After 13 years in the making, Secret Sounds are thrilled and relieved to receive news this afternoon that North Byron Parklands has finally been granted a permanent licence to operate and Splendour and Falls Festival Byron have a forever home.Commencing in 2006 and initially working on a venue approval with the support of Byron Shire Council, our application for permanency moved across to the Department of Planning in 2009. After a process of almost 9 years including a 6 ½ year trial period and 4 modifications to our temporary license, Splendour in the Grass and Falls Festival Byron can exhale as the Independent Planning Commission grant venue approval to North Byron Parklands.

Splendour in the Grass and Falls Festival Co-Producer, and Secret Sounds founder and Co-CEO Jessica Ducrou said “In particular we would like to express our sincere thanks to the Department of Planning and Environment for their thorough and fair approach and for always assessing the North Byron Parklands application on its merits.

“We would also like to thank the North Byron Parklands team, with a special mention of NBP General Manager Mat Morris, planners Steve Connelly, Rob Doolan and Phil Jones and communications team Viv Fantin and Claire Atkins, who have worked tirelessly to bring this herculean project to fruition.

“And we also want to give a huge shout out to our incredible Splendour in the Grass and Falls Byron event teams and all the local love and support of those who live and work in the area and further afield. To the many festival attendees who have taken the time and made the effort to show support, you guys rock!  Thank you so much. Big love and gratitude to you all.

“That said, the news of North Byron Parkland’s approval via the Independent Planning Commission is bittersweet as it comes at a time when the music festival industry in NSW is under attack by Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

“Over many months the festival industry requested to be included in the discussion around safety to no avail. The token effort made, a one hour meeting that the Premier and relevant Minister did not attend, instead sending junior aides and advisors, was insulting to the music industry at large and quite obviously a ‘box ticking’ exercise on behalf of the Berejiklian Government.

“As NSW Government guidelines and the risk matrix were removed from websites, Premier Berejiklian released a festival licensing fiasco that named and shamed 14 NSW events as “high risk”, with no explanation of how they were assessed and no guidelines of how her new policy would be managed.

“Under the guise of ‘festival safety’ and without adequate industry consultation Premier Berejiklian introduced ill prepared festival regulations late on the evening of February 28 as the Government transitioned into caretaking mode on Friday 1 March in the lead up the State election on the 23 March 2019.

“While it will be suggested that these regulations are now in place, they are without proper consultation, applying a broad stroke cookie cutter approach around what is a complex and nuanced industry.

“Due to their sheer size and scale and as a board member of the Australian Festival Association (AFA) Splendour in the Grass and Falls Festivals have been afforded a seat at the table. We take that role seriously and with great consideration for other operators, it is our responsibility to assist in protecting the wider festival industry especially our younger and aspiring promoters who represent the future.

“Premier Berejiklian’s policy on the run is not in the interest of public safety but a crude tool to control the future of any music festival. By politicizing the tragic deaths of five young people to illicit drugs at festivals she has in fact managed to avoid a very serious and greater health issue.

“As lovers of music, we hope you consider the future of your favourite festivals in NSW when you vote. Without support from a government that is genuinely interested in improving our industry with all its complexities, the future of our music festivals and live music is unknown.”