorrow could potentially create permanent damage so have had to accept my specialist's advice and stay on vocal rest."
The festival features live music across three days from Kiwi artists Anika Moa, Jason Kerrison, Jupiter Project, Aroha, Melodownz, Rotorua's own Shaquille Graham and more.
Tomorrow night's R18 concert will feature Shapeshifter, Peking Duk and Chores.
Area prevention manager Inspector Stuart Nightingale said there would be additional police in place over the weekend to make sure things ran smoothly.
He commended the organisers for their work with risk assessment and said they had done an excellent job ensuring there was enough security staff for the event.
What: Rotorua Mudtopia Festival
Where: Arawa Park Racecourse
When: Today until Sunday
Cost: R18 concert ticket and Mudpass $69, Mudpass adult $53 under 18 $35.50, family Mudpass $143 for 2x adults and 2x children