Organisers have been forced to cancel the remaining days of The Falls Festival in Lorne, Victoria, due to the predicted extreme weather conditions forecast for Monday December 30 in the Otways and surrounding region, creating a risk to health and safety due to potential fires, smoke, severe winds and tree hazards. According to an official statement, “The decision has not been made lightly, our patron and staff safety is our priority.”
“We are gutted to make this call but the safety of our patrons, artists and staff is our main priority. We would like to thank our regional emergency management team, Surf Coast Council, SES, Police and CFA for their support and advice during this time. We would also like to thank our Falls family who work year round and over the last few weeks who have put their heart and soul into Falls Lorne, we are forever grateful. Please take care getting home safely,” said Jessica Ducrou Secret Sounds Co CEO.
Forecast conditions got significantly worse on Sunday, added the statement, with information coming to light that had not been available before the event kicked off on December 28. The event was cancelled after consultation with local and regional fire authorities and other emergency stakeholders.
On Sunday, the 9,000 festival-goers currently onsite were asked to pack up their campsites and leave. Gates to the event site closed at 9 am on Monday morning, December 30.
Campers were also warned that The Great Ocean road is at capacity and not to return to Lorne or other coastal townships as they are all subject to the same extreme weather conditions. They were also warned not to camp in the Otways or any forested area, as the fire risk is extreme and there are forecast wind gusts of 90 – 100km per hour with possible lightning.
All ticket purchasers to the Lorne 2019 event will receive a full refund including booking and payment processing fees.
Falls events in Byron Bay, Marion Bay and Fremantle are unaffected.