HOLDING the Falls Festival at Splendour in the Grass's Yelgun site will help solve issues with New Year's Eve that have plagued Byron Bay for years, Byron Mayor Simon Richardson has said.
In what appears to be a win-win for festival-goers and the Byron community, The Northern Star yesterday revealed organisers of the Falls Festival planned to hold an event at the Byron Parklands site at Yelgun from December 31 to January 3.
The Falls Festival has been running in Lorne, Victoria for 21 years and in Marion Bay, Tasmania since 2003.
Cr Richardson said having a major event outside of the township of Byron Bay would address a lot of the issues that have been raised about what to do about New Year's Eve revellers.
"We have had a Summer and New Year's Eve working group looking at taking the heat out of the town," Cr Richardson said.
"This will satisfy the over-18 years crowd and the people from southern Queensland and we will have a youth event at the YAC (Youth Activities Centre).
"In the town itself we will have something very low key and family friendly; we'll make the streets look beautiful, maybe fireworks and finish at 9.30 and put something on for those who don't just want to drink all night."
Cr Richardson said prior to the Falls Festival, Lorne also experi- enced a huge influx of people and a lot of drunken behaviour.
"It used to be tough as guts there. It really has transformed Lorne (on NYE)," he said.
Cr Richardson said the Falls organisers had originally wanted to hold the Byron Parklands event from January 4, but listened to his concerns and were happy to accommodate.
They are also contributing financially to the Byron New Year's Eve celebrations (a figure of $25,000 was mentioned), may contribute a DJ or two to the YAC event, and have agreed to prioritise local people for casual employment.
"They could have done it anyway. The Yelgun site has an approval for three events during the trial period. They didn't have to change dates but they were happy to keep the dialogue open to get a better outcome for Byron," Cr Richardson said.
"I think it's great for the shire and I appreciate that they listened to my concerns and support what we are doing."
Full information on all legs of The Falls Music and Arts Festival will be announced over the coming weeks on the festival's website: fallsfestival.com.au.