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Splendour in the Grass endures first-day washout

The opening day of Byron Bay’s Splendour in the Grass festival was cancelled after being hit by adverse weather.

All performances on the main stages were cancelled, including sets by Gorillaz, The Avalanches, Kacey Musgraves, DMA’s, Yungblud and Jungle, amid what has been described as the worst weather in the Australian event’s 20-year history.

The remaining two days (23-24 July) of the 50,000-cap festival in North Byron Parklands, headlined by The Strokes and Tyler, the Creator alongside acts such as Glass Animals, Liam Gallagher and Jack Harlow, are currently set to proceed as planned.

“In the interest of patron safety and in consultation with all relevant emergency services, we have decided to err on the side of caution and cancel performances on the main stages today only – Amphitheatre, Mix Up, GW McLennan and Park(lands) Stages,” says a social media post by promoters.

“All of our destination spaces (Global Village, Tipi Forest, Forum, Comedy and Science tents etc.) will remain open today for patrons who are already onsite as well as those at our satellite campground at Byron Events Farm… Day patrons are asked not to attend to the festival today while we work on repairs.”

Ticketing firm Moshtix will be contacting ticket-holders directly with refund information in the coming weeks.

Splendour in the Grass co-founder Jessica Ducrou tells the Sydney Morning Herald the decision was vital to ensure the grounds could be repaired in time for Saturday’s and Sunday’s events.

“This is definitely the worst weather that we’ve experienced at Splendour in its 20-year history,” she says. “As quickly as the mud arrives, we are doing repair works during the event and after the event to try and keep the show operating.”

As a result of the conditions, thousands of festival-goers were forced to wait up to eight hours to get into the site on Thursday night (21 July), leading the main campsite to be closed to new arrivals, with those still queueing the next morning redirected to an off-site camping ground, 13km away. The Guardian reports that free bus shuttles were provided to help people get around the sites.

The festival, which is being held for the first time since 2019, was hit by controversy before it even began after ticket-holders received an email from ticketing company Moshtix, informing them that all festival-goers under the age of 18 now have to “be accompanied by a responsible adult at all times whilst at the event and campgrounds”.

Previously, only those under the age of 16 were required to be accompanied by an adult.


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Ewald Tatar on “unforeseen challenges” at Nova Rock

Barracuda Music CEO Ewald Tatar has spoken to IQ about the “unforeseen and unpredictable” challenges at this year’s Nova Rock festival in Austria.

The annual hard rock event returned to Nickelsdorf last weekend (9–12 June) and featured acts including Muse, Placebo, Volbeat and Five Finger Death Punch.

The sold-out festival saw a total of 225,000 visitors flock to Pannonia Fields, which marked a new attendance record for Nova Rock.

According to Tatar, the festival’s biggest challenge was recovering from “the rain of the century,” which hit the country mere days before the festival was due to open its gates.

“During the 3-4 final days leading up to Nova Rock 2022 it rained more in the region than during the period between November 2021 and the beginning of June 2022 in total,” explains Tatar.

“This was very challenging for the final construction work on the festival site, as the ground, which is a field used for farming the other 11 months of the year, was completely soft and our vehicles got stuck. This was also the case for the festival visitors’ cars and caravans, which slowed down the arrival process and made it very tricky. As soon as it dried up and everyone had arrived, we had perfect festival weather: sunshine and heat!”

Despite the washout, Tatar says everything worked smoothly behind the scenes and both artists and crew were happy to be back on the fields after two years.

“Festivals and big events are what everyone in our team loves and loves being a part of and you could feel this euphoria and great energy during Nova Rock,” he says.

“Most artists mentioned on stage how happy they were to be back performing for huge audiences and you could tell, that the audience shared that feeling too! The atmosphere was incredibly energetic and positive as the area in front of the stage was packed with people dancing and singing along to their favourite bands, who loved playing a big festival again.”

Nova Rock, which is promoted by Nova Music Entertainment (part of CTS Eventim’s Barracuda Music), will return between 7 and 10 June in 2023.


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Florida venues open doors as Irma batters state

Sports and entertainment venues were used as shelter for Floridians seeking refuge from Hurricane Irma, which tore through the Caribbean and south-eastern United States over the weekend.

Irma, a category-five hurricane and the most intense observed in the Atlantic in more than a decade, forced the cancellation of shows, festivals and sports matches in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, and is believed to have left nearly 50 people dead, including 11 Americans.

In Florida, more than 6.5 million people were under mandatory evacuation orders, and many rode out the worst of the storm in shelters in Alico Arena (4,500-cap.) in Fort Myers and Germain Arena (concert cap. 8,500+) in Estero, with shelter staff assisted by National Guardsmen, sheriff’s deputies and motorway police. Both venues were reportedly at capacity by Saturday afternoon.

One person taking shelter in Germain Arena, Krystal Malpass, told the Fort Myers News-Press she didn’t know what to expect from the shelter but that staff had been “extremely nice”.

