Splendour one step closer to Byron Bay homecoming

Splendour In The Grass promoters have made no secret of their desire to return the festival to its spiritual home in Byron Bay as soon as possible, and an Environmental Assessment Report just released by NSW Planning & Infrastructure indicates they are one step closer to making this dream a reality.

It has been over three years since the festival’s organisers purchased land at Yelgun in the North Byron Parkland, where they hope to establish the festival permanently. Since buying the new site Splendour has faced serious opposition from the local council who want to enforce a LEP (Local Environmental Plan) amendment which would limit major music events, that have 6000 patrons and take place over two days.

15 months in the making the lengthy report – which can be viewed online here – concludes that: ”…the department considers the site Suitable for the proposed development, and is in the public interest. The department therefore recommends that the concept plan and Stages 1and 2 project approval be granted approved, subject to the recommended conditions of approval and proponent’s Statement of commitments.”

In a nutshell, the department has recommended approval for three major events a year at Yelgun with maximum crowds of 30,000, 25,000 and 15,000 for the three events over a maximum of 10 days in the first year. As reported in the Byron Shire News, it also recommends “approval be given down the track for events for up to 50,000 people if all key performance indicators are met.”

The application is now in the hands of the Planning and Assessment Commission who will make the final decision in the near future.

Speaking with Byron Shire News Splendour promoter Jess Ducrou described the report as “great news” and went on to say, “once there is a determination on the proposal we will be able to work out where Splendour will be held in 2012. Until that time we are solely focused on achieving approval for our site.”

When FL spoke to Jess before Splendour this year she told us that “Yelgun has a little more flexibility in its layout to custom build the site to our festival which is appealing. We also have the opportunity to custom build the site for our festival rather Woodford which is built for the Woodford Folk Festival. I just think it will make for the ultimate experience… we’ll be smaller for our first year, smaller than Woodford, because we want to get it right and it’s important for people coming to the show that it’s a smooth experience. And it’s important for the community that it doesn’t feel overwhelming to them either. It really is a year by year thing, we’ll make sure we get it right and everyone’s happy. There’s more space so it’ll be a more relaxed feeling than the last few years where it’s been a little more crowded.”