Byron Bay locals have taken aim at Splendour in the Grass revellers who left their idyllic coastal town strewn with rubbish – with NIMBY residents of one of the nation’s most expensive suburbs lamenting that the music festival is ‘all about the money’.
Angry Byron locals are calling for the party to end as images from the festival sites show discarded tents, piles of trash, deflated mattresses and thousands of pairs of filthy boots left behind for people to clean up.
The first Splendour in three years was marred by disastrous weather, poor planning, extensive cancellations and allegations of incompetence from patrons.
Attendees evacuated the campgrounds and town en masse on Monday – leaving thousands of pieces of rubbish and unwanted belongings behind.
Locals took to social media to rip into the festival guests, while environmentalists have slammed the festival as ‘unsustainable’.
‘Every year there’s entire tents, Eskys, chairs and all sorts of perfectly usable equipment just dumped because grubs lack the brain cells to know how to pack it up or take it to the donation spots,’ one resident fumed.
‘I wish there was some sort of way to avoid this.’
Angry Byron Bay locals have labelled Splendour in the Grass revellers ‘grubs’ after the idyllic coastal town was turned into a garbage tip following the controversial festival
Images from the festival sites shows discarded tents, piles of trash, deflated mattresses and thousands of pairs of filthy boots left behind for people to clean up
Hundreds of boots have been left behind after patrons cleaned out local shops when the festival descended into a mud pit
Splendour patrons left the campsite in a worse condition than it was on Friday when organisers closed the area to any new arrivals
Some locals have called for the music festival for it to be permanently moved from the area due to the damage it is having on the environment.
‘In these times they shouldn’t be able to run it without some strict environmental guidelines,’ one resident said. ‘But it’s all about the money… as usual.’
The calls to cancel Splendour forever came after the Byron Shire Council area in April became the first regional area to have a median house price above $2million – putting it in the same league as Sydney’s north shore following a 21.1 per cent annual surge.
The CoreLogic data showed that, in Byron Bay itself, the median house price is $2.8million.
A Byron Bay house typically costs $1,230 a week to rent making it dearer than beachside Coogee in Sydney, SQM Research data showed last month.
Greens candidate Sue Higginson said Splendour at its heart is about ‘mega money, environmental destruction and local community pain and suffering.’
‘The land is the home of endangered ecological communities, 28 threatened species and is the site of significant aboriginal cultural heritage,’ she wrote to Facebook.
Festival workers now have the unenviable task of cleaning up thousands of pieces of discarded belongings
Local volunteers are taking people’s unwanted items to recycle
‘The site of Splendour in the Grass is part of the most easterly significant wildlife corridor in Australia. It is the only intact corridor that connects the Gondwana Wollumbin ancient deep time forests to the unique subtropical coastal lowlands.
Splendour patrons left the campsite in a worse condition Monday than it was on Friday when organisers closed the area to any new arrivals – with garbage littered throughout the parklands.
The trail of destruction even found its way into town, with notoriously unwelcoming locals saying people had left their dirty shoes strewn throughout its streets 25kilometres from the festival site.
‘I notice there’s a trail of muddy shoes and gumboots around town this morning where people have ditched them in the gutters and on footpaths,’ a resident posted on Facebook.
A pair of muddy boots were found left on the side of the road in town in Byron Bay after Splendour finished on Sunday night
What is a NIMBY?
NIMBY, an acronym for ‘Not In My Backyard,’ describes the attitude of residents of neighbourhood about inappropriate or unwanted people in their local area.
Byron Bay citizens are infamous for their Nimbyism, constantly fighting with officials over holding major events including festivals.
They are also often abrasive to the holidaymakers who descend on its idyllic shores in the summer months.
‘You guys are coming back to pick this up right?’ another said.
On Splendour’s website, it claims it has a ‘heap of environmental programs’ to help every patron ‘become a waste and eco-warrior during your time’ at the festival.
‘In 2019, Splendour in the Grass won a green gong at the NSW Government Green Globe Awards, an event that recognises sustainability leaders across NSW, as well as projects and events that events that encourage others to achieve positive change for the environment,’ organisers said.
