Following the huge success of the inaugural Bay Dreams South music festival in early January this year, around 20,000 people are expected at Trafalgar Park again on 4 January 2020.

The popular summer music event is a sister festival to Bay Dreams in Tauranga on 2 January. With events also scheduled before and after the festival at the Trafalgar Centre, and other New Year and summer events planned, Nelson is expected to be buzzing over 3 – 5 January. 

Council has been working closely with event organisers to make sure that the festival runs smoothly, the impact on residents is minimised and that we’re ready to welcome up to 17,000 visiting ticket holders to the city. Plans for additional camping for ticket holders will be centralised at Rutherford Park instead of having a second campground at Saxton Field. Management of transport, noise, waste, and safety of both people and property, are being worked through using the first event’s successful model as a starting point for additional improvements. 

These new initiatives include free buses provided by festival organisers for ticket holders to and from Trafalgar Park on 4 January. These will run to Brook Valley Holiday Park, Maitai Valley Motor Camp, Tahunanui, Stoke and Richmond. The buses will follow the regular bus routes so that ticket holders staying with friends and family can also hop on board. Improvements to their waste minimisation programme have also been put in place which will aim to increase the diversion of event waste to landfill from an impressive 60% in 2019, to 65% in 2020, using a variety of waste minimisation, re-use and recycling methods.  

Feedback from residents and businesses at community meetings held on 2 December with festival organisers and Council staff are also being considered in decision making around the event.

The festival kicks off at 11am on 4 January and the final acts will finish around 10.45pm with most ticket holders out of the park by 11pm. The pre-party at the Trafalgar Centre on 3 January will run from 8pm and go until 2am the following morning.

The post festival party also at the Trafalgar Centre starts at 10.30pm on 4 January and will go until 2.00am the following morning. Like the festival, the pre and post-parties are restricted to people over 18 years of age.

Road closures and bus drop-off locations have been carefully considered following feedback from business owners this year. Wakatu Square Carpark remains the most suitable location for festival buses, and for safety, space and availability reasons will be the drop-off and pick-up point for concert goers. The carpark will remain open for public use until 5.30pm on 4 January, with the exception of a section close to the bus depot. United Video customers will also have access to the store until 9pm.

Wakatu Lane and Achilles Ave will be closed from 5.30pm Friday, 4 January to 3.30am Saturday, 5 January 2019. Paru Paru Road will also be closed all day beyond the entrances to Countdown and the Salvation Army Family store. 

If you have family or friends planning to visit over this time, and they don’t already have accommodation booked, it might be an idea to suggest they come before or after this influx of visitors.  

Bay Dreams organisers will be setting up an 0800 number for residents and businesses to report any concerns. More information about Bay Dreams is also available on our website, see 

Tickets are still available for the festival, if you’re thinking about potential gift ideas or popping along to the festival yourself. See to find out how to buy tickets.