In Florida more than 6.5m people were under evacuation orders, and many rode out the storm in arenas

An estimated 800 people also sough refuge at the Sun Dome (10,411-cap.) arena at the University of South Florida in Tampa, while aseball team Detroit Tigers opened their clubhouses in Lakeland, Florida, to evacuees and emergency staff.

While the state’s arenas, including the 20,000-cap. American Airlines Arena in Miami, weathered the worst of the storm relatively unscathed, there have been reports of damage at several open-air venues.

Marlins Park, a 37,442-cap. stadium in Miami, reportedly suffered around 6% damage to its retractable roof, while the Hard Rock Stadium (65,326-cap.) in Miami Gardens is under inspection by structural engineers for potential damage.

At the time of writing, Irma had been downgraded to a tropical storm – although three million people are thought to have been left homeless in the US alone, with many more affected in the Caribbean and other Atlantic islands.


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Storms force Lollapalooza to cut short first night

Headline sets by Lorde, Muse and others were cut short as a storm forced the early closure of the first day of Lollapalooza.

Promoter C3 Presents and Chicago city officials evacuated the Grant Park site an hour before it was due to close, telling people via Twitter: “Grant Park is being evacuated due to weather. Please make your way to the nearest exit,” and “Tonight’s performances will not resume. Please make your way toward shelter, away from Grant Park”. Announcements were also made over loudspeakers and by stewards.

“We are disappointed to have to end today’s performances early, however our first priority is the safety of our fans, staff and artists,” said C3 Presents spokesperson Sandee Fenton.

It’s not the first time the event has been affected by the weather. In 2015 the final day of the festival was cut short by a nearby storm, and in 2012 the site was evacuated for similar reasons.

Very sad Chicago City & police evacuated Grant Park early on in our show tonight due to lightning strikes nearby. We will be back as soon as we can. Thanks to all those that were rocking in the storm. Amazing fans as always.

A post shared by MUSE (@muse) on Aug 3, 2017 at 8:11pm PDT

The 100,000-capacity festival runs from 3-6 August. Artists include The Killers, Arcade Fire, The xx, Alt-J, Chance the Rapper and Blink-182.


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Y Not Festival cancels final day

Bad weather forced the cancellation of Friday’s headline act and the entire final day of the UK’s Y Not Festival, as the site became a mudbath.

Sunday was due to see artists such as Happy Mondays and Two Door Cinema Club perform at the 25,000-capacity festival. Friday’s headliner The Vaccines were also unable to play due to the weather.

“Sorry, sorry, sorry about last night. Were all ready to come out and play for you when we were told it wasn’t safe,” the band tweeted.

Organisers have told fans they’ll provide information about refunds “in the coming days”.

sums up the weekend 😂 #ynotfestival

A post shared by Scarlett Bielecka (@scarlettbielecka) on Jul 30, 2017 at 11:07am PDT

In a statement, they say: “Unfortunately we’ve had to take the difficult decision to cancel Sunday due to the adverse weather conditions across the weekend, after consulting all the relevant authorities.

“Ending Y Not like this was an incredible difficult decision and we are as disappointed as you are.”

“The safety of our guests, performers and crew is our primary concern and the potential risk was too severe for Sunday to go ahead. We are very sorry for the disappointment and disruption caused to everyone who was looking forward to the final day of the festival.

“Ending Y Not festival 2017 like this was an incredibly difficult decision and we are as disappointed as you are.”

Y Not was bought by media giant Global in October last year. As well as 14 festivals, the company owns Global Radio (Heart, Capital, Smooth, Classic FM), Global Television (Capital TV, Heart TV) and Global Entertainment, which includes music publishing, management and live and touring divisions.


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Festival cancellations after wet weekend in Oz

Several Australian festivals were cancelled at the eleventh hour last weekend as severe storms battered the states of New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland.

4-D International’s third Party in the Park, scheduled for Saturday 18 March in Sydney’s Pittwater Park, was called off the previous day on the advice of police and the Northern Beaches council.

A statement from the festival said the decision was “completely out of our control”. “It has been a terrible day for us,” it reads. “We are so very sorry; however, there is nothing we can do. Mother Nature has taken [her] toll and the weather conditions for tomorrow are just too severe. All festival tickets will be fully refunded by Moshtix.”

Also affected was touring festival Red Hot Summer Tour, which postponed its sold-out Kiama, New South Wales, leg after the site was hit by more than 150ml (nine cubic inches) of rain in 24 hours.

“Patron safety … cannot be guaranteed if the event proceeds”

“The decision to postpone was not taken lightly,” promoter Duane McDonald said on Friday. “With over 150ml of rain in the last 24 hours, and 75–90ml and high winds forecast for tomorrow, we believe that patron safety is paramount and cannot be guaranteed if the event proceeded.”

Sydney’s St Patrick’s Day parade was also called off over weather concerns, while Canberra hot-air balloon festival Balloon Spectacular experienced its “worst run of ballooning weather in its 30-year history”.

