BRISBANE, Australia — After two editions were wiped out by the pandemic, the first day Splendour in the Grass 2022 was sunk by Mother Nature.
Inclement weather turned the site into a quagmire on the eve of this year’s show, held July 22-24 in Byron Bay, the picturesque beach town at the most easterly point of Australia.
By midday on Friday (July 22), the grounds were deemed to be unmanageable.
“In the interest of patrol safety and in consultation with all relevant emergency services,” reads a statement from Splendour organizers, “we have decided to err on the side of caution and cancel all performances on the main stages today only.”
The reason: a “significant weather system” currently sitting off the country’s east coast which “may reach land later today, bringing more rainfall.”
Statement from Splendour in the Grass organisers pic.twitter.com/zcROtIEKex
— SplendourintheGrass (@SITG) July 22, 2022
The situation is a blow for the estimated 50,000 festival fans already on site or en route to the event, a sell-out weeks in advance and the first since 2019.
Those who hadn’t arrived were asked not to enter the grounds Friday while staff work on repairs.
Splendour crew will be kept busy. Clips and images doing the rounds on social media show a site inundated with water and mud.
— Tobi Loftus (@tobiloftus) July 21, 2022
This year’s show at North Byron Parklands is headlined by internationals Gorillaz, the Strokes, Tyler, The Creator, Liam Gallagher, Glass Animals, and a lineup of local talent including The Avalanches, Violent Soho, DMA’S, Amyl And The Sniffers and many more.
Since its first edition back in 2001, the mid-winter fest has hosted a who’s who of rock, pop, hip-hop and electronic stars, from Coldplay to Arctic Monkeys, Kanye West, Tame Impala, Lorde and many more.
Its recent history, however, has been riddled with problems, none of which could be foreseen.
The pandemic crushed the best-laid plans for the 2020 show, and, with more than half Australia’s population then under lockdown, a late July 2021 event was nixed. Instead, organizers hatched a bold plan for a bespoke VR experience, featuring some 50 exclusive performances.
Splendour, one of the biggest music festivals Down Under, is produced by Secret Sounds Group, part of Live Nation since 2016.