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March 14, 2024

Harvest Rock returns to city with a side order of road closures

Adelaide City Council has approved East End road closures for this year's Harvest Rock music and food festival, amid debate about whether to give residents another round of consultation.

  • Words: Helen Karakulak
  • Pictures: supplied

Harvest Rock 2024 is scheduled for October 12 and 13, with the council on Tuesday debating whether to close some roads for the event.


Harvest Rock 2024
October 12 & 13



The council approved closing part of Bartels Road from Dequetteville Terrace to East Terrace from 5:00 am on Wednesday, October 9 until 11:59 pm on Monday, October 14. 

Councillor Mary Couros urged that any decision be delayed to allow more consultation with East End residents about road access being restricted.

Couros said some residents had told her that they hadn’t had their say because consultation on the issue took place in January when many people may have been away, and confusion due to a misprint in pamphlets sent out to residents.

Due to a distributor printing error, the pamphlets contained incorrect information about a different event when they should have detailed Harvest Rock. The council said corrected pamphlets had then been sent, and an extension granted to allow people to comment.   

Deputy Lord Mayor Keiran Snape said he shared Couros’ concerns and he has heard from residents unhappy with the council consultation process. 

“I see this amendment as having nothing to do with Harvest Rock itself, it’s to do with our consultation process,” he said.

“If you support this you are in no way saying you do not support Harvest Rock, we are just doing the right thing by the residents and doing the right consultation.”

The section of Bartels Road that will be closed for the festival.

 The consultation about Harvest Rock road closures received 62 submissions, with 38 in support of the road closures, 20 against and four neutral.

Residents opposed to road closures said they were unhappy with the disruption to traffic in and out of the city, interruptions to public transport, and the city having “too many events”.

“Harvest Rock brings road closures which are exceedingly inconvenient in this area, a somewhat unusual crowd, more traffic, more noise, more opportunistic thefts,” one resident wrote.

“I understand that tourism and events are important but so is the happiness of your ratepayers,” said another.

But other residents, city workers and businesses sang Harvest Rock’s praises.

“This is a fantastic event that invigorates the city and encourages visitors to our precinct – many of whom have deep pockets and looking to spend in the area! This closure is for such a small period of time where the benefit far outweighs the hassle,” wrote one business owner.

“We shouldn’t let the NIMBYs of East Terrace (who, let’s face it, already have life pretty damn good) stop these sorts of events – the economic and cultural benefits of this event – which is unique to Adelaide – speak for itself,” said a resident.

22 per cent of Harvest Rock attendees in 2023 were first-time visitors to Adelaide. 94 per cent of these people came to Adelaide specifically for Harvest Rock.

When discussing whether another consultation would produce a different result, Lord Mayor Jane Lomax-Smith said “I’m not sure that we can read the crystals in that way”.

“I do wonder if we’re trying to say we don’t like the response from this consultation, we’ll have another one to see if we get another answer,” she said. 

Councillor Carmel Noon said she was happy to support another consultation but the state government had the power to override any council decision, and had actually done so before in 2022.

I recall the previous council voted this down and gave the government the opportunity to override us and make us all look foolish,” Noon said. 

Councillor Philip Martin said that the 2023 Harvest Rock festival set a record for the highest number of hotel rooms occupied across Adelaide on a Saturday night.

We know that the government likes this event, we know the people of South Australia like this event,” he said. 

“I’m not surprised that 15 people responded and said ‘don’t do it’, and I suspect if we have another consultation we might get a few more… but Lord Mayor what is the point?

“Let’s not muck around, let’s recognise the reality that this event is here to stay, it would be a foolish council that raised a metaphorical finger at anyone and said ‘don’t do it’.”

The council chamber was split with five councillors in favour of another consultation, and five against. Lord Mayor Jane Lomax-Smith cast the deciding vote against another round of consultation.

Bartels Road will be closed from 5am October 9 to 11:59pm October 14 for the third edition of Harvest Rock, which will take place on Saturday, October 12 and Sunday, October 13.

Now the question on CityMag‘s mind is when is Harvest Rock dropping its lineup, and will it feature more local artists this time around? 


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