Splendour in the Grass 2013
The National. Photo: Rachel Murdolo
Organisers may well hope gumboot fashion and an international music line up will calm frayed tempers after a shambolic start to the Splendour in the Grass Festival.
The first year of the festival's new location outside of Byron Bay was marred by teething problems which sent some fans demanding at least partial refunds.
On Facebook fans grumbled it had taken them up to five hours to enter the North Byron Bay grounds, with too few shuttle buses to transport ticketholders to and from the venue. There were extensive hold ups too at the entrance where fans reported problems with the new microchipped wristbands. Replacing the paper entry bands, they were introduced to cut queues and combat fraud.
One fan claimed to have set out at 12.30pm, and gained entry to the festival site at 6pm, having witnessed several verbal fights break out in the long queue. Once inside, premium ticketed Country Club campers complained there were as few as five showers to share, and drinking water at two amenity blocks had run out.
While skies remain clear, rains earlier this week have turned the grounds soggy underfoot, making gumboots a necessary fashion item but again causing disgruntled fans to complain about hefty mark ups.
Festival organisers appeared to acknowledge the logistical problems, issuing a short statement on Friday night: "We regret that there have been difficulties for both our Country Club patrons and with bus services. We hear you loud and clear and are in the midst of rectifying the issues as best we can. It is our first year at our new home and we feel we laid the best plans, however they have not been executed to the standard Splendour has always prided itself on. The bulk of the weekend is ahead of you and we hope you will enjoy all the splendid things we have planned for you!"
Meanwhile, organisers scrambled to announce line up changes after Sunday's headline act Frank Ocean returned to the US after incurring a small tear to his vocal chords. New Zealand 16 year old Lorde was drafted into the line up, and Iceland's Of monsters and Men will stand in as the festival's headline act.
Alt-J was named as the festival's mystery band.