First day of Splendour in the Grass cancelled after heavy rain causes chaos

The first day of Splendour in the Grass has been cancelled as rainfall continues to wreak havoc across North Byron Parklands, the festival’s site.

Organisers are currently in discussions as to whether the festival will continue to go ahead until Sunday as currently planned.

Multiple sources confirmed the news of the cancellation of Friday’s events, with managers of acts due to perform on Friday told it would not be going ahead.

On Thursday night thousands of patrons were forced to wait up to eight hours to get into the campsite. Despite organisers moving some patrons to nearby festival grounds earlier in the week due to the situation, thousands were still allocated camping spaces within the Parklands and attempted to gain entry on Thursday and Friday morning.

Just after 9am on Friday, organisers told those still queueing to get to the campgrounds they would have to turn around and stay at an off-site camping ground instead.

Confusion delayed the start of the festival on Friday. The first acts were set to be Korean-Australia rap crew 1300 at the Mixup Stage at 12.10pm and George Alice on the GW Mclennan Tent at 12.15pm, but patrons have been told the performances will be delayed by at least half an hour.

1300 made it out onto the stage before being told by organisers the show wouldn’t be going ahead. Shortly after, artists on the bill for the rest of Friday, which included Gorillaz, The Avalanches, DMA’s and Kacey Musgraves, were notified the festival would not be going ahead on Friday.

Patrons who attempted to get onto the site on Friday afternoon were blocked from entering, and bus services ferrying customers from nearby towns appeared to be suspended.

The cancellation of the first day of the festival has left figures in Australia’s music industry reeling. Splendour in the Grass is Australia’s biggest music festival, and this year capacity had increased from 40,000 to 50,000. It was seen as a barometer for the state of the industry following years of tour cancellations due to lockdowns and border closures.

“This is the biggest disaster that has ever beset the Australia festival scene,” said senior music industry figure Tim Eversit, the owner of merchandising company Soundmerch who work with artists including The Avalanches and Amyl and the Sniffers, who were due to perform this weekend.

A spokesperson for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said that if the rest of the festival was cancelled patrons could be in line for a refund.

“Where there is a major failure with a consumer guarantee for a service, such as a paid event being cancelled or subject to major changes, consumers can choose to receive a replacement ticket (where possible) or a refund,” a spokesperson told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

“Where the event organiser chooses to cancel an event, consumers are entitled to refunds.”

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