Fire forces evacuation of Croatian hip-hop fest
Attendees of Fresh Island festival in Croatia were today (16 July) evacuated following the breakout of a fire close to the festival site.
Organisers of the 7,000-capacity hip hop festival transported fans offsite after reports emerged last night (15 July) of a forest fire near to the festival site on Zrce beach, on the Croatian island of Pag.
Emergency services were still working to contain the fire this morning.
Following the evacuation, the Fresh Island team said they were unsure how the fire would affect today’s beach performances. Headliner Tyga was due to play at Papaya nightclub (4,000-cap.), one of the evacuated venues. Other artists scheduled to perform include Tory Lanez, Stefflon Don and Hardy Caprio.
— Antonio Simmons (@antonio_simmons) July 15, 2019
“We would like to say a big thank you to all Fresh Islanders who were at the festival for being so patient and supportive of each other and for cooperating with security and emergency services during the fire to stay safe,” read a festival Twitter post.
Organisers have confirmed that no casualties have occurred and “everyone is safe”. Updates will be published through the festival’s social media pages.
Fresh Island festival is scheduled to take place from until Thursday 17 July. Past acts to play the festival include Wiz Khalifa, Migos, ASAP Rocky, Snoop Dogg, Stormzy and Giggs.
Update: festival organisers announce that, following the clearance of the fire, Fresh Island is “to continue as planned with no further disruptions.”
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.
Fans criticise evacuation of NSW Wine Machine event
Attendees of Wine Machine, an 11,000-capacity live music and wine festival in New South Wales (NSW), have criticised festival organisers following the event’s cancellation and evacuation due to severe lightning storms.
Organisers evacuated the festival site after an electrical storm hit Australia’s Hunter Valley, where the event was held. The cancellation occurred before festival headliner Hot Dub Time Machine had performed.
Festivalgoers have since criticised the way in which organisers handled the severe weather conditions, citing aggression from security staff and a disregard for safety. Fans objected to being “shoved out on to roads” and prevented from finding shelter on site.
“The safety of all patrons, artists and staff is of absolute priority,” wrote the Wine Machine organisers in a statement.
“The Hunter Valley last night experienced an extreme weather system causing an initial show stop and eventual evacuation of the event. This sucked for every single person on site,” read the festival’s statement, adding that “evacuations of this nature are never pleasant.”
Organisers invited attendees to provide email feedback on how police and security staff handled the evacuation.
Fans also criticised Wine Machine for its overpriced food and drink, poor sound system and excessive queues. Some attendees compared the event to Fyre Festival, while others suggested it be re-named “Line Machine” due to the long queues.
“The safety of all patrons, artists and staff is of absolute priority”
Festival organisers addressed the complaints, saying that “due to the current climate in NSW, severe licensing conditions were placed upon the event limiting drinks to two per person causing unacceptable congestion at the bars.”
Music festivals across NSW are struggling to adapt to the government’s new licensing regulations, which place events under much closer scrutiny and require many additional licensing and security costs.
The Wine Machine organisers also cited “staffing issues” for external bar operator Prime Collective. The bar supplier said it takes “full responsibility”, explaining that “two of our staffing mini-buses carrying 32 staff were reportedly involved in an incident whilst en route from Sydney, resulting in bars being under staffed.”
Wine Machine headliner and founder Hot Dub Time Machine has announced two free shows, the first on April 11 at Sydney’s Enmore Theatre (2,500-cap.) and the second on April 12 at the Newcastle Exhibition Centre (7,528-cap.), to make up for the missed set at the festival.
“Wine Machine and I both appreciate all the support over the years, so we wanted to make it up to you with this small token of our appreciation,” said the DJ.
Wine Machine is held in six locations across Australia, including the Yarra Valley (Victoria), Swan Valley (Western Australia) and Canberra’s Lake George winery.