NZ's live entertainment industry back on track with busiest weekend since COVID-19 pandemic

The Kiwi production crews behind local events are breathing a sigh of relief after facing a 'make or break' moment this weekend. 

With major events taking place nationwide, the live entertainment industry has been finding its feet again after the mammoth toll of COVID-19. 

In such uncertain times, sound engineer Nate Collins is grateful to be doing what he loves most once again. 

"At the moment it's busy, we're just kinda overloading ourselves. You just don't know what's going to happen so we're on edge still," he told Newshub. 

"It's awesome to be doing gigs again, on such a large scale with New Zealand artists - it's pretty impressive."  

When live events ground to a halt last year, Collins was forced to give up his career and instead, do anything he could to survive.

 "A lot of us were doing stuff at Spark Arena, part of Civil Defence. We did food packing for people in need and that was about four months of work for us."

Newshub caught up with him at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland ahead of LAB's 17,000-strong sold-out headline gig on Saturday night. 

The show's organiser Mikee Tucker says getting the all-clear to go ahead was a huge relief.

"In the COVID era, it's very nervy. In the back of your mind you think you might be postponing or even cancelling." 

With the country in alert level 1, LAB fans weren't the only ones having a good time this weekend - major events took place all around the country. 

Acts including The Wiggles, international comedian Bill Bailey and Crowded House had their own shows too. 

Splore Festival got underway and Cuba Dupa took over the streets of Wellington. 

The CEO of production company Oceania couldn't be happier after having to make tough decisions to make it through 2020.

"Things are now obviously are starting to improve, but the challenges of moving in and out of lockdown make it very, very difficult for event producers and promoters to make decisions about whether they can put on events, and we see that's going to be a lasting impact for the industry."

In March last year, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a $175 million package for the creative sector, aimed at protecting the 90,000 jobs put on the line by COVID-19.

With live events over the summer helping the recovery process, promoters say safely opening the doors to international acts will be a huge next step.