As the coronavirus continues to spread, Splendour in the Grass, Australia’s premier mid-winter music festival, is taking the unprecedented step of rescheduling its event to October, a full three months after the previously-confirmed dates.
Organizers of the three-day fest pushed-back the event after the federal government activated a ban on public gatherings of 500 or more people, and set strict rules on foreign nationals entering the country’s borders.
Splendour’s three-month pause was made with health and safety as the “number one priority,” reads a statement from the festival’s co-founders Jessica Ducrou and Paul Piticco, co-CEOs of Secret Sounds.
“After careful consideration and consultation with our artists, crew and stakeholders,” they continue, “in these unpredictable times we have decided, as a precautionary measure, to move Splendour in the Grass 2020 out of the winter months.”
Also joining this year’s lineup is Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Midnight Oil (The Makarrata Project), Glass Animals, Denzel Curry, Duke Dumont Live, Violent Soho, Mura Masa, King Krule and many more.
Launched in 2001, SITG is always one of the hottest tickets on Australia’s festivals calendar. It ticks many boxes for live music fans. Rare among winter camping fests, Splendour is both a road trip and a dream holiday, held in one of the country’s most scenic spots, Byron Bay. And it’s not uncommon for international performers to test out new songs.
All tickets purchased for the original July 23-25 dates are valid for entry on the new dates, set for Oct. 23-25.
“We understand that many of our patrons have already made plans for July and we trust local accommodation and travel providers will act in the best interests of all to accommodate these changes without penalty,” Ducrou and Piticco add. “Huge thanks for your ongoing support and we’ll see you in October.”
While ticket-holders for Splendour still have something to look forward, the same can’t be said for thousands of other Australian festival-goers.
After Scott Morrison announced strict new measures intended to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus, Byron Bay Bluesfest announced its Easter 2020 show would be a canceled. A string of live music events in the land Down Under have folded or are listed as uncertain.
“The industry is absolutely in meltdown,” warns Evelyn Richardson, CEO of trade body Live Performance Australia. Richardson participated in a roundtable on Tuesday (March 17), led by Paul Fletcher, Federal Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts.
The live industry is still waiting for guidance and a pledge of financial support from the multi-billion-dollar bailout package established by federal government to keep industry and individuals afloat.
There’s no timeline on when the mass gathering ban will be lifted. “We see this closure period, this shutdown, as being probably a six-month period,” Richardson tells Billboard.