‘From encouraging you to catch the bus or share a ride, to promoting initiatives on waste reduction, BYO bottles and reusable cups, we’re always on the hunt for more ways to help keep our footprint light. Spread the environmental good vibes and lead by example.’
Ms Higginson said locals continue to fight against Splendour being held in North Byron Parklands. Daily Mail Australia has contacted her for comment.
In a final statement on Monday, Splendour Co-CEOs Jessica Ducrou and Paul Piticco thanked the ‘best festival team’ in the country for their efforts over the weekend.
Revellers packed up and left the muddy campsite on Monday after a tumultuous weekend of weather at Splendour
Hundreds of tents have been discarded in the campsite with a massive clean up effort now underway
‘We apologise for any inconvenience you may have experienced at our 20th Splendour. It certainly wasn’t our easiest show but even with the trials and tribulations we are so happy to be back with our Splendour family of patrons, our awesome event team, and our Australian music industry colleagues,’ they wrote.
‘As always, we really did try to provide the best experience possible under some extremely tricky conditions. The sheer collective spirit lifted us out of the mud and put music back on our stages where it hasn’t been for years. We thank all the patrons that held onto their tickets for so long.
‘We also acknowledge all the first-time festival goers and those who hadn’t experienced a rain effected event before, we understand it was a lot for you.
‘We have the best festival team in the country and we did everything we could considering the circumstances. We have consulted the weather gods and they tell us it will be great in 2023.’
About 50,000 revellers descended on the three-day festival near Byron Bay at the weekend – but the excitement quickly turned to frustration with the wild weather kicking off unlivable conditions and lengthy bus delays to leave the event.
Those left on Monday, the campers, were some of the worst-hit with heavy rains triggering floods and thick mud at campsites.
The horror conditions also mean thousands were left wondering how to get their cars out of the festival grounds, which turned to mush just hours into Splendour’s start.
‘I would say like 50 per cent of the cars down here are going to need to be pushed out … We’ve already spoken to the girls down the road in the campervan and they’re pretty bogged,’ festival attendee Ewan Roxborgh told the ABC.
The first Splendour in the Grass in three years has been marred by disastrous weather, comical planning, extensive cancellations and allegations of miscare from patrons
Splendour in the Grass issued a second grovelling apology after its blunt explanation for six-hour wait times for buses was slammed by fed up revellers
Splendour had its opening day cancelled on Friday after torrential rain turned the site into a marsh.
The rain eased on Saturday but took another turn for the worse about 11pm as thousands of attendees tried to get back to their accommodation for the night.
Frustrated patrons took to social media to complain after they waited as long as six hours for a bus to pick them up, with some still stranded on the grounds at 6am.
In a statement on Sunday morning, organisers said everyone was off the premises by 3:30am, with people heaping further criticism after the response.
Scrambling to repair its image, management sent out another apology on Sunday evening, saying they brought in ‘toilets and water’ as ‘extra measures’.
Frustrated attendees took to social media to complain they waited as long as six hours for a bus to pick them up
Scrambling to repair its image, management sent out another apology on Sunday evening, saying they brought in ‘toilets and water’ as ‘extra measures’
‘We know last night’s journey home was sh*tty for some of you. It usually takes some time to get everyone out of the venue, we’re so sorry you had that experience at Splendour,’ the statement said on Sunday.
‘While it doesn’t excuse the delay, the fact is some of the buses we ordered didn’t show up and that had a significant impact.
‘We’ve been on the phones all day to pull in as many additional transport options as we can. There will likely be wait times again tonight, but we will have extra measures in place to support you including toilets and water.
‘We are doing our best to get you all home safe and as quickly as possible.’
Initially Splendour organisers had blamed the problems on its Tweed routes and said 90 per cent of its patrons had left the site by 3:30am – the same as it was in 2019.
Attendees said they were lacking responsibility over a perceived lack of logistical planning after thousands were forced to move to offsite campgrounds.
The latest apology fell upon deaf ears, with people saying the improvements were nothing but a ‘basic human requirement’.
