Mercury rises at Byron Bay Falls Festival
HOT and humid conditions saw Falls Festival 2016/17 fans swelter as the mercury soared at the North Byron Parklands over New Year's.
Some 16,000 revellers who attended the sold out event were left to find creative ways to cool down as temperatures reached 36C before rain arrived on Monday.
Kicking off on New Year's Eve with headliner Childish Gambino, who followed legendary DJ Grandmaster Flash's homage to the late George Michael, outfit-clad revellers flocked to catch the 2017 countdown stage side.
New Year's day brought no reprieve from the heat and despite a large crowd on hand to see the return of the Jezabels, who cancelled their 2016 national tour while frontwoman Heather Shannon was treated for ovarian cancer, many festival goers left in droves for the beach.
Despite the heat and transporting thousands of punters to and from the beach, Festival Director Brandon Saul said movement to and from the site had worked well this year.
"With the hot weather, our patrons have been keen to go to the beach to cool off and many have taken advantage of the regular shuttle buses,” Mr Saul said.
Mr Saul said organisers had put a lot of effort into keeping people cool and hydrated, including adding the Palm Springs pool area for this year's festival which had been immensely popular along with other heat safety measures.
"The 12 pool water park has been a huge hit as well as the numerous shaded venues with a variety of entertainment including the Forest Stage - a huge big top surrounded by trees,” he said.
"There are free water refill stations, roving volunteers with back pack water sprayers and we have been handing out water and sunblock at the main stage.”
Jayde Baker, Madeline Stocks, Steve Tomlinson and Tayla Davis, who made the trek up from the Central Coast, were just one group cooling down at Palm Springs on Sunday.
"It's been super hot in the tents in the mornings, so it's nice to have a dip,” Miss Baker said.
"It's still a little warm in the pool but it's still really good.”
While the Byron event was incident-free despite cases of heat-stroke, three girls were sexually assaulted at Falls' Tasmania leg in Marion Bay and 60 people were injured in a crowd crush on Friday at Victoria's event in Lorne.
To avoid similar issues with overcrowding as fans depart the site, Falls' organisers changed the exit strategy for this year.
Mr Saul said the focus was on making punters' departures a non-issue, not only within North Byron Parklands but around the venue.
He said the road was sealed from the old Pacific Highway to the site and a two-lane roundabout at the Billinudgel interchange was constructed among other measures.
Australian music icon Bernard Fanning and the UK's London Grammar headlined the final day of the festival on Monday.