Falls Festival in Lorne kicked off yesterday, with artists including Vampire Weekend, Halsey, What So Not, Disclosure and Amyl and the Sniffers set to take the stage during the course of the four-day festival.
Secret Sounds, which organises the festival, today released a statement advising that due to extreme weather concerns the rest of the event will be cancelled. The approximately 9,000 patrons already onsite have until 9am tomorrow to pack down their campsites and depart.
"It is with a heavy heart we have had to cancel the remaining days of The Falls Festival in Lorne due to the predicted extreme weather conditions forecast for Monday December 30th in the Otways and surrounding region, creating a risk to health and safety due to potential fires, smoke, severe winds and tree hazards," festival organisers said in a statement. "The decision has not been made lightly, our patron and staff safety is our priority."
High winds and temperatures of up to 40 degrees are predicted for Monday, and organisers consulted with fire authorities and emergency services before making the call.
"While conditions are fine at time of writing, we are taking the opportunity to move everyone offsite safely and in good time," the statement continues. "For those 9,000 currently staying onsite we ask you calmly pack up your campsite and return to your place of origin. There is no need to rush, please ensure you have a sober driver."
For the remainder of Sunday, December 29, food operators and medical facilities will still be open, but music and bars will not be operating. Gates to the Lorne site will close at 9am on Monday, December 30.
"The Great Ocean road is at capacity, please do not return into Lorne or other coastal townships as they are all subject to the same extreme weather conditions. Do not look to camp in the Otways or any forested area, as the fire risk is extreme and there are forecast wind gusts of 90–100 kilometres per hour with possible lightning," the statement said.
“We are gutted to make this call but the safety of our patrons, artists and staff is our main priority," Secret Sounds co-CEO Jessica Ducrou is quoted in the statement. "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."
Ticket purchasers will receive a full refund including booking and payment processing fees.
Falls Festival Marion Bay (Tasmania), Byron Bay (NSW), and Fremantle (WA) will go ahead as scheduled. This article was updated on December 31 to reference the correct Marion Bay.