Splendour in the Grass parent company under fire for traffic management chaos 

Featured image credit: Aranxa Esteve on Unsplash

Splendour in the Grass festival organisers have been told to pay A$100,000 (£56,000/$67,000/€63,000) for failing to comply with a traffic management plan during this year’s event in North Byron Parklands. 

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment said the A$100,000 enforceable undertaking would be paid by the festival’s parent company Billinudgel Property. The money will then be split between 10 primary and secondary schools within a 10km radius of the Parklands venue.

The enforceable undertaking was issued after the music festival returned following the COVID-19 pandemic, with an increased capacity from 35,000 to 50,000 visitors.

Before the start of the festival, attendees were queueing for more than 12 hours before eventually being turned away from flooded campgrounds, according to reports. Some were forced to sleep in their cars in the car park.

The build up of people had resulted in significant delays to local traffic, which included school buses.

Splendour in the Grass took place from July 22-24 and featured performances from artists such as Gorillaz, The Strokes and Tyler, The Creator.

A spokesperson from the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment said in a statement: “We place strict conditions on events such as Splendour in the Grass for a reason, and organisers need to abide by them.”

Splendour in the Grass issued a statement from Jessica Ducrou, co-chief executive of Secret Sounds, which said: “Residents and school children were frustrated by unusually long queues, made worse by the weather, as Splendour festival goers tried to access their camping accommodation.

“We had a rigorous planning process in place through the Department of Planning which included council involvement and local committees such as the Local Traffic Committee, Local Emergency Management Committee and a Regulatory Working Group.

“However, we faced an unprecedented weather event, unlike anything we have seen in our 30 years of presenting festivals.”

The Department has also said that the festival will need to carry out its mandatory triannual audit one year early. The independent audit will reveal if any other conditions were breached during this year’s event.