A spokesman for Australia's Pyramid Rock Festival has confirmed there will be no refunds for fans after a freak storm on New Year's Eve wiped out the final program. Now festival organizers have been forced to weather the storm of protest from ticket-holders.

Shiny Entertainment, promoters of the Pyramid Rock Festival, jettisoned the four headline acts for safety reasons when a fierce electrical storm hit the camp on Phillip Island, 135km south east of Melbourne, just three hours before the big countdown

Shiny initially delayed and sought to relocate the performances by Empire of the Sun, Grinspoon, the Butterfly Effect and Van She. When it became apparent the inclement conditions had damaged lighting and sound equipment on the main stage, explains the festival promoter, the four performances and the planned countdown were canceled.

Disappointed festival goers vented their frustrations on the festival's official Facebook page. "Absolute disaster, no countdown, no Empire of the Sun, no explanation," wrote one attendee. Others were less kind.

Organizers and representatives for the four bands also went online to defend their actions. "We did everything in our power to ensure that the show would go ahead but in the end we just couldn't compete with Mother Nature," wrote Empire of the Sun's frontman Luke Steele on the festival's Web site. "We'd like to extend our sincerest apologies to all the fans who waited. Our thoughts are with everyone who was caught in the storm."

According to a statement, Empire of the Sun remained on site until after 2am and looked at the possibility of playing a smaller stage, which was still open, but security staff and promoters agreed it would present too great a security risk.

In a statement posted on the site, organizers said the unpopular decision to halt the festival program was down to the safety of "patrons, artists, employees and volunteers."

"The main stage suffered major damage to vital lighting and effects systems that could not be restored in time to bring in the New Year," the statement read.

The organizers continued, "Our actions were dictated first and foremost with the personal safety of all attendees in mind. [We] sincerely regret that the festival could not run as scheduled and extend their sincere apologies to all the patrons and artists involved."

"However," the official statement adds, "[organizers] remain secure in the knowledge that the most difficult decision in their proud six year history was made with patron, artist, employee and volunteer safety as its foremost consideration."

The three-day event was a sell-out, shifting 15,000 tickets, priced at $285 Australian ($258) plus a booking fee. Regurgitator, Cat Power and Ugly Duckling were among the 55 bands who played at the sixth annual event, which wrapped on Jan. 1. The festival will return again later this year.