When Gioia Damosso started her events company at the beginning of 2020, she wanted to bring life into the town of Whanganui - but no one could have predicted the challenges ahead.
Damosso started Lost Art Events to bring the best art, music, food and beverages into Whanganui but the COVID-19 pandemic meant "an interesting year" for her and her business partner Koert Wagman.
"No one could have predicted this," she told Newshub.
"It's been a real struggle, just tried to be optimistic and push on."
The pair have had to postpone multiple events as lockdowns rolled across New Zealand - but this weekend, finally, Damosso's "dream lineup" will play to a crowd of thousands.
Sound Valley is her passion project - a two-day dub reggae festival for all ages, which will see Kiwi legends such as Kora, Ladi 6 and The Black Seeds perform in Whanganui.
It hasn't been an easy process - Sound Valley was originally scheduled for February 20 but the Saturday before the event was due to kick off Prime Minister Jacinda Adern called an impromptu 9pm press conference - a sign New Zealanders have come to recognise all too well.
A seven day alert level shift was announced - Auckland would enter COVID-19 alert level 3 and the rest of New Zealand, level 2. It was heartbreaking for Damosso.
"I just called my mum and cried," she said.
"I've put everything into this - I'm a solo mum, three kids, I sold my house for the capital to make this happen. This is my livelihood, this is everything for me."
But the 36-year-old wasn't about to let a little pandemic stop her dream festival from going ahead. The date was switched and Damosso kicked into high gear to ensure everything went as to plan as possible.
"I committed to going all in - all I do is try and organise these events. Most nights I'm up till 3am trying to liaise with artists and make everything go smoothly."
She says she's keeping that energy going, in the hopes that when the festival does begin, she'll be able to take a breather and watch some of the magic she's poured her heart and soul into unfolding.
"All the bands are going to be so great - we're so lucky in New Zealand, we can enjoy so many freedoms that other countries don't have."