Splendour in the Grass: revellers claim staff ‘won’t let them leave’ the festival


Young revellers sick of the chaotic and muddy conditions at Splendour in the Grass claim they became trapped at the festival because staff would not let them leave.

The iconic Byron Bay musical festival has been plagued by tribulations after the opening day was cancelled on Friday as torrential rain turned the site into a marsh.

The downpour eased on Saturday but took another turn for the worse at about 11pm as thousands of attendees trying to get back to their accommodation for the night waited up to six hours for buses. 

Now, one woman has taken to TikTok to reveal she and her friends were not allowed to leave despite being camped metres from a road. 

‘We tried for like five hours yesterday and last night to get out of here … they’re just not letting us leave,’ Hannah Patterson said. 

Hannah Patterson (right) said her group is not allowed to leave Splendour in the Grass because staff will not let them

Ms Patterson said the group have tried their hardest to enjoy the festival, but the conditions made it difficult.

‘I’ve had wet feet and shoes for days… We have been sleeping upright in the car because all of our stuff was in the back because it has been raining. 

‘We are just over it.

‘We paid to be here and it has been really horrible and we just want to leave but they’re not actually letting us go.’

Ms Patterson said their car was blocked from the road by a small portable fence, which could be easily moved by staff, who refused to take it down.

‘They’re like no “we’ve got other things [to do]. It’s too much effort. Just wait until Monday, stick it out for two more nights”.’

‘We’ve already been here three nights. I am so over it.’ 

‘I would love some kind of refund, but honestly – I don’t even mind. I just want to go. If I want to go, I should be able to go.’

Ms Patterson said she and her friends were sick of the wet conditions, which had forced them to sleep upright in their car

She said this portable gate separated their car from the road, but festival staff refused to move it

Ms Patterson said she and her friends were sick of the wet conditions, which had forced them to sleep upright in their car

However, in a video posted eight hours later on Sunday afternoon, Ms Patterson revealed she was finally allowed out after her mother came to the rescue.

‘My beautiful mama bear went full psycho and was calling people till 12am – hitting all of the emergencies, calling all of the hotlines, and sorted it out,’ she said.

‘And we were able to get out, thank goodness!’ 

The incident come as frustrated attendees took to social media to complain they waited until 6am to get a bus out of the festival on Saturday. 

In a statement on Sunday, organisers said everyone was off the premises by 3:30am, with people heaping further criticism after the response.  

‘We hear you and we understand your frustration with our bus services last night,’ Splendour posted to social media.

‘Our event site closes at 2am and 90 per cent of our bus patrons were offsite by 3:30am, like it was in 2019.

‘Unfortunately, some of our Tweed routes experienced extended delays due to bus driver shortages.’

Attendees said they were lacking responsibility over a perceived lack of logistical planning after thousands were forced to move to offsite campgrounds. 

The Byron Bay music festival has been plagued by issues after rain turned the site into marsh

The Byron Bay music festival has been plagued by issues after rain turned the site into marsh

Festival-goers queuing for coffee on Day 2 at Splendour in the Grass stand on logs to escape flood water

Festival-goers queuing for coffee on Day 2 at Splendour in the Grass stand on logs to escape flood water

‘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. 

‘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 accommodation. 

‘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.

Frustrated attendees took to social media to complain they waited as long as six hours for a bus to pick them up

Frustrated attendees took to social media to complain they waited as long as six hours for a bus to pick them up

In a statement on Sunday, organisers said everyone was off the premises by 3:30am, with people heaping further criticism after the blunt response

In a statement on Sunday, organisers said everyone was off the premises by 3:30am, with people heaping further criticism after the blunt response

Day three of the festival saw sunny skies after Splendour organisers had to cancel its opening night

Day three of the festival saw sunny skies after Splendour organisers had to cancel its opening night

‘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.’

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

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.

Festival co-founder Jessica Ducrou insisted the music festival was safe to attend and staff were carrying out repairs on-site to ensure the event could go ahead until its last day on Sunday. 

‘We’ve had muddy events before, it’s not new to us, but I think the amount of rain that the Northern Rivers has received over the past six months has made it very difficult,’ she told ABC. 

Organisers were forced to cancel main-stage performances on the first day of the festival on Friday amid flooded campsites and delays accessing the site

Organisers were forced to cancel main-stage performances on the first day of the festival on Friday amid flooded campsites and delays accessing the site

Thousands of festivalgoers were forced to spend the night on the flooded campgrounds with growing calls for the music event to be cancelled

Thousands of festivalgoers were forced to spend the night on the flooded campgrounds with growing calls for the music event to be cancelled

Festival co-founder Jessica Ducrou told punters to 'bring your gumboots' with the grounds still submerged in thick mud and floodwaters on Saturday

Festival co-founder Jessica Ducrou told punters to ‘bring your gumboots’ with the grounds still submerged in thick mud and floodwaters on Saturday

‘Everyone’s working as hard as they can to make this an experience they deserve, but it is very challenging conditions.’ 

Organisers were forced to cancel main-stage performances on the first day of the festival on Friday amid flooded campsites and delays accessing the site.

Thousands of festivalgoers were forced to spend the night on the flooded campgrounds with growing calls for the music event to be cancelled.

Kadence Mathers was among the revellers who described the situation as ‘grim’ saying that a steady stream of rain overnight had added to her misery.

‘I’m standing in… my complete foot is in water right now,’ she told the Today Show on Saturday morning.

Ms Mathers videoed the campgrounds submerged in floodwaters with cars bogged down in thick mud. 

She went inside her tent to reveal it had become a ‘waterbed’ with floodwaters becoming trapped between the ground and the floor of the tent. 

‘I’ve been using socks and stuff to mop up the water that is coming in,’ she said. 

Ms Mathers confessed she just wanted to leave the campgrounds, but would be unable to go anywhere until her car was freed from the thick mud.

‘I mean it would be good for the festival to go ahead, but it’s not fun in there,’ she said.

‘It’s completely flooded and muddy. You can’t walk without slipping. It’s not fun.’ 

A severe warning for damaging surf has been issued for the Byron, Coffs Coast, Macquarie and Hunter coasts (pictured, muddy grounds at the music festival on Friday)

A severe warning for damaging surf has been issued for the Byron, Coffs Coast, Macquarie and Hunter coasts (pictured, muddy grounds at the music festival on Friday)

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