Video Sharon Shostak
Story Luis Feliu
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.’
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.
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.