UPDATE - 1pm
Sunset Events, the organisers of Southbound, have released a series of updates this morning, thanking the public for their support and understanding of the situation. A system will be setup where part or their entire ticket refund can be donated to those affected by the fires. In addition, excess food that is currently on site will be offered to firefighters and residents.
Part of the campground is still open however with tents, showers and toilet facilities being offered to the emergency services as temporary accommodation.
Sad news coming through, and that is the news that Southbound, which was due to be held in Busselton, has been cancelled due to road safety risks that have been caused by the bushfires that are currently affecting Waroona and Harvey.
This has impacted roads leading to and from Busselton, as well as an alternative route that was proposed by organisers earlier on Thursday, which would've seen revellers go through the town of Collie, east of Busselton.
Due to how quickly the situation has developed, Southbound organisers have had no time to relocate, something which Falls Festival in Victoria were able to manage after the town of Lorne was also impacted by severe fires.
Southbound released a statement late Thursday night, which in part reads:
It is with great regret that we have to announce the cancellation of Southbound 2016, due to the fire situation in the festivals surrounding areas. After ongoing communications and information provided from the West Australian Police, Main Roads Department and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, we have no option but to cancel this year’s event. We cannot compromise patron safety and proceed knowing people’s lives are at risk getting to the event.
The only alternate route given both main highways are closed is now compromised. The alternative access to the event communicated earlier today is now only open for essential travel. As of news recently to hand festival patrons are now not able to use this road leaving us with no access to the festival site.
“Everyone on site is absolutely devastated as we were working so hard to bring the best Southbound yet. Please understand at this time we will be extremely busy dealing with the cancellation and our thoughts are with those in danger due to the nearby fire.” David Chitty, Director.
In regards to refunds, ticket holders are being advised to hang tight until Wednesday 13th January for instructions, however the festival has assured patrons that they will receive full refunds.
Murdoch University, who have student volunteers on site to help with audio equipment and the festival radio station, have said on Facebook that they are contacting their volunteers to advise them of the cancellation and to check on their safety.
As for the current and ongoing bushfire situation, DFES has issued an emergency warning for those in Waroona, Preston Beach, Harvey, Wagerup, Yarloop and Cookernup. At this stage, no homes have been lost, however ABC News is reporting that power has been lost to around 7,000 homes, and the fire has burnt through 29,000 hectares. The latest information regarding alerts and warnings is available at the DFES Alerts website.
Our thoughts are with those fighting the fires, and for residents who are affected. Do remain safe if you are affected, and we'll let you know any ways you can help out when we get the information.