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July 23, 2024

Splendour, Falls sell to multinational festival promoter

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Splendour in the Grass 2015. Photo Jeff Dawson
Splendour in the Grass 2015. Photo Jeff Dawson

Chris Dobney

Multinational festival promoter Live Nation has bought a 51 per cent interest in Secret Sounds Group, the Australian company led by Jessica Ducrou and Paul Piticco that produces Splendour and Falls festivals.

Live Nation made the announcement in a media statement released jointly in Australia and the US on Friday, which could signal further demand for additional festivals at Splendour’s North Byron Parklands site.

First Oz festivals

Splendour in the Grass and Falls are the first Australian festivals to join Live Nation, which claims to have the ‘largest and most diverse festival portfolio in the world’, encompassing more than 80 global festivals, including Governors Ball, Lollapalooza, Reading, Leeds and Rock Werchter.

Ducrou and Pittco have moved to ‘reassure our festival audience, nothing will change with Splendour In The Grass and Falls, it’s business as usual.’

‘Our ethos and concepts will remain as they always have, bringing the best artists and experiences from around Australia and overseas to our events. We’ve had multiple investors over the years and we are thrilled to welcome Live Nation on board who understand the music business completely, we’re really excited about the future,’ they said.

Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino said Ducrou and Pittco had ‘created events that attract the biggest artists in the world but still feel uniquely Australian.’

‘We look forward to partnering with them to find new ways to grow our live event footprint across Australia,’ Mr Rapino said.

Parklands excluded

The purchase includes Secret Sounds’ touring, sponsorship, PR, artist management and domestic agency businesses.

But the group says that the acquisition does not include purchase of the North Byron Parklands (NBP) festival site at Yelgun.

‘This Live Nation partnership does not include Parklands nor our record labels and venues, they are excluded from the investment,’ Ducrou and Pittco told Echonetdaily.

NBP is currently applying to the state government for permanent approval to hold 12 events a year with up to 50,000 punters and a further eight events with up to 25,000.


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  1. North Byron Parklands needs to make public the following information, particularly in context of pending rate rises for residents in Byron Shire:
    (a) What developer contributions is NBP making to Byron Council to accompany any DA to expand their operations. What developer contributions has NBP made to BSC to date. If no developer contributions have been made what has been the value of those contributions for which NBP has been exempt and who made the decision to exempt NBP?

    (b) Where is raw sewage been trucked to for processing and an estimate of the equivalent tenement it represents (this is a measure of the number of people generating that sewage load)

    (c) where is the garbage been trucked to and what is the load of that garbage

    It would be appropriate to answer the above in a letter to be published in the Echo?

  2. The selling of 51% by Ducrou and Pittco demonstrates for all time the disingenuous and appalling spin which has been dished out to the community. Imagine what Byron Shire will be like if the Baird government which is run for corporate interests, allows a US company to destroy this beautiful region with never ending massive festivals. Already its almost impossible to get in and out of Byron as more and more people descend on this small town with no infrastructure capable of dealing with the massive numbers which are now on the table. 12 events with 50,000 and 8 events with 25,000.
    What was the point of having a trial ?
    Why have a community hot line ?
    The deception by these people who see Byron as ” the east coast capital of festivals” is mind blowing.
    If Baird allows this travesty, Byron will be sold off and the lifestyles of people who live here to enjoy the beauty and peace will be forever ruined.

  3. It would also be nice to know that:

    Workers get paid a “life supporting” wage.
    The multi national pays Australian tax.
    Secret Sounds Inc and its shareholders pay tax.
    Superannuation for workers is actually paid.
    Whether Secret Sounds and Live Nation actually employ people or distance themselves from real live human beings by using an “employment agent”.

  4. Secret Sounds is an appropriate name for Splendour operations. In 2007 a handful of locals found out about the secret plan for a mega festival site on our doorstep via the grapevine. There was no announcement. Community was never consulted. Yes way back when first told about Splendour mega festival on an envornmentally sensitive wildlife corridor, koala habitat, within a Nature Reserve and close to a populated township, we thought this plan for ever-increasing events and numbers would happen! But I’m still shocked. It’s always been about money, with music a close second, local commmunity 9th (even those bought off by gifts and glass beads), and the environment comes a firm last. Back then Jessica Ducrou said at a meeting she wanted it to be as big as Glastonbury… so that’s 175,000 people. Get ready folks… already Splendour are pushing for massive increases in number of patrons and number of festivals. The trial period is nearly over and they have not impressed locals, including the dozens of rare and endangered flora and fauna in and around the site. Protest their application.

  5. Excellent
    Even better bands coming to our shores with the inclusion of Live Nations music contacts.
    There is not a lot for the kids to do in the north of the shire and splendour, the Falls and North byron parklands have contribted a lot. Often where council have been lacking or required our community to sell off assets to fund basic road repair and sports fields.
    If we work with the promoters and owners to get the best results we can all look forward to an industry with real potential and future beyond the environmentally disastrous banana and cane industry we have had on this site to date

      • Not at all.
        Just not looking to make a name for myself as many of the serial nay Sayers are.
        I have great regard for Patricia. She gets to the point without sensationalist language. I’m sure her questions have reasonable answers.

  6. What the writer means is that has been an international takeover.
    You buy things because those things are economic and are inline to make more money. You don’t buy things because they are uneconomic.

  7. Not at all.
    Just not looking to make a name for myself as many of the series naysayers are.
    I have great regard for Patricia. She makes her point without the need for sensationalist language. I’m sure there are reasonable answers to her questions.

  8. Its typical value adding for an international company, its just a shame its not 100% aussie owned. Normal behaviour for an aussie company in need of growth and funds. Wages and taxation will be interesting if they use aussie workers at all! Event management wages and PR have notorously been pretty shonky in Oz with many workers wprking for a day pass etc not real wages…..and yes the only people that really helps is the organisers and their financial interest!

  9. Cynical yes duplicitous yes
    Many of us never bought the Splendour lines – ever !
    Having to eat shit repeatedly from people like this causes pancreatitus
    Our Byron is now world party central – trashy vulgar stupid intoxicated with ego and greed
    Bums .
    Pop culture eats itself and splendour are the Valkyries.

    Its about time the NSW Government build a mega festival site west of the mountains on a train line
    – like Tenterfield or Casino where pop megalomaniacs can,t hurt anyone .

  10. No more festivals please and no more increase in numbers! I am sick if the stress these festivals put on myself and my coworkers.

    From day one we have had no contact with festival promoters/site managers unless we initiated it. I don’t think they even thought about the implications of having thousands of vehicles on site. The organisation of staff and coordinating of hundreds of break downs and repairs is a massive task for a small business to undertake.

    The number of jobs the road service guys do in a few days is equivalent to nearly a month’s worth of work. At this time of year it is particularly stressful because there are only a handful of other workshops open to get people back on the road, no accommodation available if major repairs are needed, transport to get people home is limited and it’s bloody hot! It was always busy at this time of year before Falls came to town, now it’s ridiculous.

    If numbers increase I don’t know what we will do.

    My employer has had to purchase new vehicles especially to cope with these festivals, wage costs are high having people on call 24/7. Punters use our garbage bins and toilets at the service station, often without purchase so our costs have gone up significantly.

    It would be nice to have our cruisy little town back, at least in summer time.


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