Rhythm and Vines co-founder Hamish Pinkham says he's "slightly relieved" after making the call to postpone the Gisborne-based New Year's Eve festival until Easter.
"We've got a plan in place - our team has been working really hard these last few months," Pinkham told the AM Show on Friday morning, following the announcement of the new dates on Thursday night.
"The punters have certainly been very patient waiting to hear the outcome, but look, we've taken the sensible decision to just push out New Years for a few months and allow enough time for Gisborne to get on top of the current situation."
Gisborne, which sits within the Tairāwhiti DHB, has entered the Government's new COVID-19 Protection Framework at Red level due to low vaccination rates. At its current rate, the region is still more than five weeks away from hitting 90 percent of the eligible population being double-dosed.
The Government will re-assess the current level settings in two weeks, but Pinkham said the festival couldn't justify cutting it that close.
"We can't wait. We're a month out from New Years, the fences need to go up, the marquees need to be built and I think punters need that respect as well. It's people's summer holiday, so the more time that we can allow the better so people can get on and make other plans.
"We'll be watching like the rest of NZ to see how the guidelines develop. Certainly, by April we'll be needing Gisborne to be in 'orange' by the very least. So we wait with baited breath that we can hold our event safely."
Pinkham said that despite the fact the new Easter event "wouldn't have the same New Year's feel" as previous festivals, his team was "really excited" to put on something people could look forward to.
"Timing-wise, it'll still be a great period of the year where mates can get together and head to Gisborne and celebrate what's been a pretty rollercoaster year and we can enjoy the fruits of our labour and the hard work come April."
Pinkham added that Rhythm and Vines had received "fantastic support" throughout this time, saying "everyone knows the lay of the land".
"It's a dynamic time, we're only just starting to go back to the pubs and restaurants today here in Auckland," he said.
Anyone who has obtained tickets to the festival who can't make the new dates or doesn't want to wait is being offered a full refund if they ask for it before 5pm on December 16.