Splendour In The Grass to provide “goodwill payment” to artists who had sets cancelled

The first day of live music programming was axed to “err on the side of caution” for patrons’ safety

Splendour In The Grass artists who were due to perform on the first day of the festival (Friday July 22), but had their sets cancelled when the live music program was pulled due to safety concerns, will be remunerated with a “goodwill payment”.

Secret Sounds – the company behind Splendour In The Grass, as well as other events like Falls Festival – have offered the payment directly to agents, managers and promoters of the affected artists, The Music Network revealed yesterday (July 31). 

Some of the biggest names that appeared on Friday’s line-up included The Avalanches, Jungle, Kacey Musgraves, Orville Peck and Ruel, as well as the headlining Gorillaz. Some of the affected acts – such as Yungblud, Wet Leg, Baker Boy and MAY-A – staged last-minute headline shows in the cities surrounding the North Byron Parklands (where Splendour was held), however most did not perform at all. 

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All sets scheduled for the four mainstages were cancelled around noon on the Friday, with organisers opting to “err on the side of caution” for patrons’ safety in the wake of significant weather challenges. NME was on the ground and saw technical difficulties affecting the Mix Up stage, which workers had attempted to rectify for over an hour before the decision to cancel programming was confirmed.

Last week, Secret Sounds confirmed that punters will receive “proportionate refunds” for the cancellation of Friday’s live music program. Those with three-day festival tickets will receive a partial refund – $133 for general admission tickets and $199 for VIP Village tickets – which will be processed via bank transfer. Full refunds will be processed for those who’d purchased single-day tickets for the Friday.

According to The Music Network, a clause in Splendour contract stated that if artists’ sets were to be cancelled “due to a force majeure event”, they would not be paid in any form, with the onus to cover any related costs being  placed on the would-be performer. It’s reported that Secret Sounds had planned to stick by this clause, but received significant pushback from those affected by the cancellations. 

In an email acquired by The Music Network, Secret Sounds’ co-CEO Paul Piticco said the company “often go[es] beyond” what it is obligated to do in order to “support our artists and their teams”, and that “in this case, we have been working on a goodwill support package to do just that”. 

It’s reported that any artist who’d signed on to play Splendour with a fee of $15,000 or less will receive the full amount of their agreed-upon figure, while all other acts will receive 50 per cent of their fee, up to a total of $50,000. This will not factor in any commissions owed to agents, managers or promotors, which Piticco says will ensure the “biggest impact for artists that have the least resource and are most affected by the cancellation”.

NME has reached out to representatives of Secret Sounds for more information.

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NME gave this year’s Splendour a three-star review, saying that “for all its logistical failures, technical difficulties and weather-induced calamity, Splendour 2022 was still thoroughly memorable, thanks to the resilience and camaraderie of its audience and the enterprising passion of its performers”.

The review continued: “To recoup the goodwill it’s lost this year, 2023’s event will need much more intensive planning and a more considered blueprint to brace for potential disasters. We’re looking forward to that – and counting down the days to our next trek up to the North Byron Parklands, or wherever the festival may be next year.”

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