Initially Splendour organisers had blamed the problems on its Tweed routes and said 90 per cent of its patrons had left the site by 3:30am – the same as it was in 2019
Attendees said they were lacking responsibility over a perceived lack of logistical planning after thousands were forced to move to offsite campgrounds
Revellers said they were forced to wait till 6am for a bus to get out of Splendour
‘To say sh*tty for some of you, it’s usual, blame the bus company, then make out how amazing you are being on the phone all day is NOT owning your stuff Splendour!!! Such a lack of compassion for the people who are paying you who you literally left out in the mud, hungry and cold all night,’ an attendee responded to the latest apology.
”Toilets and water’ arent an extra measure…. pretty sure everyone was aware it was a basic human requirement. take a bow splendour!’ a woman replied.
Another said: ‘Dear Splendour on top of everything else, your PR, media and comms teams have produced an epic series of how-not-to-do-it announcements and messaging.’
A man claimed a bus driver said it was organisers who had significantly underestimated the amount of vehicles needed – particularly after the campgrounds were closed on Friday.
‘Our bus driver roped in two other busses that had to follow him because they didn’t know the bus route to tweed via the coast line. The bus drivers were absolute legends and after they dropped us off at 5am were on their way back after organisers were pleading to them over walkie talkies,’ he said.
‘Come on Splendour we deserve better than that and so do the bus drivers that were out there all night! More toilets and water isn’t going to fix a thing, especially those that couldn’t make it today because of getting home at a time when the rest of the state is waking up. What a slap in the face.’
Splendour in the Grass revellers were forced to wait as late as 6am to get a bus out of the festival grounds on Sunday morning
In a statement on Sunday, organisers said everyone was off the premises by 3:30am, with people heaping further criticism after the blunt response
The initial statement drew an avalanche of criticism with people saying the organisers were showing a lack of accountability.
‘There is a limit of what number of excuses you can continue to use. Accept responsibility that you have not run the festival properly and apologise for that,’ a woman replied.
‘While the music was incredible, your festival sucks. It was so poorly organised it appears you don’t actually care. Caring means resourcing the event adequately. You have to over resource so you have contingency to fall back on,’ another commented.
‘I knew this was going to be an issue on Friday, when you had TWO buses to transport thousands of people to and from the venue,’ a man added.
Some even suggested the lack of planning was ‘dangerous’ and that she heard ‘desperate cries for medics’ after people desperately stampeded for buses.
Frustrated attendees took to social media to reveal they waited as long as six hours this morning for a bus to pick them up
‘I was so frightened of being crushed in the bus crowd last night with peoples desperation escalating as the morning approached. No crowd control and no staff in sight! Thank god there were no casualties,’ she wrote.
People took to social media after some waited as long as six hours to get transport back to their accomodation.
‘When you’ve been in the bus line for four hours and still have so far to go,’ one woman wrote on TikTok alongside a video of crowds packed in the freezing cold waiting for transport.
‘This is so grim, shame on the organisers! What do they expect not allowing people to be picked up and no parking – total scam artists,’ another wrote.
‘Splendour should be so ashamed of themselves.’
According to attendees, workers at the festival didn’t provide water or warmth for the shivering crowds.
‘Don’t let them fool you, we had to beg for water. There was no communication from anyone as we stood there for hours. They said they would bring blankets and never did,’ a frustrated reveller wrote.
‘There’s people here without shoes, jackets, food and the amount of buses in comparison to people is ridiculous.’
The rain eased on Saturday but again took another turn for the worse at around 11pm as thousands of attendees tried to get back to their accommodation for the night
Other festivalgoers slammed the organisers’ poor planning, complaining they were still waiting for a bus by the time the sun was rising.
‘Not to mention it’s a PREBOOKED bus ticket … like they knew how many people needed to go home,’ one woman in the group wrote.
‘Update: just got home. It’s 6am. The sun is UP.’
One woman said organisers should rethink their decision to go from a 40,000 capacity to 50,000 as there weren’t enough resources for that many attendees.
‘I understand there are so many factors playing a part in things going wrong but previously when it was capped at 40,000 waiting time to get home was never that long, two hours max,’ she wrote.
Other ticket-holders said they would boycott the festival on Sunday to avoid waiting in six-hour lines to get home again.