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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Lorne's Falls Festival Has Been Cancelled Because of Extreme and Hazardous Weather

"We simply cannot put anyone's life at risk."
By Lauren Vadnjal and Samantha Teague
December 29, 2019
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Lorne's Falls Festival Has Been Cancelled Because of Extreme and Hazardous Weather

"We simply cannot put anyone's life at risk."
By Lauren Vadnjal and Samantha Teague
December 29, 2019
  shares

Since first launching its end-of-year festival fun in Lorne back in 1993, Falls Festival has become an end-of-year staple not only on the Great Ocean Road, but in Byron, Marion Bay and Fremantle. But, one day into its 2019 event, the festival has had to cancel the remaining days of its Lorne bash due to the extreme and hazardous weather predicted for tomorrow, Monday, December 30.

In a Facebook post this morning, a Falls Festival spokesperson said the decision had been made after "consultation with local and regional fire authorities and other emergency stakeholders". "Forecasted conditions have gotten significantly worse in the past 12 hours, with information coming to light that has not been available to us before the event kicked off on December 28th," the statement says. "It is clear that we have no other option."

While there are no out of control bushfires in the area at the time of writing, temperatures are expected to reach a top of 43 degrees on the Surf Coast tomorrow. That, coupled with strong 90–100-kilometre northwesterly winds, has prompted organisers to make the decision to "move everyone offsite safely and in good time". A total fire ban in place across the whole state tomorrow.

The festival officially started yesterday, and there are already 9000 people on site. While festivalgoers got to catch the likes of Vera Blue, Parcels and John Farnham on day one, today there will be no music or bars — but food outlets, toilets and medical facilities will be open until 9am tomorrow, when the gates to the festival will close.

Festival organisers are urging punters to return home as the surrounding towns on the Great Ocean Road — like Lorne, Apollo Bay and Anglesea — will already be at capacity due to the holiday period. Thousands more were expected to arrive at the festival site today.

This fire season has already been a catastrophic one, with fires continuing to burn in the East Gippsland region and NSW, where over three million hectares has been burnt so far. NSW's New Year's Eve festival Lost Paradise was cancelled due to bushfire threat earlier in the month.

Falls Festival was set to run from December 28–January 1, with Halsey, Vampire Weekend, Disclosure and Peking Duk some of the artists scheduled to perform across four stages. The festivals in Marion Bay, Byron and Fremantle will go ahead as scheduled.

Everyone with a ticket will be refunded next week.

Top image: Boaz Nothham

Published on December 29, 2019 by Lauren Vadnjal

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