The first night of Vanfest 2017 had anticipation for the music festival high.
Thousands of festival-goers arrived in Forbes on Friday from all over the country, with warnings that a severe weather system was on the way.
A storm hit just before the gates were due to open, but the show went on, with Keefy, Manalion and Akuou opening the festival.
Muto, Yahtzel and Luke Million took the party into the evening before ARIA-award winning Amy Shark took the stage as the rain started to pour again.
Cosmos Midnight, Carmada and Discovery rounded out an incredible night of live music at Forbes Showgrounds.
This is the fourth year Vanfest has run in Forbes and it has been growing in popularity, founder Matt Clifton said.
Nearly 6000 people were expected at the showgrounds on Friday night – the biggest Friday night of the festival’s four years.
Unfortunately storms and rain – with the forecast of more rain - caused organisers to cancel the second night of the festival.
Forbes Shire Council issued the following on Monday …
Forbes Shire Council and site staff have been commended for their efforts to ensure the safety of people attending Vanfest after up to 100mm of torrential rain fell on the town on Friday and Saturday.
Council staff were quick to act and brought in heavy equipment to move vehicles bogged and blocked by the rapidly rising water.
Forbes Shire Council Mayor, Graeme Miller, praised site staff and Council employees who acted quickly to provide assistance at the Vanfest site.
Graeme Miller said the cancellation of the event was extremely disappointing but was the only decision that could be made from a safety perspective.
It was made with extensive consultation with emergency services, organisers and senior Council staff.
“Safety was the primary concern as the site was completely awash with large swathes of water pooling on the grounds,” he said. “Even after the deluge of rain stopped the ongoing electrical and safety issues continued to be of concern.”
It has been confirmed several of the performers were not able to attend the festival after the Parkes airport was closed.
“We are extremely disappointed, the extraordinary weather event ruined the chance for a safe event,” Mayor Miller said.
“Even more disappointing as it was the first festival under Council’s stewardship. How the town rallied to help out guests and visitors to our town was, as always, commendable. Council and the community’s quick response to the safety concerns are the positive that came out a weekend that had been shaping up to the biggest Vanfest since its establishment.”
Ticketbooth will be releasing details on refunds in the coming days.
Mayor Miller said performances staged outside of Vanfest were not organised or facilitated by Council.
Once Vanfest was cancelled on Saturday, the festival ceased to exist for 2017 and other events in town were in no way associated with Council or will have any impact on ticket refunds.