Australia's Biggest Music Festival Becomes a Quagmire

Heavy rain forced cancelation of main acts on first day of Splendour in the Grass
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 22, 2022 8:54 AM CDT

After a two-year pandemic absence, music fans in Australia were eagerly awaiting the return of Splendour in the Grass, the country's biggest music festival—but heavy rain has turned the site into a muddy quagmire that's been dubbed "Splendour in the Lake." CNN reports that while much of the world is dealing with heat waves, Australia is experiencing an exceptionally wet winter. Organizers of the festival in Byron Bay, New South Wales, say it's the worst weather in the event's 20-year history. After insisting early Friday that the show would go on "rain, hail or shine," organizers later canceled all of Friday's main stage acts, including headliners Gorillaz.

Friday was the first day of the three-day festival. Thousands who arrived Thursday found campsites flooded, with knee-high mud, the Guardian reports. Festival-goers complained abut a lack of communication from staff and massive traffic jams caused by cars breaking down or getting trapped in the mud. "No staff, no information, think this is Australia's Fyre festival," said one man who had been stuck in his car for more than 8 hours, referring to the disastrous 2017 "luxury" festival in the Bahamas. Three-day Splendour in the Grass tickets cost $275 and organizers say guests will receive partial refunds. (Australian floods have caused a lettuce shortage so severe that KFC is using cabbage instead.)

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