Australia’s largest music festival has turned into a mud pit, forcing organizers to cancel the first day of acts as concertgoers complained of quagmires and flooded tents.
Fans had been excited about the return of Splendour in the Grass, a three-day festival featuring international acts like Liam Gallagher, Gorillaz, Tyler The Creator and The Strokes, after a two-year pandemic-enforced hiatus.
But non-stop rainy weather along the New South Wales coast throughout the week has created hazardous conditions at the festival site near Byron Bay, the upmarket coastal town popular with Hollywood celebrities.
As they canceled Friday’s program, organizers said the “weather and staff shortages were all worse than expected.”
“A significant weather system is currently sitting off the east coast and may reach land later today bringing more rainfall,” organizers said in a statement published on the event’s Facebook page.
“In the interest of patron safety and in consultation with all relevant emergency services, we have decided to err on the side of caution and cancel performances on the main stages today only.”
As much of the world has sweltered during summer heatwaves, Australia has experienced a particularly wet winter, punctuated by flooding along the eastern coast.
About 50,000 people were expected to attend this year’s festival, most of whom paid between A$189 for a single day pass and A$399 for three full days.
Experts the climate crisis had increased the frequency and intensity of the La Nina weather system, generating above average rainfall.
Devastating floods hit New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, earlier this month, damaging homes still waiting repairs from the previous floods and forcing businesses to shutter.