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Byron Shire
April 22, 2021

Splendour beds into new home

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Splendour In The Grass organisers have promised to iron out the kinks for next year after some teething problems including traffic and bus delays during its first festival held at its new site at Yelgun.

But most of the 25,000 people who packed into the North Byron Parklands site for the three-day event enjoyed themselves and the lineup of over 80 acts from Australia and abroad.

After the first day on Friday, scores of punters complained via the Splendour Facebook site about the long delays in shuttle bus services, the traffic chaos which also snagged some performers, as well as the long queues and waits to get into the site, in some cases up to several hours.

Some who paid for premium camping also complained service was not up to scratch.

But complaints soon abated as the event moved into full swing and fine, sunny weather held up.

Co-producers Jessica Ducrou and Paul Piticco thanked people for their patience, saying ‘we promise to get the kinks out for 2014’.

‘We’re so happy that we finally got to our dream home and so many of you came to celebrate with us. For those of you who were so patient when arriving we thank you,’ they said in a statement.

‘There were a few teething problems with the new site including some external issues with the bus services.

‘After six months of continual wet weather in the lead up to the show, on Thursday night the heavens opened again just as a surge of campers arrived to enter the site.

‘The meeting of these two events resulted in traffic and an uncomfortable set up for some of our campers.

‘However, once everyone was on site it was one hell of an awesome time.’

Sniffer dogs

Police also were forced to defend their drug-dog operation which some blamed for traffic delays.

Tweed Byron police commander Stuart Wilkins said reports of traffic delays blamed on drug sniffer dogs used on traffic entering the site on Thursday were wrong.

Superintendent Wilkins said the drug-dog operation had ‘absolutely no impact’ on traffic delays and police had no input on the festival’s traffic management plan.

Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson said councillors and staff would soon hold a meeting with festival organisers, police and neighbouring residents to review the event’s impacts and prepare for next year.

Cr Richardson told the ABC the meeting would work out what measures could be put in place to minimise adverse impacts for next year’s event.

He pointed out one positive aspect from the new site was that tourism income was more widespread throughout the shire, with traders in the townships of Ocean Shores, Brunswick Heads and Mullumbimby better patronised than when the festival was held at Belongil Fields in Byron Bay.

A nearby neighbour told Echonetdaily they were generally happy with the outcome and noise was ‘nothing unexpected, but we do live behind a ridge so it would have been more muffled’.

The neighbour, who was given a handful of tickets by organisers to attend the event over the weekend, said they were yet to know exactly what impact the event had on the surrounding area, in terms of the environment and on other neighbours.

‘Thankfully it didn’t pour, as getting around at one of the main tents was a fairly boggy affair,’ he said.

Another neighbouring resident who was also given a number of free tickets, invited friends from Sydney for the event.

Enjoyed

The neighbour said friends and families camped on their property and all thoroughly enjoyed the festival experience.

The onsite medical centre which operated 24-hours each day experienced a lower rate of injury rates than last year, according to organisers.

‘Eighty-two per cent of presentations (were) due to minor foot care issues such as blisters. Patients requiring ambulance transports to hospital were also lower than in previous years,’ they said.

The 13th annual Splendour had, according to organisers, ‘just too many highlights to mention.

‘The music, the food, the art, the activities and most of all you guys made it a weekend to remember,’ Ms Ducrou and Mr Piticco said.

They said the 25,000 ‘music and arts fans truly made the most of all that was on offer’.

Highlight performers included Deap Vally, Daughter, Flight Facilities, Babyshambles, Mumford & Sons, Birds Of Tokyo, Empire Of The Sun, The National, Of Monsters and Men, Gurrumul and You Am I.

One of the main acts booked, Frank Ocean, was forced to pull out due to illness was replaced by Kiwi songstress Lorde.

 


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5 COMMENTS

  1. About 25% of people I talked to were very disappointed and said that the festival organisers were being overtly greedy. These people (who had all been to Splendour before) have said they wont return.

