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Byron Shire
May 6, 2021

Splendour and Falls talk of leaving town over tough new regulations

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Two of Byron’s biggest events, Falls and Splendour in the Grass, are reportedly considering leaving NSW due to the state government’s proposed new draconian safety regulations.

Revellers get into the swing at Falls. Photo: Bec Taylor

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported today that the two events are among a raft of music festivals that are thinking about leaving the state if the government introduces the new safety rules without giving their concerns due consideration.

However, Falls and Splendour appear to have retreated to their poster-lined caves today, with neither festival returning calls or making any public comment about their apparent plans to leave.

Their disgust at the new regulations, which include a new licensing regime requiring organisers to adhere to stringent safety management plans for their events, was communicated by the Australian Festival Association via a written statement obtained by Echonetdaily.

The statement says that Australian Festival Association, Live Performance Australia & APRA AMCOS met yesterday with the Hon. Victor Dominello Minister for Customer Service to ‘raise concerns about proposed music festival legislation and to repeat our request for a Music Festival Industry Roundtable be established’.

‘At the meeting, the NSW Government committed to further consultation after the passage of the Bill, but stopped short of committing to the establishment of industry’s reasonable ask for a roundtable in the legislation.

‘Uncertainty and a lack of meaningful consultation has a punitive effect on our businesses, the creative economy, jobs and tourism in live music in NSW.

‘As a result, members of the Australian Festival Association will now consider their futures in NSW.

Adelle Robinson, Managing Director of Fuzzy Operations which runs the Listen Out and Field Day festivals said the festivals had ‘reasonably asked that our industry be consulted prior to any regulatory changes’.

‘The music industry has repeatedly offered to work with government and has, since February this year, called for an industry roundtable to be established to develop a workable framework,’ she said.

‘Yet again, last week we saw new legislation for music festivals introduced by this Government without any consultation.’

Danny Rogers, Co-Director of the Laneway Festival said: ‘Our industry generates over $1 billion nationally and employs thousands of people, especially in regional NSW. There are other states outside NSW that are willing to better support our business. We may be left with no choice but to consider our options.’

The Federal Labor Member for Richmond, Justine Elliot, condemned the NSW Liberal-National Government over its ‘arrogance’ in  ‘jeopardising the future of music festivals on the North Coast’.

‘Music festivals are an important part of our local economy and we need them to remain in our region,’ Mrs Elliot said.

‘They create thousands of jobs and there is a massive flow on benefit in terms of tourism which is worth millions of dollars to our region.

‘Safety is vitally important and it’s disappointing that the NSW Government is unfairly rejecting calls from the music industry to engage in ongoing consultation about these important issues.

‘A music industry roundtable would enable ongoing discussions around how to implement best practice and work together for a festival safety system.’


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8 COMMENTS

  1. Am I the only one who thinks that these festivals leaving the area is a good idea? The tourism numbers for the Byron Shire are already off the charts. Is there really a need for an influx of more hipster teenagers, police, sniffer dogs and self absorbed instagrammers who think narcissism is an admirable attribute of a successful human being? But I’m sure some of them are good people.

    I’m sorry but no matter how carbon neutral or gluten free the festivals are they still have a negative impact on the environment. I’m certain the few that make all the profit off these festivals can make it somewhere else. As for the ones who come to make a quick dollar selling their ‘original'(clearly never saw the aquarius generation) boho clothing and crystal infused water bottles, I don’t think it will be a great loss. Here’s an idea – there is plenty of empty space in inland NSW or QLD they could use that wouldn’t inconvenience residents and it could help struggling towns. Unfortunately they wouldn’t be able to use the Byron(Yelgun) name to draw the crowds. I never thought I would say it but Gladys may have done something positive for the area. Unfortunately Paul Spooner will have to find another friend to try and look cool with to help score votes.

    • here here. there comes a point where the real locals (30+ years) will have to take this town back. all the blow-ins care about is the residual “coolness” that they get by telling their friends that they live in Byron. eventually they’ll move on to Noosa or St Kilda… plastic people polluting pristine paradise for personal padding.

      • How can we get behind and support their (Splendour & Falls festivals) plan to leave?

        Someone should start a change.org page.

        Country towns out west could share in hosting the event say Coonabarabran in 2020, Bourke 2021 Broken Hill 2022 and so on.

        Given splendour crew are geographically challenged, they could make up another name and call it the “Far out West Byron….cultural n stuff festival”!

        Lots of wide, barren, open spaces that can help spread the impact and give land time to recover (farrow), unlike using & abusing the same pristine habitat, wetlands and locals year after year after year.

        The country folk could do with the $$ they don’t normally see.

        Farmers (who keep the hipsters and the rest of us alive) might have some land that could be used for parking and I reckon they would be happy with a donation from drivers to park for as long as you wanted.

        The dust in the air out west (due to the drought) provides an amazing natural glow for afternoon selfies, so there’s no need to use a filter before you upload.

        Simply pose, take and go! which kinda of sounds like the attitude of some of these festivals doesn’t it?

  2. “Lack of meaningful consultation” – the Parklands failure of community consultation goes all the way back to a push poll they undertook where they only released half of the feedback (not the responses against, or those that “supported cultural events” but left out that the support was conditional on environmental and family friendly events. Parklands then got people all over Australia to push up their support by petitions, despite submitters not knowing the environmental impacts or the financial cost to ratepayers. The last “consultation” with the community before the final determination was a “community info day on site”, which was attendees dragged around the site behind a tractor, who weren’t allowed to get off and couldn’t ask any questions. Note on the TV news pictures the hessian walls that go about 1/5 up the trees on the edge of the forest – that forest is supposed to be environmentally protected – the protection of any species that cant move away or sitting on a nest against 24 hours lights and days of blasting music!!! And they only pay 50% more council rates for (heading to ) 58,000 people, who, with their bands, are also turning residential houses into holiday lets. And now major owned by a major American corporation that is taking over Australian ticketing agencies and city venues, and who have no obligation to have any Australian bands. Would love to see them go. In fact their $58,000 attendees and their impact on driving conversion to holliday lets is one of the biggest threats to the survival of a community in this Shire

  3. It’s a bit ironic that Falls and Splendour may be curtailed in Byron due to State Government concern about SAFETY. There seemed little concern about the safety issues arising from the fire and flood potential and the myriad safety issues surrounding events of 50,000 plus patrons.

    And yes, one would be hard pressed to make a case for the desirability of more visitors to the shire over New Year.

  4. money money money, the festivals are all about the $$. Why did the original festival people sell? $$ Why did the american people buy? to make $$, Why have so many people at the festivals? to make more $$, why do local business support the festivals? so they can make $$, it’s all about the $$

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