Music review: Harvest Rock Festival

Rain, wind and mud weren’t enough to stop the party at Harvest Rock, with 15,000 revellers braving the conditions each day to enjoy the spectacular line-up of artists, and organisers declaring that we can expect to see the festival return to Adelaide.

Nov 21, 2022, updated Nov 24, 2022
Punters watching Crowded House on Sunday. Photo: Secret Sounds

Punters watching Crowded House on Sunday. Photo: Secret Sounds

Plans for the inaugural Harvest Rock music festival in Rymill Park/Murlawirrapurka and King Rodney Park/Ityamai-itpina were almost stymied earlier in the year when Adelaide City Council voted against the organisers’ request for a four-day partial closure of Bartels Road to enable it do go ahead. Then the State Government used its powers to overrule the council by declaring the festival a major event – and thank goodness it did.

On Saturday, blue skies and a punishing sun confused punters arriving in wet-weather gear, as per the foreboding forecast of showers and storms.

The festival kicked off with Neil Young’s Harvest Live, performed by Australian Rock Collective, and fans were delighted to hear the album in its entirety with a strong performance by the band which featured members of Spiderbait, Jet, Powderfinger, You Am I and The Wrights.

Singer-songwriter Marlon Williams’ set brought the crowd forward, with the Kiwi rocketing through the bouncier numbers of his catalogue. Williams’ velvet voice and lackadaisical dance moves were a delight.

The short-lived sunshine began to disappear during the powerhouse performances by Meg Mac and Australian rock stalwarts You Am I, and by the time Goanna hit the stage the rain had well and truly set in – yet punters were unfazed. As the heavens opened above, Goanna fans spanning several generations sang along to songs from the folk-rock band’s debut album Spirit of Place that speak of engagement in Indigenous rights and environmental activism.

The audience’s willingness to brave the elements to see the type of music performances so often missed in our state came to characterise the remainder of the festival.

Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett performing ‘Over Everything’ at Harvest Rock. Photo:

Fans of Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile were delighted to see them perform together during Barnett’s set, with the duo playing “Over Everything”, the lead single from their 2017 collaboration. Barnett and Vile were also incredible in their own adjacent sets.

Groove Armada’s set was marred for some by its low volume, with fans having to crowd around the Vines Stage speakers – those that did had no complaints.

The atmosphere was electric as everyone flocked to the Harvest Stage to see headline act Jack White’s only Australian show and he didn’t disappoint, playing a number of his recent solo releases as well as songs from The White Stripes. Brimming with energy, White strutted around the stage during his blues-infused set, riling up the crowd with manic chatter between songs and ending his nearly two-hour performance with The White Stripes hit “Seven Nation Army”.

Jack White playing his only Australian show on Saturday. Photo: David James Swanson

By Sunday, the mud and bog on site had well and truly set in. Genesis Owusu was a particular standout in the day two line-up, with the Canberra singer working the crowd into a dancing frenzy during an upbeat and theatrical performance.

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Producers and DJs The Avalanches also kept the crowd moving with a rolling set, though some fans were disappointed not to hear more of their songs from the sample-ridden Since I Left You and Wildflower.

International acts Khruangbin, Hot Chip and Sam Fender all put on stellar performances, before Crowded House headlined with an emotional set featuring some of their best-known hits. As they closed with “Better Be Home Soon”, audience members linked arms, hugged and sang along, with some even reduced to tears – or maybe that was the rain.

The skies opened towards the end of Crowded House’s set. Picture Jason Katsaras

Festival-goers sit by the pond in Rymill Park. Picture:

Neil Finn performing with Crowded House. Photo: Secret Sounds

Sam Fender plays on the Vines Stage. Picture: Jason Katsaras

Festival attendees huddled under a tarp during Angus and Julia Stone’s set. Photo: Jason Katsaras

The Living End brought raw rock and roll energy to the Sunday crowd. Picture: Secret Sounds



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