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Nelson readies for Bay Dreams 2021

Nelson readies for Bay Dreams 2021

Dozens of internationally renowned performers and thousands of visitors will gather in Nelson in January for the star-studded Bay Dreams 2021 festival.

Back in Nelson for its third year, Bay Dreams takes place in Rutherford Park and the Trafalgar Centre from 11am-11pm 5 January, with a pre-party inside the Trafalgar Centre on 4 January from 8pm-2am.

The festival will bring thousands of visitors to the region and Nelson City Council has been working with festival organisers and partners, including NZ Police, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, Nelson Marlborough Health and St John, to help ensure the event runs smoothly. Detailed plans are in place for the management of transport, noise, waste and safety of those attending the event and the wider community.

Camping for the 2021 festival is at Rutherford Park, with the camping area situated between the Trafalgar Centre and Trafalgar Park. The campground is available for ticket-holders only and spaces must be booked via the Bay Dreams website. The Maitai/Mahitahi Walkway and bridge connecting Rutherford and Trafalgar Park will be closed to the public from 9am 4 January to 4pm 6 January.

Ticketholders will be able to access buses for free to and from Wakatū Square in central Nelson on 5 January. The buses will run from Richmond, Stoke, Tāhunanui, the Brook Valley Holiday Park and Maitai Valley Holiday Park. Buses will follow their regular bus routes.

On 5 January, a small section of Wakatū Square will be used as a bus drop-off point, meaning there will be plenty of space left for parking. However, from 5.30pm that day, the car park will be closed to allow the space to be dedicated to the Festival bus services and will reopen after 1am on 6 January.

During the period of the festival, some roads immediately surrounding Rutherford Park will be closed.

  • Paru Paru Rd: 6am Sunday 3 January – 6am Wednesday 6 January 2021. One lane will be open for Countdown Supermarket customers to exit the supermarket on to Paru Paru Rd.
  • Archilles Ave/Wakatū Square: 5.30pm Tuesday 5 January – 1am Wednesday 6 January 2021
  • Hathaway Terrace: 9am Tuesday 5 January – 1am Wednesday 6 January 2021
  • Hathaway car park: 6am Sunday 3 January – 6am Wednesday 6 January 2021

Anyone heading to the festival should allow extra time to get there. Nelson is always a popular summer destination, but with so many visitors expected, these few days could be much busier than usual.

For more information about the festival, please see Council’s Bay Dreams South FAQ and the Bay Dreams FAQ To buy tickets, please visit


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