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April 14, 2021

Shark attacks Prime Minister at Splendour In The Grass

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First Dog on the Moon at Splendour in the Grass 2015. Photo Jeff Dawson
First Dog on the Moon at Splendour in the Grass 2015. Photo Jeff Dawson

A particularly vicious shark, which appeared to have previously devoured a cartoonist (First Dog on the Moon), savagely mauled Tony Abbott and then turned on his prize-winning Government at the Guardian’s Forum at this year’s Splendour in the Grass festival.

Last weekend the rain turned the music and arts festival site into a mudbath, but it didn’t dampen the spirits of the thousands of mad keen fans.

It was the 15th annual event but only the third at Splendour’s new home at North Byron Parklands.

Some 30,000 people partied to the sounds of 100 different acts, including Florence and the Machine, Flight Facilities, The Grates, Mark Ronson, Azealea Banks, Johnny Mar, Ryan Adams and Blur.

Jeff Dawson’s photo gallery

As well as a craft alley and ‘adult’ games such as the giant inflatable ‘Nicholas Cage’ cage, many festival-goers added mud sliding to their list of must-do activities.

Slow traffic

Festival organiser Jessica Ducrou admitted the festival’s final challenge would be today, as thousands of sodden campers attempted to strike their tents and depart the rain-drenched site.

She urged people to take their time and take advantage of the fact that food stalls would remain open throughout the day to keep the many remaining hungry mouths fed, while campers packed up and began the long trek home.

Sound monitored

Echonetdaily has yet to receive any noise complaints from local residents about this year’s Splendour, which is a great improvement on the level of complaint about last year’s Splendour and New Year’s Falls Festival.

Prior to this year’s festival, organisers requested a variation to their approval that would allow them to increase some frequencies but decrease bass frequencies in the hope of minimising complaints and maximising impact on the site.

The NSW Department of Planning announced on Thursday that it would have a team monitoring the sound on site throughout the duration of the festival.

Drug dogs

Paramedics and doctors on site treated a number of patients for a range of injuries, saying alcohol and drugs played a significant role in many of these incidents.

However, organisers said presentations at its emergency tent were mainly due to foot-related issues, adding that ‘the numbers were down on previous years’.

Police once again conducted their controversial drug-dog operation, which they say was responsible for the seizure of 468 grams of various substances. Police issued 75 cannabis cautions and charged 92 people with drug-related offences.

Tweed/Byron Local Area Commander, Acting Superintendent Gary Cowan, said he was pleased that the majority of festival-goers heeded police warnings and enjoyed a safe weekend.

‘Police work closely with Splendour organisers to ensure the festival is safe and fun, and we are pleased the overwhelming majority of revellers were well-behaved all weekend,’ Supt Cowan said.

‘I am disappointed there were still some people who ignored our advice and tried to bring illegal drugs past the drug-detection dogs and through the gates. We arrested a number of people with large amounts of drugs and, in court, we will allege these people were planning to sell the drugs inside the festival,’ he added.


On Thursday (23 July 2015) a police drug dog unit was patrolling the car park of the festival. One of the dogs indicated a scent around a blue Holden station wagon. Police conducted an extensive search of the car and located prohibited drugs in the air filter of the vehicle. In total, officers seized seven MDMA tablets, 3.4 grams of cannabis and 53 capsules containing magic mushrooms from the vehicle. A 19-year-old man was arrested. He will be charged in the coming weeks.

On Friday (24 July 2015) a 21-year-old woman was arrested after police found her to be in possession of 123 tablets of MDMA and a re-sealable bag of cocaine. She was charged with drug supply offences, before being granted conditional bail to appear at Byron Bay Local Court on September 11.

Also on Friday, a 19-year-old man was arrested with what police believe to be 92 MDMA tablets, 26 LSD tabs and 35 grams of cannabis. The man was charged with drug supply offences and will appear at Byron Bay Local Court on September 11.

On Sunday (26 July 2015) two 18-year-old men were stopped and searched at the front gates of the festival. Police allegedly located a tin with 398 cardboard squares in plastic bags, believed to be LSD tabs. The first man was charged with supply greater than indictable quantity of a prohibited drug (LSD), deal with the suspected proceeds of crime, possess prohibited drug (cannabis), trespass and breach of bail. The second man was charged with breach of bail and trespassing. They were both refused bail to appear before Tweed Heads Local Court today (27 July 2015).

