Second festival halted after Falls cancellation
A Gippsland music festival has been halted after high winds and extreme heat blasted revellers on Monday.
The main stage at Lardner's Beyond The Valley has reportedly been closed.
A statement issued to the festival's Facebook page last night warned patrons to brace for "excessive heat and very strong wind gusts".
"On the current forecast and on the advice of our large contingency of emergency personnel on site, we may potentially close the main arena for the duration of the high wind period expected," it read.
"If this does occur please seek shelter at your campsite, it will be the safest place for you."
The Herald Sun has been told revellers are being asked to "lower marquees because of the winds".
Music is also understood to have been halted until the afternoon due to the strong winds and hot weather.
The five-day festival is West Gippsland is headlined by Rufus Du Sol and Tyler, The Creator.
I went to Beyond the Valley just to see @hobojohnson and now they are saying they might not have acts on the main stage until 8pm. I don’t have tickets to his other show and I just wanna go home at this point. Oh, and it’s also 41 degrees.— paige (@paiqes) December 30, 2019
Anyone feel Beyond the Valley at Lardner is a farce? 42 forecast, music cancelled today. No plan to keep people cool. 19 y.o. daughter & co. told to take down shade marquee due to wind & stay by tent. If they leave for the day they can't get back in! Zero info from organisers!— Belinda T (@belirobin) December 29, 2019
CANCELLED FALLS FESTIVAL A GHOST TOWN
It comes the day after Lorne's popular Falls Festival was transformed into a ghost town after thousands of music lovers were told to leave amid extreme fire risk.
Organisers on Sunday morning announced the cancellation of this year's festival, which included Halsey, Vampire Weekend, Peking Duk, Of Monsters and Men, and John Farnham among its line-up.
Gates, which opened on Saturday, were closed at 9am on Monday and more than 9,000 campers already set up at the site in Lorne's hinterland were told to leave on Sunday morning.
About 90 per cent of festival goers had left by 3pm on Sunday, with long lines out of the campgrounds.
A few groups of revellers remained, scattered across the once-full hills around the site.
River Moore, 20, Tori Kaperanos, 19, Michell Gilbert, 19, and friends travelled from Adelaide to be at the event.
"As you can imagine we're all pretty shattered," Mr Moore said. "No one's happy.
"There was a bit of an uproar at 8am. Someone started honking their horn down here, then everyone did."
The group left South Australia about 3.30pm on Saturday, arriving nearby in Colac around 1.30am before making their way to Lorne this morning.
Mr Gilbert said trying to get intoxicated revellers from the grounds was a risky move.
"You've got 9000 people that just have to drive, he said.
"To put it in simple terms, I think a lot of people planned to do certain things on the first two nights and not do other things on the last two nights."
The group was left scrambling to figure out where to spend New Year's Eve. No plans had been locked in yet.
"It's pretty disappointing one day in," Ms Kaperanos said. "All the stress of driving (from Adelaide).
"Then we got here and it was like, we're finally here. It is really upsetting."
STARS ANNOUNCE MELBOURNE SHOWS
Hundreds of Halsey fans lined up for hours at Melbourne's Forum Theatre in anticipation for the American popstar's impromptu Melbourne concert.
Halsey announced a "good old fashioned dirty show" after the cancellation of Falls Festival due to bushfire concerns.
Lines snaked around both sides of The Forum into Hosier Lane and Russell St.
All ticket admissions for the concert went straight to the CFA in their aid against the Victorian bushfires.
absolute madness at the halsey show the line wraps around the block so teens are loitering *on flinders street* and getting honked aggressively but they don’t care i love it— Shaad D'Souza (@shaaddsouza) December 29, 2019
The line stretched up into Russell St, with Falls ticketholders receiving priority access ahead of the general public.
Those who lined up at the back end of Hosier Lane had been told admission was unlikely.
"We have been waiting as long as two hours," a man in the general admission line said. "We have no idea if we will get in at all."
A group of Halsey fans a little further back had also been waiting since as early as 5.45pm.
