Falls Festival cancelled for 2023, after spat over proposed new home
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The Falls Festival, the major three-day music event that has been held annually over New Year’s Eve for the past 30 years, will not be staged in 2023.
First held in bushland in the Victorian coastal town of Lorne in 1993, the festival has struggled to find a permanent base in recent years. In 2022, it was held at Melbourne’s Sidney Myer Music Bowl after organisers were prevented from staging the event at a proposed new site in Murroon, a small town 35 kilometres from the festival’s original home.
Lil Nas X on stage at Melbourne’s Sidney Myer Music Bowl as part of last year’s relocated Falls Festival.Credit: Morgan Hancock/Getty Images
Plans to permanently relocate the three-day festival to Murroon ended up in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal after nearby residents objected to the proposal.
A VCAT hearing had been set down for February this year, but was abandoned last December after talks between festival organisers and objectors broke down.
In response to questions from this masthead in March about the fate of this year’s event, Falls had responded that they “hope to have some news in coming months”.
However, on Wednesday morning, festival producer Jessica Ducrou issued a statement in which she said there would be no festival this year, as organisers took a break to “re-imagine how Falls will look in the future”.
She added that the team would take the upcoming New Year’s season off to “rest, recover and recalibrate”.
Falls is one of Australia’s longest-running and most successful festivals, having spawned spin-off events in Marion Bay in Tasmania and Fremantle in Western Australia.
However, its future must now be under a cloud. The Marion Bay leg, which ran for 17 years, was last staged in 2019. Though the Fremantle festival went ahead in January, there is as yet no word on its fate for next year, though a standalone west-coast festival seems highly unlikely.
Although last year’s relocated event in Melbourne featured a strong line-up including Arctic Monkeys, Lil Nas X, Peggy Gou, Jamie xx, Chvrches, Spacey Jane, Amyl and the Sniffers and Genesis Owusu, among others, the Victorian leg has had its issues too. The Lorne event was cancelled in 2019 due to extreme heat and the risk of bushfire, and the 2020 and 2021 iterations were called off due to COVID-19 lockdowns.
Falls Festival producer Jessica Ducrou.Credit:
“The past few years has seen unprecedented change in the live music space, both front of house and behind the scenes,” Ducrou said in today’s statement.
“We send huge love and appreciation to all our patrons for their ongoing support and for the great vibes they brought to the 2022/23 events.”
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