Pyramid Rock Festival apologises
Mon 4th Jan, 2010 Newsin
The headline acts cancelled after an electrical storm hit Pyramid Rock Festival have issued a statement to their fans. The statements from Empire of The Sun, Grinspoon, The Butterfly Effect and the festival’s organisers are included here in full.
Empire of The Sun’s Luke Steele says “We did everything in our power to ensure that the show would go ahead but in the end we just couldn’t compete with Mother Nature. We’d like to extend our sincerest apologies to all the fans who waited. Our thoughts are with everyone who was caught in the storm.”
Empire of The Sun – management says “Empire of The Sun would like to extend its sincerest apologies for not being able to perform at the Pyramid Rock Festival 2009. Empire were due to hit main-stage minutes before midnight but earlier in the evening (at approximately 8.30pm) the stage was closed due to severe storms. The band stayed on site until after 2am and looked at all alternative possibilities; agreeing to perform on a smaller stage that was still open. At one stage this looked like it would go ahead, however, after consulting with security, the promoters, rightly decided that this would present too great a security risk to the audience so this option was cancelled.
Grinspoon’s Phil Jamieson states that “Due to the unfortunate storm we were unable to perform at the Pyramid Festival this New Years Eve. We were there & ready to play but after discussion with the festival organisers and on-site emergency services experts a consensus decision was made that it was deemed unsafe. Our thoughts go out to all those that were effected by the storms on NYE.”
The Butterfly Effect “would like to convey a sincere apology for being unable to perform at the Pyramid Rock festival. The band were ready to take the stage, but were unable to do so after a severe storm resulted in the closure of the main stage. Despite best efforts from the band (who remained on site for many hours after) and the Pyramid organisers to continue, the damage was so severe and posed a risk to the band and fans alike. There was no option but to cease operation. The Butterfly Effect band members would like to thank loyal fans and lovers of live music for waiting patiently after enduring such extreme weather. The Butterfly Effect have vowed to tour later in the year, check the band’s Websites in ensuing weeks for details.”
Organisers hope that despite patrons missing the last four acts on the Main Stage that they were still able to take away some positive memories of their overall experience at Pyramid 09. However, In accordance with Terms and Conditions of sale and entry which are available on the festival website no refunds will be issued and we ask that people reflect on an exceptionally unfortunate situation for all parties that we have all endured together; and be thankful that we were in fact spared from any far worse scenario.
The organisers would like to take this opportunity to address many of the comments and concerns from the media and festival patrons as to the actions taken by the organisers in regards to the events of the night.
This included the ability to be able to conduct a New Years countdown at midnight; the ongoing performance of four of the scheduled artists; & the organisers desire to keep the crowd informed as to the ongoing emergency and their efforts to control the resultant situation. We would like to reiterate that our actions were dictated first and foremost with the personal safety of all attendees in mind.
Organisers regret that they were prohibited in their capacity and desire to safely communicate with the crowd from the Main Stage after the storm had ripped through and disabled lighting and audio systems.
The storm took out the Main Stage core systems which resulted in dangerous electrical leakage and shortages. One channel was deemed safe and made available for DJ use, and the house lights gave electricians and stage technicians the ability to work on making the stage area safe. Unfortunately a small segment of the crowd was making working conditions dangerous and near impossible for staff and patrons, seriously disrupting our ability and desire to deliver the necessary information to the crowd. This situation was extremely disappointing.
The intensity of the storm was not forecast until a few hours before it happened. Pyramid has safely ridden out storms and adverse weather conditions in the past; however this was unlike any storm seen locally for many years. Damaging winds up to 100kmph we’re recorded from the main stage and with intense lightning strikes around the festival grounds organisers were faced with a serious emergency situation which necessitated all emergency plans and procedures to be implemented.
This was an extreme situation that presented many risks including possible fatalities, which thankfully didn’t eventuate.
Along with on site emergency services including Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria, the Country Fire Authority and St John Ambulance, as well as the artists involved, organisers implemented the onsite “Emergency Co-ordination Centre” before the storm hit.
The emergency response plan included evacuating the Pharaoh’s Annex and the Main Bar during the lightning storm until these structures were deemed safe and reopened. The Pharaoh’s Annex continued operating until 5.30am on 01 January 2010. The Main Bar was structurally damaged during the storm and was quickly repaired to be reopened approximately thirty minutes after the storm had passed.
Mal McCann, the Station Officer for Ambulance Victoria responded that “At the end of the day the overriding decisions that were made were all based on safety. Although there may be some disappointment among music lovers at the festival we are confident and pleased with the decision making processes of organisers and emergency services personnel.
Emergency response plans were in place and were adjusted successfully in accordance with the realities that we were facing. Due to the ability to successfully enact response plans everybody came away from the situation safe.”
Organisers are regretful and feeling devastated that the storm destroyed staging systems which prevented any further entertainment from the Main Stage and that multiple circumstances made it impossible for us to deliver a safe show that would include the four remaining acts. We can confirm that everything within the organiser’s power was being done to protect patrons, entertainers and staff while working tirelessly on solutions to restore the show to the Main Stage or move headliners to the Pharaoh’s Annex.
Until this freak event the festival was running smoothly and to schedule, ultimately delivering a total of 53 out of 58 advertised acts plus segue deejays and roving entertainers. The festival wasn’t cancelled and many of the headline acts including, Cat Power, The Cat Empire, Regurgitator, Architecture in Helsinki, The Beautiful Girls, Bluejuice and others played to a positive and responsive audience.
Work has already commenced on the next Pyramid Rock Festival. The organisers and staff remain as committed to the positive ideals of the festival as ever and look forward to a bigger, better Pyramid Rock Festival 2010.