  2. Wow – a glowing report that glossed over the terrible shambles that was SITG. Many patrons are seeking a refund, and why wouldn’t they? All those young people who forked out in advanced for bus tickets and then missed much of the first days act due to poor festival planning. Then to confront a shortage of drinking water dispense points (as promised); filthy toilets; poor showers; long muddy walks between the car park and the site; loss of the headline act (Frank Ocean); the many kids who had to walk home in the dark to Ocean Shores due to the bus scene; queues to everything (so the organisers suggested buying drink tickets in bulk!). Many, if not most, thought the site was inappropriate and nowhere near as good a the Woodford site. Many seemed to agree with the remark from one punter: “Great music, great crowd, monumental logistic stuffup: North Byron Parklands 25 km north of Byron in the middle of nowhere with the Byron name snuck in to appear like it’s still in Byron Bay. Massive queues, inadequate filthy overflowing toilets so women had to squat on the ground, $60 a day to park, transport back to Byron and surrounds was like an afterthought, crap camping and can’t take your car to camp site, obscene ripoff alcohol prices, nazi control over normal freedoms like alcohol in a camping area. Shame on you greedy organisers”. Yeah Echo, I remember the days when you had much more integrity in your reporting.

  3. What i didnt appreciate was picking my children up from school at 2.30 on friday afternoon having to weave in and out of queues of people wandering on the road and trying to hail for a lift while drinking alcohol in public. Im sick of seeing Byron used as piss-up central – and during school hours is a complete joke. The police told me that NSW laws do not allow them to fine people (unlike QLD). All they can do is tip out open bottles. Music festivals have become an excuse for mass drunkenness and filling the pockets of a few merchants.

  4. Here is a distressed letter i received from a Byron business owner. Yes, it seems the Echo has been bought.

    “Hey Mac. Hoping you have some advice. Splendour was and still is what can only be described as a major inconvenience for us with absolutely no benefit to us whatsoever. I’m more pissed off than I’ve been in a long time and I feel a bit helpless. I have no idea what to do about it. For starters, the environmental impact is as clear as day. All you have to do is look at the various aerial photos of the site in full swing to see that. Disgusting. Too much development with no real erosion management. You can see this in all the photos they have posted. The thing that blows me away is that theres this attitude that their impact was very minimal. No one gives a shit or understands. Then theres the impact on our business. We’ve had the worst 4-5 days we’ve had in some time. I was sceptical from the start but it was worse than I imagined. They even had 2 stores set up out there selling our product. Advertising that the festival was in Byron made sure the town was booked out but no one was around. Thats fine normally. I’m not that greedy that I want tourists to inundate the town every single day. I think Byron needs some quiet times. Thats part of the attraction of the place anyway. The whole attitude of it was a big fuck you to the community. A lot less people saw the benefits to the town that were talked about. As always it was the booze sellers and the accommodation places that got the cash. No surprises there. Now The Echo has done some nice puff piece on the festival. All I hear about is how much of a massive balls-up it was but I guess they spend some decent advertising dollars to buy good PR. Then theres the traffic delays, obviously the noise at the house. That was simply more than is acceptable. It was like the nextdoor neighbours were partying with a really loud stereo playing. We finally got the sound engineer out to take a reading but of course he came between bands or something. Again, no surprises whatsoever there. They couldn’t have planned that trick any better. He arrived 5 mins after the noise subsided from the loudest band of the night. I could hear it clearly from the TV room so we had no chance of sleeping through it. Anyway, I could go on and on. The town has a fair few muddy festival goers milling around. Just getting burgers etc and leaving. The locals (who have become a good bunch of customers of ours) are still avoiding the town. I now have to list music festivals at the new site up there as a “Threat” to our business in our business plan. Its a legit problem. I wrote them an email telling them about the impact on our business but of course I didn’t hear back from anyone. I don’t expect any of them to take me seriously. They are a business, a business with no obvious moral or ethical conscience so why would they? They obviously like to make it look as though they are “green” but to anyone with a clue we know thats just a facade. They even had a place people could get their picture taken planting a fucking tree. Are you fucking kidding me? Did you see the part of bush they carved up? Aaah, clearly I’m a bit worked up. Let me know if you have any ideas what I should do.

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