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March 27, 2024

Ruck on after the footy in a festival big-noting local music

Music SA and Adelaide City Council are running a four-day music festival to coincide with the AFL’s Gather Round to expose visitors and locals to SA’s musical talent.

  • Words: Helen Karakulak
  • Pictures: supplied
  • Main picture: Samuel Graves

60 local artists will perform in venues across the city over the weekend of Gather Round, allowing local artists to benefit from the festival feel of the footy-filled weekend. 


Ruck and Roll Festival

Thursday, April 4 – Sunday, April 7
11am onwards, daily.


Gather Round will run from Thursday, April 4 to Sunday, April 7 with nine matches played across the state. The City of Adelaide has partnered with Music SA to put on a new “Ruck and Roll” festival to coincide with Gather Round. 

Music SA CEO Christine Schloithe tells CityMag the ‘Ruck and Roll’ festival is an opportunity to supplement existing programming in live music venues around the city and coordinate gigs to maximise the number of local artists seen. 

We’re layering activity throughout the day, so kicking off with some brackets at 11am in the morning as people start to move throughout the city and head to matches and then going through until nine o’clock at night and then from that point that’s really when the traditional live music venues start to get underway as well,” she says. 

Christine says it was important to Music SA that there is a focus on artists playing original music, with the occasional cover and reworkings of popular hits thrown in. 

“It is a focus on original music, which is not often something that is automatically complimentary with a sporting event, but I think it’s really important to showcase the depth and breadth of the talent that we’ve got in South Australia,” she says. 

Gather Round has a concert scheduled following the final match on Sunday, with Jet headlining and Baker Boy as the supporting act. The Temper Trap is also performing at the Norwood Food and Wine Festival on Sunday. 

The $40,000 Ruck and Roll festival isn’t trying to compete with these larger events, but their local program coexists and enriches the experience of punters out and about between matches.

Some of the venues playing host to earlier daytime sessions include Peter Rabbit in the West End, UR Caffe in North Adelaide, with The Griffins Hotel, The Cumby, West Oak, Bar Torino and many more hosting artists in the arvo and into the evening. 

Christine says having timeslots span the morning to evening creates a “really vibrant sense of something happening in the city” as visitors and locals move through town. 

“We realised that people were out and about much earlier … this time of year there’s such beautiful weather that they’re really interested in getting out and about in the city,” she says.

“If they’re visitors they want to have a look at the shops and go to the cafes and have breakfast out and really have that experience.” 

CityMag found that of the major music festivals in 2023, locals were often left behind. In a time where the gig economy is struggling, festivals could be a local artists lifeline. This picture: Samuel Graves

In 2023’s inaugural Gather Round, tickets to the matches sold out, with 268,000 fans attending, including over 40,000 interstate visitors. A similar impact is expected this year, with all nine matches selling out. 

While it’s a good opportunity for artists to reach visitors, Christine says it’s also an opportunity for local footy fans to find a new favourite musician. 

I think it’s equally important to showcase our artists to South Australians that might not always go to live music in the same way that people who are really passionate about live music will be getting out and circulating,” she says. 

Kicking off the Ruck and Roll program is Kaurna Cronin playing at Peter Rabbit on Thursday at 11am. Christine says it was a great opportunity to grab him before he heads off on an international tour at the end of April. 

Other artists on the lineup include My Cherie, Banjo Jackson, Chloe Sea and Lucas Day.

Christine says one of the artists she was excited to program across multiple sets over the weekend is Emerauld, an indie rock and pop artist from regional SA. 

“It’s not just city-based artists that have got guernseys in this,” she says. 

Ruck and Roll is a collection of free live music events around the city, with all artists paid through contract arrangements with the City of Adelaide. 

The Ruck and Roll announcement comes as live music venues are struggling with rising costs and declining patrons. Just last month, the council acknowledged the struggles of Adelaide’s nightlife and resolved to investigate ways to support the live music industry in their upcoming budget. 

The Lord Mayor says the new Ruck and Roll festival “combines our city’s two greatest loves, sports and music”.  

“With all of these fantastic venues being not much more than a drop punt from Adelaide Oval, I encourage people to enjoy some quality live music before a game and to ‘play on’ afterwards.”

Ruck and Roll festival kicks off Thursday, April 4. View the full program on Music SA’s website

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