‘Unprecedented’: Splendour in the Grass hit with $100,000 fine

The parent company of Splendour in the Grass has been slapped with a massive fine after the music festival triggered traffic chaos earlier this year.

The $100,000 sanction was charged to Bilinudgel Property for failing to comply with the event’s traffic management plan when it was held at Byron Bay in July.

A surplus of tickets were sold by the festival which partially triggered attendees to line up for more than 12 hours in their cars only to be turned away from flooded campgrounds at the site.

What resulted was significant delays to local traffic, including school buses.

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment said the proceeds of the fine would be split between ten schools in the area affected by the traffic chaos.

Each school can decide how to distribute their own funds.

“We place strict conditions on events such as Splendour in the Grass for a reason, and organisers need to abide by them,” a department spokesman said in a statement.

“Traffic queuing resulted in short term, but significant traffic delays to the community, including schoolchildren travelling home from school on Thursday, 21 July 2022.

“After considering all of the options available to us, we have decided that the best outcome for the community is for the company to contribute financially to improvements to nearby schools through an enforceable undertaking.”

Heavy rain and wind marred the festival’s conditions throughout its run and left the site filled with mud and rainwater.

Splendour in the Grass issued a statement from Jessica Ducrou, co-CEO of Secret Sounds, which apologised to those impacted by the delays.

“Residents and schoolchildren were frustrated by unusually long queues, made worse by the weather, as Splendour festival goers tried to access their camping accommodation,” she said.

“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.”

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