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  1. The report about an absence of noise complaints is disappointing. Just because Echo online hasn’t received complaints doesn’t mean there weren’t any. A simple call to Splendour officials by the Echo would have revealed that there were dozens of complaints. Please, Splendour is not just about the revellers; it is also about local communities trying to make Splendour a good neighbour

  2. That the Echo received no noise complaints is not really indicative of the lack of disturbance to the community’s sleep but rather that people may finally have realised that complaining to the paper on this issue does not help and that complaining to Splendour itself may. Residents surrounding the festival site were again subjected to noise levels that vibrated windows and penetrated homes until well into the night. If this years Splendour were already using the bass control you seem to be suggesting, then it appears to have been a dismal failure and better control needs to be investigated. The music is great, the festival is great but why can’t they keep the music at their house, not mine? Four days in a row of noise is a very different kettle of fish to a one off event.

  3. People who were disturbed by the noise from Splendour were supposed to call the North Byron Parklands hotline, not The Echo. The flyers that Parklands distributed to residents gave the hotline number and directed residents to call that number with any festival-related concerns and questions. The best way for The Echo to report accurately on noise-related complaints during Splendour would be to ask Parklands for the number of calls the hotline staff received that involved people complaining about the noise.

  4. I phoned the sound-compalints hotline. Two k’s from Mullumbimby the bass booming could be heard. At my house in south Ocean Shores with windows closed I could hear loud bass on Friday night. The hotline person said there were many noise complaints on Friday. The complaints will be sent to the NSW Dept of Planning, which overrode Byron Council and the NSW Land and Environment Court Judge Preston’s ruling against Splendour at this site. The local community held three packed protest meetings from 2007 onwards against Splendour at Yelgun. Splendour NEVER consulted the community, which is a pre-requisite for DA approval.

  5. CONOS Inc received numerous noise complaints and these people said they had contacted the event hotline. Echonet is not a reliable gauge of noise complaints as people would have two put their complaint to at least two different contacts.
    Some issues that the Echo failed to observe (it would be hard to miss many of these things):
    * Toilets were a disaster of mud and poo and wee and smelt from 10 -20 mt away; _ health hazard
    * Not enough toilets – big lineups;
    * No sawdust in composting toilets;
    * Forest blocks used as shit toilets – peeing happening everywhere;
    * Mud was treacherous especially in crowds. Ground surface not flat and very awkward; Unmarked ditches;
    * Not an “all-age” event. Very dangerous for child, the few seen were being carried;
    * Poor environmental controls;
    * Camping abutting forest blocks (fire danger);
    * Unregulated camping – fire danger;
    * Much High strength alcohol brought in and consumed;
    * Reports of traffic increases and generally fast speeds;
    * Inadequate buses (i.e. a report of 3 hour wait at mullum with 200 people waiting);
    * Bus lines were more like riot lines – uncontrolled and dangerous (distressed people evident);
    * many cars parked up Yelgun road side and wooyung road;
    * SITG FaceBook and Webpages doctored to delete mud pictures and negative comments;
    * Litter along road side and at bus stops;
    * barely any drinking water available – only saw two tanks in main area;
    * Amphitheatre slopes very difficult and dangerous with mud.

    More info on CONOS Inc on FaceBook plus our on-going petition to move the festivals away from the floodplain and the biological hotspot.

  6. Telecommunications in the North where failing on Thursday and over Festival Days which could have placed people with only mobile connection in great difficulty. this may not have been covered by the PAC but has become an issue that has to be addressed before another Festival is held; an till such time numbers at NBP should be lowered.
    Noise in many areas was unbearable and people could not get through to Hotline. So numbers that Splendour will give to the DoP will probably not be a proper representation.
    Mud on roads was so bad that it covered up middle lines an people where on wrong side of Tweed Valley Way, with parking an absolute disgrace, cars bogged, parked outside the Festival etc.
    Mud so deep and smell of acid sulphate ….which can result in rashes…..so bad that many got suck.
    Buses with the increase in numbers where inadequate….no excuse this is there 3rd year.
    I could go on …but find it very sad that no one from the Echo bothered to get in touch with any of the Community or Village Associations in the North to find out what actually effected them before going to print.
    This is for days not a weekend

  7. Congratulations SITG for environmental restoration- turning an old swamp into a new swamp- Metgasco could learn a lot from this experience (irony intended).

  8. Noise levels were up ,my windows did not vibrate last year ! Foot traffic along Shara blvd seemed busier more broken glass more vandalised vegetation and I’m sure more money for the lucky few at the top of the splendour chain. There was no community consultation nor myself or any of my neighbours received mail from splendour , although they claim to have sent out 3000 letters to local residents.

  9. Echo is happy to take Splendour advertising cash.

    Echo reporting & integrity appears to be seriously compromised by said cash.

    A great read usually, astonishingly hypocritical when it suits.

    You can sell your soul, but difficult to buy it back.



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