On Thursday evening, before the start of the festival, thousands of customers had to wait until eight o’clock to enter the campsite.
Just after 9 a.m. Friday, organizers told those still queuing to get to the campgrounds that they should turn around and stay at an offsite campground instead.
The confusion delayed the start of the festival on Friday. The first acts were to be Korean-Australian rap crew 1300 on the Mixup Stage at 12.10pm and George Alice on the GW Mclennan Tent at 12.15pm, but patrons were told performances would be delayed by at least half an hour .
1,300 took to the stage before organizers told them the show would not take place. Shortly after, artists headlined for the remainder of Friday, including Gorillaz, The Avalanches, DMA’s and Kacey Musgraves, were told the festival would not take place.
Customers who tried to access the site on Friday afternoon were barred from entering and bus services carrying customers from nearby towns appeared to be suspended.
The cancellation of the first day left music industry figures reeling. Splendor is Australia’s biggest music festival, and this year capacity has increased from 40,000 to 50,000. It has been seen as a barometer of the state of the industry after years of tour cancellations in due to lockdowns and border closures.
“It’s huge, isn’t it? said Virgin Music chief executive Tim Janes, who had nine artists scheduled to perform over the weekend, including popular British rapper Aitch and Chillinit from Sydney.
“These promoters had to cancel the falls festival due to wild bushfires a few years ago, and now unprecedented rains have wiped out the first day of Splendor, still considered the greatest of them all. With the next few days looking so precarious, it’s incredibly disappointing. Festivals like this are hugely important to the profile of our artists, both local and international.
“This is the biggest disaster that has ever beset the Australian festival scene,” said senior music industry executive Tim Everist, owner of merchandising company Soundmerch which works with artists including The Avalanches and Amyl and the Sniffers, which were scheduled to perform this weekend. .
Tweed Byron Police Commander Dave Roptell warned festival-goers still wishing to attend the festival to be prepared with more rain expected over the weekend.
“We had a massive weather event, and that’s going to continue for the next two days,” he said. “If people are planning to come to this site over the weekend or are currently there, proceed with caution and be aware of the conditions.
In addition to extreme weather conditions in the Northern Rivers region, flight delays and cancellations also impacted Splendor’s weekend lineup, with a number of performers not yet arriving.
Several sources working behind the scenes were unsure how the festival’s main stages could safely reopen on Saturday, given the amount of rain that fell at the venue.
The Bureau of Meteorology predicts a high chance of additional showers for the Northern Rivers region on Saturday, likely in the morning and afternoon, but conditions are expected to ease over the weekend. “The good news is by Sunday most of it should be gone.”
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