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Byron Shire
June 15, 2024

Camping danger at Splendour

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Seems no-one wants to know!

Last week I submitted a letter with photo detailing how the camping areas at the recent Splendour festival posed a serious danger to their patrons.

The response was a short dismissal in an article on the basis of a council assurance there was a bushfire evacuation plan, nothing to do with my concerns.

The camp areas were severely overcrowded with no discernible layout pattern and surrounded by a high fence with limited exits. I spoke to a number of campers and none were aware of any evacuation plan.

Any fire, gas explosion or other violent event at night, with many campers affected by alcohol or other drugs, would have caused an extremely dangerous situation as people struggled to get away in the dark.

I asked the mayor, who attended the event (hopefully at his own expense), if he was happy with the council’s approval of these areas.

He mentioned the bushfire plan and expressed confidence that the staff had done their job, but rather undermined this assurance with the comment, ‘it was much worse last year when they couldn’t even get the fire trucks in’.

As a former scientifically-trained army logistics officer (experienced in field layouts) and a qualified health surveyor, I know what I am talking about.

If the mayor and GM are happy that council has adequately performed to their duty of care in this matter let them say so, and if they think they have, then go away and revise their protocols before someone gets killed.

If anyone is contacting the council again about this, I suggest you ask:

1. Was there a detailed layout plan of the campsites submitted and can you see them?
2. Were the campsites inspected after occupancy? If so when and how often?
3. What legislation/criteria was used in assessing these layouts?
4. Did the campsites conform to this standard at all times?
5. Was there an evacuation plan covering all contingencies disseminated to campers?

I suspect that these sites were never inspected due to either due to the hazy division of responsibility between the council and the DoP or because someone wasn’t too keen to have it done…

Tom Tabart, Bangalow


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  1. So true Tom! After disasters overseas at festivals you’d think they would learn. To me it is self-evident that they could not evac people quickly (nor move them to a so-called safe area). My judgement is based on the many hours patrons spend trying to leave the site after the festival. Do the organisers care or do they continue to promote that every things fine. Which reminds me … how is it!… the reason that the noise was so loud and travelled so far was not because it was turned up too loud .. it was because the wind kept changing directions!!! Hahaha

  2. Thank-you TOM TABART:
    For a highly specialised enquiry!!
    Much respect in Scientific(mass) Army LOGISTICS !

    Byron Bay (CBD) ++ rural & wet-lands seem a potential disaster.
    In town planning & Enviromental & Public Health!!!
    This ex-rate-payer got out very fast!
    Potential for disaster!!
    Paradise lost…

  3. It was fine mate, there was no problem and it will be fine next time too, bigger issues to worry about than some campers. She’ll be right mate. Thanks for worrying tho. I’m sure the promoters don’t care as long as they make a huge profit.


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