Organisers of The Falls Festival have released a statement in relation to an incident that occurred on Friday December 30 at the Lorne site in which a number of festival-goers were hospitalised.
Falls Festival Co Producer Jessica Ducrou said that: “With over 20 years of experience running festivals behind us, we are completely devastated by the crowd crush that occurred with patrons exiting The Grand Theatre, and we are beyond shattered that a number of our festival patrons were injured and impacted by this event.
We care so very much about your experience at Falls, we spend countless hours planning the Falls Festival year-round, with dedicated teams specifically focused on each event site. Patron safety is of paramount importance to us and having to address such a serious situation is very distressing for all. Despite 24 years of successful operation of Falls Lorne, a confluence of events resulted in a serious incident that will require an investigation into the various contributing factors which will take some weeks to determine, but please be assured it is our utmost priority.
We are currently trying to make contact with any patrons who were injured, but for privacy reasons we are unable to access patient names and records. For those of you affected, we would ask you to message us via
[email protected] or our Falls Facebook page www.facebook.com/fallsfestival, so we can get in touch with you.
To those that were affected, on behalf of The Falls Festival, we would like to apologise and let you know that we are deeply upset by this incident and your experience.”
Ducrou also stated that organisers wanted to clear up misinformation that has been appearing in the media.
“Patron safety is paramount to Falls,” she stated, “we spend a lot of time engaging with local authorities, emergency services, on a local and State level, specialist consultants, local and State Council and various other community services to ensure we are offering the safest environment for our patrons. Thanks to the level planning and support from those parties, The Falls Festival in Lorne has had an impeccable safety record for the past 24 years.”
Ducrou also noted that:
• There were 15 security guards stationed at the Grand Theatre stage at the time of the incident, who responded along with a number of event staff as soon as the situation became apparent.
• The Grand Theatre programming was immediately suspended on Friday night, amendments were made to the area before programming resumed on the 31st.
• A number of years ago a permanent 23m x 12m medical structure was built on the site to make patrons who needed medical attention as comfortable as possible and provide medical staff with a safe, reliable, robust, working space.
• This is located a 100m walk From the Grand Theatre
• Falls has staff numbers on site from Ambulance VIC and Event Medical Services Australia, that sits beyond the resources recommended by the services, all of which is paid for directly by the festival. We also have user pays Police and Event Fire Services Australia resources always on site.
• Teams from the Salvation Army are also on hand at all times to assist patrons. • We implemented a comprehensive communications strategy on site to our patrons and also to the public, that was fully supported by Craig Lapsley – Emergency Management Commissioner.”
Ducrou ended the statement by stating: “There will be a full debrief of the incident and an investigation into what the causes were which will update you all on, as soon as we have that outcome.”