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Falls Festival organisers halt site move plan

Secret Sounds have abandoned talks to relocate the Australian festival's Victoria leg to a small town following objections from locals

By James Hanley on 12 Dec 2022

Falls Festival, Lorne

Plans to find a new home in Victoria for Australia’s long-running Falls Festival have fallen through after organisers withdrew from the planning process.

Promoter Secret Sounds had previously announced the travelling festival would move from its longtime home in the seaside town of Lorne to Birregurra in Colac, a small city in the western district of Victoria, after the local authority approved a planning permit.

However, local farmers raised concerns over the event’s potential impact on cattle at neighbouring farms and launched an appeal against the decision, which was due to be heard in February and March. However, the Sydney Morning Herald reports that organisers have now decided to withdraw from the process.

“A small group of objectors opposed the planning permit approval for Falls Birregurra in Murroon, and applied to VCAT [Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal]  to put a halt to it,” says Secret Sounds co-CEO Jessica Ducrou. “Unfortunately, following initial compulsory mediation, the parties could not achieve a resolution.

“Given the time and expense, we have decided to withdraw from the approval process”

“Given the time and expense, we have decided to withdraw from the approval process. It has taken two years of consultation and planning permit approval processes to get to this point and despite support from the local community and Colac Otway Council, the process has been stalled by the objectors through VCAT.”

Dicrou adds that organisers will re-assess the VCAT approval process next year.

The travelling festival is relocating from regional Victoria for the first time in its 30-year history and is set for Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne from 29-31 December with acts such as Arctic Monkeys, Lil Nas X and Chvrches.

Additional legs will also go ahead in Byron Bay (31 December 2022 to 2 January 2023) and Freemantle (7-8 January 2023).


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