Wellington's Homegrown festival goes ahead after 12-month COVID-19 delay

After a 12-month delay, Wellington's Homegrown festival is finally going ahead on Saturday tonight with tens of thousands of people flocking to the capital for the weekend.

But it hasn't come without a cost, organisers telling Newshub they've lost more than $1 million due to last year's COVID-19 postponement.

Last year's event was cancelled just days before the country went into level 4 lockdown. 

On Saturday though, Wellington's waterfront was jam-packed with festival-goers dressed as Coke bottles, bananas, and flamingos.

Lining up for a festival 12 months in the making.

The all-Kiwi lineup is one of the few live events allowed to happen in the world right now due to COVID-19.

Festival organiser Andrew Tuck says the pandemic has felt unpredictable.

"The team has sort of likened it to being on a roller coaster that somebody's turned on and forgetting to turn it off."

That roller coaster is evident with sanitation squads and QR codes everywhere - a reminder of why last year's festival had to be postponed at enormous cost just days before the country went into lockdown.

We lost around $1.3 million, $1.4 million," says Tuck. "Basically means that for the next couple of years we don't make any money out of the festival."

Despite the delay, the punters came back, 95 percent of ticket holders kept their tickets and just waited a whole year.

Artists too stuck to their commitments, Kiwi giants Shapeshifter not thinking twice about playing in Wellington again.

"It's always been a good gig and you know they said at the time it would be postponed and yeah we just hoped for the best and it all worked out."

Robinson another Kiwi artist jumping at the chance to play, knowing New Zealand is in a privileged position.

"It's very easy to be like 'oh we're playing shows again' like life has resumed but for a lot of people it isn't that way so definitely very fortunate and I feel that."

Thousands at the festival feeling that sense of normality even just for the day.