"We don't know if we should continue waiting, the line is massive." another man told the Herald Sun.
Some fans began to get disgruntled with the long wait and began to exit the line.
Doors opened for the concert at 10pm.
UK musician Yungblud also announced two shows at Collingwood's The Tote on Sunday night for disappointed Falls fans, with a $5 donation requested for fire services.
TONIGHT i’m playing a good old fashioned dirty show in MELBOURNE! i told you i’d come thru. LORNE falls ticket holders get PRIORITY access to the box office tonight, but anyone can come. all profits are going to fire relief. DRIVE ON UP AND LETS DO THIS! pic.twitter.com/nfLDeZX14Z— h (@halsey) December 29, 2019
i was so devastated this morning when i saw the news but i’m ITCHING to play a show tonight so a bunch of amazing amazing people (like hundreds) pulled together to make this happen JUST for you and me tonight. only thing as good as a festy is an intimate club show. :-)))))— h (@halsey) December 29, 2019
and YES i will be playing a full set. hell i probably won’t walk off the stage until they drag me.— h (@halsey) December 29, 2019
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OH MY GOODNESS ITS STARTED AND SHE DROPPED HER MIC AT THE BEGINNING 😭😭 credits go to @brontesh_ - - #iamhalsey #halsey #ashleyfrangipane #ashleynicolettefrangipane #hfk #hopelessfountainkingdom #badlands #room93 #eastside #withoutme #boywithluv #11minutes #nightmare #halseyhair #halseyoutfits #hair #11minutes #graveyard #manic #spotify #finallybeautifulstranger #sugasinterlude #clementine
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WALLS COULD TALK, WE HAVE MISSED YOU BABYY - - #iamhalsey #halsey #ashleyfrangipane #ashleynicolettefrangipane #hfk #hopelessfountainkingdom #badlands #room93 #eastside #withoutme #boywithluv #11minutes #nightmare #halseyhair #halseyoutfits #hair #11minutes #graveyard #manic #spotify #finallybeautifulstranger #sugasinterlude #clementine
FESTIVAL 'GUTTED' BY CANCELLATION
Event promoter Jessica Ducrou said she was "gutted" to cancel the festival, and the decision was made "with a heavy heart".
She said new wind warnings pushed organisers to shut the gates.
"The decision wasn't made lightly," Ms Ducrou, co-chief executive of Secret Sounds, told the Herald Sun today.
"We leaned very heavily on the advice from emergency services, our various external stakeholders.
"We questioned how robust these forecasts are, and when you're 24 hours out, or thereabouts, the predictions are pretty solid."
Ms Ducrou said the warnings weren't in place on Saturday morning.
"Wind wasn't an issue when we decided to proceed with the festival," she said.
"The first reports that there was wind came about 3pm yesterday.
"It was about 8.30pm to 9pm last night we realised that we had a serious situation on our hands."
Experts, including the CFA, Victoria Police and Bureau of Meteorology, told Falls promoters the extreme heat and high winds made for "very, very dangerous conditions, and we couldn't guarantee the safety of everyone on site".
Ms Ducrou added: "They were of the consensus and outlined the extreme risks to the festival and its patrons. You can't gamble with people's lives."
She said campers at the site were disappointed, but understood the danger posed by extreme weather.
"The overall sentiment is people feel reassured their safety is considered first and foremost.
"Obviously, there is disappointment, but when we go through tomorrow - and these conditions are not just specific to the Falls, they're across the whole region, the whole state - I think it's going to be a gruelling day for everyone."
The mercury is set to peak at 41C on Monday, before thunder and showers hit the Great Ocean Road in the afternoon.
An afternoon cool change won't bring any rain, but will blast the region with winds of up to 100kmh.
Departing Falls Festival campers have been urged to avoid the Great Ocean Road upon departure, and were warned off camping in the Otways.
REVELLERS STUCK IN TRAFFIC SNARLS
Thousands of Falls Festival goers were scrambling to leave Lorne after the cancellation.
