The Brag Media
News December 12, 2022

Falls Festival Withdraws From Approval Process for Birregurra Event

Senior Journalist, B2B
Falls Festival Withdraws From Approval Process for Birregurra Event

Falls Festival won’t be nestled in Murroon, Victoria anytime soon after organisers walked away from the drawn-out approval process, citing time and expense.

The traveling fest had applied to the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for approval to host Falls Birregurra, when “a small group of objectors opposed” those plans.

Following initial compulsory mediation, reads a statement from the Falls team, both sides failed to reach resolution and a hearing was set for late February early March 2023.

Last Friday (Dec. 9), show organisers announced the decision to withdraw from the planning exercise.

“Given the time and expense, we have decided to withdraw from the approval process,” comments Falls producer and Secret Sounds co-CEO Jessica Ducrou.

“The festival industry is recovering from the pandemic and a long, expensive process pursuing this application is something we’ll need to reassess in the new year.

According to Ducrou, her team had engaged in consultation and planning permit approval for two years, and, despite support from the local community and Colac Otway Council, “the process has been stalled by the objectors through VCAT.”

Falls Birregurra would have been a boon for Murroon, a small rural town about 120kms from Melbourne, which has a recorded population of just 83 residents.

The decision to cancel the exercise, however, won’t affect the forthcoming pre-NYE event that’s set to take place at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne.

Arctic Monkeys, Lil Nas X, Peggy Gou and the OG Wiggles will headline a bill that will perform under the brand Falls Downtown Melbourne, scheduled for Dec. 29, 30 and 31.

Shows will follow in Byron Bay, NSW; and Fremantle, WA.

“We thank all the community and stakeholders who have supported the Falls Festival to date,” adds Ducrou.

“We know from numerous economic impact studies of these events in the past that they provide the area with tens of millions of dollars in economic stimulus and short-term employment for locals over the period of the festival.”

The Mayor of Colac Otway Shire Council, Cr Chris Potter weighed in.

“Council approved the issue of a permit for a Falls music festival near Birregurra and was looking forward to the social, cultural and economic benefits that a major event brings to the region,” Potter notes.

“We are disappointed that Secret Sounds has had to withdraw from the VCAT process at this time, but look forward to continuing to work with them on future opportunities.”

Falls began life in 1993, with a small, single-day concert in Lorne, Victoria, named Rock Above The Falls.

The event expanded to a two-day format in 1995 and, the following year, rebranded to The Falls Music & Arts Festival.

In 2003, the show hit the road, with simultaneous shows in Lorne, and at Marion Bay, Tasmania. A decade later, in 2013, the Byron Bay edition of the event was introduced. The Tasmania event was scrapped in 2021 after 17 years due to the cost of producing the show.


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