The organisers of Splendour In The Grass have begun petitioning for public support to get the festival moved back to its original location in Byron Bay after relocating to Woodford in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland for this year’s event. The request that Splendour organisers are asking of festival fans is to write letters of recommendation to the NSW Department of Planning in support of Splendour’s application for a permanent SITG site in the North Byron Parklands.
The festival has a long history in Byron Bay, where it has been held at Belongil Fields every year (except obviously 2010) but any regular Splendour attendee would be all too aware that the festival has well and truly outgrown the site – and regardless it is being rezoned for residential development so is no longer a possible option. If Splendour could manage to get approval for the permnanant site in North Byron the festival would benefit greatly; owning the land instead of renting other peoples’ would give Splendour producers the opportunity to get the festival running at the maximum operational potential. That would allow for an even better Splendour In The Grass for everyone.
The move to the new Byron Bay site has been getting talked about for a few years now but for some reason the process has been held up time and again. Jessica Ducrou, co-producer of Splendour explained to Pedestrian why it is taking so long to approve. “North Byron Parklands was purchased in 2006,” Jessica said. “A Development Application for a trial event in 2009 was approved by the Byron Shire Council in July 2008. The Byron Council’s decision was then successfully challenged in the Land and Environment Court by the group Conservation of North Ocean Shores (CONOS), who won on a technicality. So we were back to square one.
“In late 2009 The Byron Shire Council put forward their Draft Events Policy and Draft Events Guidelines. The limitations placed on events through these documents were considered so restrictive that Splendour in the Grass chose to temporarily relocate to the site of the Woodford Folk Festival for the 2010 tenth anniversary Splendour in the Grass event.
“Given the scale of employment offered through the North Byron Parklands proposal it has come under the NSW Government’s Part 3A Major Projects banner. A proposal has been submitted, the public exhibition phase is currently underway and will finish on 19 November. After that the NSW Government will consider all submissions made.”
So how important is public support and can it make a real difference?
“Public support will make a big difference to the success of the application. The more individual submissions received, the more chance Splendour has of moving to its own permanent home in the Byron Shire. It only takes a couple of minutes to write a submission so please, go to www.northbyronparklands.com and help to bring Splendour home!”
For anyone unfamiliar with the North Byron Parklands, here’s why SITG organisers have been chasing the site:
It’s really big – (660 acres, compared with Woodford’s 400 acres and 50 acres at Belongil);
It’s accessible – 20 minutes north of Byron and 30 minutes south of the Gold Coast airport;
There’s excellent access to/from the Pacific Highway, which runs straight past the site;
It will have fantastic camping locations on site;
There are plenty of other accommodation options nearby.
Jessica told us the deadline for confirming a new location for 2011 is by the end of this year, so if you want to help out your favourite festival send in your positive submissions in favour of the proposal go to www.bringsplendourhome.com to begin your submission.
Which year was your favourite Splendour In The Grass?