South Australian Louise Back said she had travelled 20m in an hour on Sunday morning in a bid to leave the cancelled festival.
The Warradale woman, 21, said she was confused when she heard the festival would not go ahead.
"My friend came into the tent and said, 'you'll never guess, it's cancelled,'" Ms Back said.
"We thought 'surely not'."
After waiting more than an hour in line to exit the festival site on Sunday morning, Ms Back hoped to be on the road by midday to get back to Adelaide by the evening.
"That's another thing as well, a lot of people went hard last night because they had nowhere to go tomorrow," she said.
"What if everyone gets done for having stuff in their system?"
Ms Back said she was disappointed with the lack of communication from the event.
She said no one visited the campsite to alert people, with their group only finding out about the cancellation via Facebook.
"We were all pissed off. A week ago we knew it was going to be hot and thunderstorms on the 30th … they should have planned for that better," she said.
Ms Back said the ticket refund would not cover her group of friends' travel expenses, including cost for food, festival outfits and accommodation adding up to about $1000 per person.
DISAPPOINTED FANS REACT
Furious fans have lashed out at the cancellation, expressing their disappointment on social media.
The Falls, with scheduled headliners including Halsey, Of Monsters And Men, Vampire Weekend, Disclosure and Playboi Carti, opened on Saturday night, with John Farnham commanding a jam-packed house at the Lorne event's big-top stage, the Grand Theatre.
Weather conditions on opening night were perfect - 24C with a slight breeze.
A group of South Australian festivalgoers travelled more than eight hours to Lorne and said they were "f---in fuming" over the move.
One reveller wrote: "So I've driven 8 hours to see John f---in Farnham?"
And Michelle McCallum slammed organisers, saying: "I can't believe you'd let everyone set up and then cancel!! The forecast has been the same for weeks!!!!! All that money wasted on travel, equipment."
Others applauded Falls Festival for the move, saying it was the correct decision.
Joy Findlay said it was "a hard call, but a good call"
"Well done administrators for doing the right thing for all concerned, and for willingly giving a complete refund," she said.
Teri Collis urged people to empathise with the event's organisers, workers and volunteers.
"Imagine the poor people who have put everything into organising this … how shattering," she wrote. "Would've been catastrophic if there was a fire though."
Daughter was heading to the Falls Festival today but it's been cancelled. :(— Donovan (@Dgen717) December 28, 2019
I think the right decision has been made, due to weather, but it sucks for all involved.
Spent $3000 on accomodation and falls festival is cancelled 😂— Zurf (@McZurf) December 28, 2019
Kaylee Rose Scott, 20, of Seacliff in South Australia, said it was hard to believe the country's biggest New Year's Eve music festival wasn't going ahead.
"I stumbled out of my tent this morning, went to see how the other guys pulled up and then we all go the notification from the Lorne app," she said.
"It said weather warning and the event was cancelled. Honestly I laughed, I thought it was hilarious.
"We drove 10 hours to get there. I work a lot and I finally got a few days to chill out and then it gets cancelled."
But after recent bushfires in the Adelaide Hills, Ms Scott said she and her four friends knew it was the right move.
She said it was up to them to make their New Year's Eve celebrations special.
"I just decided to go to Melbourne," she said.
"We'll go enjoy New Year's there, we've got a few days before we need to be back at work so we may as well make the most of a bad situation.
"One of our best friends lives there, so we'll stay with her. And we're actually heading to the beach now."
All ticketholders will receive a full refund from tomorrow morning, but that hasn't stopped music lovers from desperately searching for tickets to sold-out Gippsland festival Beyond the Valley in the lead-up to New Year's Eve.
Falls events in Byron, Marion Bay and Fremantle are unaffected.
It comes four years after the 2015 Lorne festival was moved to Mt Duneed Estate after the Black Christmas bushfire razed the Otways.
While the festival site was untouched by the fire, the event teamed up with A Day On The Green organisers and hosted 16,500 revellers to avoid putting strain on the local community.