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Bushfire impacted Rainbow Serpent Festival to be reborn
With its site having been impacted by pre-Christmas bushfires, the organisers of the Rainbow Serpent Festival in Victoria have pledged that the event will continue, but not as a summer event.
Due to be held in the western Victorian country town of Lexton from 24th to 27th January, Rainbow Serpent was one of several summer events - including Lost Paradise in NSW and the Falls Festival event at Lorne - cancelled because of bushfire impacts.
The bushfire that swept through the site on 20th December has led the organisers to consider permanently moving the popular three day dance music event to Easter
Jayne Briody, co-owner of the property that hosts the Festival told the ABC that the event is too dangerous to be held in summer, explaining “from a landowner perspective, the Festival will never run in January again.
"What happened on 20th December was an eye-opener, and I hate to think what would happen if the Rainbow Serpent festival was running when that happened."
Residents of the small farming community were evacuated just five days before Christmas as a massive bushfire swept through the town.
Briody's farm was among those hit, though she thanks her lucky stars it wasn't worse.
She commented “a good 50 to 60% of the Rainbow Serpent area was burned.
"Basically, all the campground and all the event area was destroyed by fire and a lot of trees had to be removed due to safety concerns."
Briody said she was lucky that no stock was lost during the fire but the surrounding land held scars, adding “until we get decent rain to suppress the dust and ash ... it'll probably take a winter season to get it back to how it should be."
Rather than cancel the 2020 event, the organisers now plan to stage it in two editions.
An ‘Urban Edition’ will be held in Melbourne of 26th January hosting the majority of special guest performers from the original Lexton lineup.
Details of this will be announced in the coming days.
The second event will see the Rainbow Serpent Festival return to Lexton over the Easter long weekend, with organisers saying it will be “showcasing the best that Rainbow has to offer!”
Speaking to triple j's Hack on Thursday, organiser Tim Harvey said he and others were "actively considering" permanently moving next year's Festival to Easter.
According to USA-based industry publication Pollstar, the current bushfire crisis may well permanently impact Australia’s festival sector.
Images: A helicopter view of the Rainbow Serpent Festival site at Lexton on 20th December (top, courtesy of State Control Centre Media) and the site in the aftermath of the bushfire (below, courtesy of the Rainbow Serpent Festival).
10th January 2020 - Sport and venues rally to back bushfire relief
9th January 2020 - Bushfires have massive impact on Australian tourism industry
8th January 2020 - Sydney Festival show cancelled due to bushfires and poor air quality
7th January 2020 - Bushfires destroy Selwyn Snow Resort
6th January 2020 - TEG to stage benefit concert for bushfire relief at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium
2nd January 2020 - Thousands urged to flee NSW South Coast ahead of horror fire weekend
29th December 2019 - Falls Festival at Lorne cancelled due to extreme weather conditions
12th December 2019 - Bushfire fears leads to cancellation of NSW Central Coast festival
6th February 2019 - Climate change set to impact Australia’s summer sporting calendar
31st January 2019 - Police say Rainbow Serpent Festival ‘hijacked’ by organised drug dealers
17th August 2016 - Eventbrite research shows Australians love festivals
16th January 2014 - Climate Council: Australian heatwaves more frequent, hotter and longer
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