The cancellations come after Sundaise Productions, the promoter of New Zealand’s Sundaise Festival, was criticised for not calling off the 2017 event, which saw some 200 people evacuated after a nearby river burst its banks and flooded the festival site.

A number of European festivals, including Germany’s Rock am Ring and Southside, were called off in 2016 after a summer of severe weather.


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Video: High tides scupper Kaiser Chiefs show

The second day of a beachfront music festival in the UK came to an early end after high tides flooded the arena.

Radio station and festival organiser Wave 105 called off Kaiser Chiefs’ headline show at Night Air at the Piers in Bournemouth on Saturday night (19 August) after “exceptional wind and sea conditions” led to seawater encroaching on the crowd area, as seen in Anthony Carrier’s audience video below, and damaging the stage.


A statement from Wave 105 said the decision to cancel “was taken in the interest of public safety, and the organisers are grateful for the corporation and understanding of all involved”.

“Unfortunately a combination of exceptional wind and sea conditions that could not be fully anticipated have resulted in the cancellation of tonight’s final part of the show,” the station said on Saturday. “This was caused by direct southerly/south-westerly winds and short period strong waves which added to the forecast high spring tide. This created high levels of water on the beach that had been unprecedented in all the years of staging the event.”

In a video message, Kaiser Chiefs lead singer Ricky Wilson apologised for the cancellation but said “the stage was in danger, and they [organisers] didn’t want it falling on you or for us to be on it when it fell”.


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€500k bad weather fund for rained-off Dutch fests

Dutch culture minister Jet Bussemaker has announced the creation of a ‘bad weather fund’ (Slecht Weer Fonds) to assist promoters of festivals hit by inclement weather.

The fund, which contains half a million euros, is designed to reimburse the cost of extra expenses incurred by severe weather conditions, and is available to all Dutch music and cultural festivals currently receiving a public subsidy. “Bad weather can spoil festivals, with storm, rain, hail, empty chairs and collapsed tents,” said a statement from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science on Monday. “[This means] visitors [frequently] stay away, so additional measures should be taken to create the appearance of safety.”

Any grant taken from the Slecht Weer Fonds, however, will have to be paid back in full when the festival is in a better financial position. The fund will be administered by the Performing Arts Fund.

The announcement was welcomed by Berend Schans, director of the Dutch Promoters and Festivals Association (Vereniging Nederlandse Poppodia en -Festivals, VNPF), although he expressed his disappointment that not all festivals are eligible. “There is a value judgment,” he told Dutch public broadcaster NOS. “What is funded by the government has cultural value and everything else does not.”

He also questioned whether €500,000 is enough: “If a festival like Oerol is cancelled by storms, half a million is not very much.”


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Don’t fancy Glasto mud? Come to Fulham, says FOLD

For Glastonbury-goers apprehensive about the mud, traffic congestion and threat of further rain awaiting them at Worthy Farm this weekend, promoter Rob Hallett has a solution: Go to FOLD Festival instead!

Hallett’s Robomagic announced this afternoon that all Glastonbury Festival ticketholders who all “can’t face the thought of battling the elements” in Somerset this weekend can exchange their tickets for a weekend pass to the Niles Rodgers-curated festival at Fulham Palace – along with Robomagic’s Caught by the River Thames, the first festivals to ever be held at the palace in its 750-plus-year history – instead.

“FOLD Festival is tent-free and promises that its guests will be mud- and rain-free, with a dry weather forecast for the whole weekend”

FOLD (or ‘Freak Out Let’s Dance’), headlined by Labrinth, Beck and Rodgers’s Chic (pictured), promises that its guests “will be mud- and rain-free, with a dry weather forecast for the whole weekend”.

Those tempted by the offer – and who are happy to take the financial hit: day tickets for FOLD start at £54 (£162 for the weekend), while a three-day Glastonbury pass would have set you back £228 – should simply arrive at the FOLD Festival box office and exchange their Glasto ticket for a FOLD one “on the day(s) of your choice”.

IQ spoke to Hallett in January about the securing of Fulham Palace as a venue, which Hallett he described as “an amazing coup”, especially in light of its being that rarest of things: “a new site in central London in 2016”.


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Refunds sought for rained-off Rock am Ring

At least 21 people who attended Rock am Ring 2016 are seeking a partial refund.

The final day of the German festival was cancelled after over 70 people were struck by lightning as severe storms battered continental Europe.

Andreas Tryba of law firm Dittmann & Hartmann, representing the claimants, is seeking “50 per cent of the ticket price”, he told the Rhein-Zeitung on Thursday, in an out-of-court settlement. “The chance of a partial refund of the ticket price is very high,” said Tryba.

Despite the fact only one day of the three-day event was called off, there was widespread disruption on Friday and Saturday, leading Tryba to demand a half-face value refund from promoter Marek Lieberberg Konzertagentur.

Speaking to IQ, Marek Lieberberg says he is hoping to offer compensation to fans when the event’s insurers sanction such refunds. “We are in daily conversations with our insurers and once the outcome is clear, we will be able to proceed with any compensation payments.”


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