Falls Festival Victoria will end this year without a home after the event’s team decided to withdraw its planning permit application to lock in a new site in Murroon, between Lorne and Colac.
The multi-day summer festival had initially planned to move from its long-held site in Lorne to a new location a 30-minute drive inland. The plan was met with pushback from a group of local Murroon residents who appealed the Colac Shire Otway Council’s approved permit for the festival.
A hearing with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) was scheduled for March next year after initial mediation between the festival team and locals failed to find a resolution. The hearing has since been abandoned after Falls Festival decided to withdraw from the planning approval process on Friday.
Falls producer and Secret Sounds co-CEO Jess Ducrou said in a statement the festival would revisit planning applications for a new Victorian location in the new year.
“Given the time and expense, we have decided to withdraw from the approval process,” she said.
“The festival industry is recovering from the pandemic and a long, expensive process pursuing this application is something we’ll need to reassess in the new year.
“It has taken two years of consultation and planning permit approval processes to get to this point and despite support from the local community and Colac Otway Council, the process has been stalled by the objectors through VCAT.
“We thank all the community and stakeholders who have supported the Falls Festival to date.”
Colac Otway Shire Council Mayor Chris Potter said the council was “disappointed” that Secret Sounds had to withdraw from the planning process.
“Council approved the issue of a permit for a Falls music festival near Birregurra and was looking forward to the social, cultural and economic benefits that a major event brings to the region,” he said.
“We are disappointed that Secret Sounds has had to withdraw from the VCAT process at this time, but look forward to continuing to work with them on future opportunities.”
The decision to withdraw from the Murroon planning process will not affect the upcoming Falls dates for its downtown Melbourne edition, which is set to kick off at Sidney Myer Music Bowl on December 29. You can still cop tickets to the Melb leg of the festival over on the Moshtix website.