Shellharbour's Corey Pickett was supposed to spend 2020 in London earning a living as a performance artist.
But, like countless other arts workers around the country, his plans were thrown into disarray due to COVID-19.
"I've been based in London for the past six years, and I return home for two months each year for the summer festival season," he said.
"I was meant to be touring around Europe right now, but that was all completely taken. Artists spend our life turning our work into our life - so when your work drops out, it affects everything in your life.
Next month, Mr Pickett, 27, who grew up in Albion Park, will take part in the Shellharbour City Youth Festival - a month of month of music, performance, workshops and creativity, as well as a chance for young people to learn how to make money from their craft.
"Having a chance to do this is amazing," he said. "I did my first live show in months last week, and it was very emotional to be back."
"For the festival, I'm running a workshop called "Make Your Own Act", where people will be encouraged to find their hidden talent.
"It might be a song, a trick or a joke, and over two hours we will work on turning that into a cabaret act. And I'll be a 15 minute show of my own at the end too."
Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba said festival had come at just the right time to give a boost to some of the pandemic's hardest hit sectors.
"The arts has been the worst hit of everyone because they were the first out and last back in," she said.
"I think entertainers of all sorts and artists have been really adversely affected and this gives them the opportunity to dust off the cobwebs and practice their skills and to be able to make some money, which is really important.
"I'm hopeful this will bring the young people in our city out, and will show them that we value and want to listen to young people.
"At the end of the festival we hold a youth market as a grand finale, and young people can come along and sell their wares or ideas, and that's an opportunity for them to learn about how to be an entrepreneur."
The festival starts on November 2 and includes over 20 workshops designed for 12-to-24-year-olds. It will finish with the annual Shellharbour City Youth Market on December 5.
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