Bushfire Hits Rainbow Serpent Site – Updates Here

Update- 19:00 Monday, 20 January

The wait is over and while the lack of information has been rough on all we Rainbow faithful, spare a thought (and a coldie) for the crew.

They’ve been through the ringer trying to make good on their promise to deliver a one-day extravaganza on 25 January but, apparently, have had several plans fall through at the last minute through, again, absolutely no fault of their own.

We can only imagine what has gone on behind the scenes and our hearts go out to the crew who have given us 22 of the absolute best years and need our support now.

Rainbow have failed in their bid to create a singular, one-day city festival so will be refunding everyone’s ticket money and producing multiple events across the city next weekend instead. Rainbow tribe will need to purchase new tickets for the events they choose to attend.

Regen Rainbow will happen over Easter in the usual Rainbow Serpent format with a fresh lineup. Tickets for this event will go on sale soon.


Full details of next weekends round of events are:

Sun 26th Jan (day party) – Welcome to Rainbow – Atish, bayawaka, Ed Solo, JFB, K+Lab, La fleur, Oona Dahl, Pig & Dan, Saqi, Slynk, Somatoast, Spoonbill, Stickybuds, Tara Brooks, YokoO and more @ Welcome to Thornbury

Sun 26th Jan (night) – Day Din, James Monro, Dekel @ LaDiDa

Sun 26th Jan (night) – John Monkman, Marco Bailey, Ø Phase @ XE54

Sun 26th Jan (night) – Welcome to Rainbow After Party @ 24 moons, details to be announced

Fri 31st Jan – Rainbow Serpent and Hardware presents: Infected Mushroom @ Chasers

Sat 1st Feb – Rainbow Serpent Boat Party – James Monro, John Monkman, Kasey Taylor

Tickets are available through Eventbrite.

Half Wild’s understanding is the Rainbow crew need your support now more than ever. The festival has been life-changing for so many of us over two decades. If you’ve ever had a moment at any Rainbow that you’re thankful for then now is the time to show your appreciation.

So pick an event (or two or three) and grab your tickets-  because it’s as one heart and one tribe that we all succeed or fail together. And we just don’t think failure should be an option!

Rainbow Serpent’s announcement in full:

We’re sure you’ve all been wondering what has happened to our Urban Edition venue announcement and further details following the bushfire and postponement of our regular Rainbow gathering in Lexton this year.

Despite the best efforts of our hard working crew and exhausting every avenue, we have not been able to get the required approvals to secure a suitable venue for our one day Urban Edition of RSF2020.

While we progressed to the final stages for a couple of venues, with contracts being prepared in one case, for reasons out of our control all options ultimately fell through.

Eventbrite will automatically refund all RSF2020 tickets purchased through the Eventbrite platform. Refunds will be processed this week, please allow 10-14 business days for the funds to appear on your statement.

This includes people previously requesting no refund or partial refunds. We appreciate some of you were prepared to not request refunds – but now that things have changed so much the best thing to do is to refund everybody and make a fresh start.

If you have have hardcopy tickets please email tickets@rainbowserpent.net with the subject line ‘hardcopy tickets’.

The good news is, Rainbow is taking over the city with an impressive number of the original headline acts you have been looking forward to in venues all around Melbourne. Come together, catch up with old friends, make new ones and get a fix of the Rainbow spirit to tide you over until our Regen Edition of Rainbow over Easter.

Please show your support and book tickets for as many of these events as possible and tell your friends to come too!

Sun 26th Jan (day party) – Welcome to Rainbow – Atish, bayawaka, Ed Solo, JFB, K+Lab, La fleur, Oona Dahl, Pig & Dan, Saqi, Slynk, Somatoast, Spoonbill, Stickybuds, Tara Brooks, YokoO and more @ Welcome to Thornbury
Sun 26th Jan (night) – Day Din, James Monro, Dekel @ LaDiDa
Sun 26th Jan (night) – John Monkman, Marco Bailey, Ø Phase @ XE54
Sun 26th Jan (night) – Welcome to Rainbow After Party @ 24 moons, details to be announced
Fri 31st Jan – Rainbow Serpent and Hardware presents: Infected Mushroom @ Chasers
Sat 1st Feb – Rainbow Serpent Boat Party – James Monro, John Monkman, Kasey Taylor

Get your tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/o/rainbow-serpent-festival-68…

Regen Edition Tickets will be on sale soon.

We really need your support to help to rebuild and recover, especially with infrastructure and art onsite. There will be donate options for local Lexton community support, Wildlife Victoria and if you are able, please support our path to rebuilding as well. Please check the boxes as generously as you are able.



Update- 22:00 Thursday, 08 January

Organisers have announced that Rainbow, as we know it, will not be this year. But before you dive into that tub of depression curing choc chip ice cream, you should know they’re  making up for it by giving us TWO Rainbows instead!

The team are planning a multi-stage, one-day urban event somewhere in Melbourne on 26 January (venue TBA) AND a festival at their beloved home over the Easter weekend.

Hats off to the professionalism of the Rainbow team for providing a solution that is considerate of everyone involved from the local community and CFA to ticketholders and countless people still going through a bushfire crisis with seemingly no end.

It’s a classy resolution following what must have been a very stressful few weeks at Rainbow HQ. We can only imagine the work going on behind the scenes and now they’re going to pull off a major event from scratch in just over two weeks. If anyone can do it, we trust it to be this stellar team of industry superstars.

Current ticket holders will automatically have access to both planned events or will be eligible for a full or partial refund if they can’t make either or both.

Organisers say most of the current headline acts will appear at the urban event and lineup details will be made clear over the next week.

No matter who appears at which event, though, the Half Wild team will be out in full support for the events that will also incorporate fundraising efforts for bushfire victims. If there is any time for our community to band together to party for a cause, then surely this must be it.

Read their full facebook statement below.

Firstly, we’d like to thank the Rainbow community for your incredible patience during these stressful times. No one could have predicted the intensity of the fires we’ve witnessed around the country over the last two weeks and it’s been a sobering experience for us all.

During this time, our key stakeholders have been busy using their expertise where they are needed the most. Particularly, the CFA. We’re certain you understand that we’ve not wanted to divert their attention from the ongoing situation to meet with us and this has rightfully caused delays with getting the necessary people together.

It hasn’t been an easy decision to know what is the right path forward – as much as we all love RSF, the health and safety of patrons and crew is our number one priority. This is key to any decisions made and of course, we always consider our impact and commitment to the land and the local community.

This morning we undertook a meeting and inspection onsite with the CFA, Victoria Police, Forest Fire Management Victoria and Pyrenees Council staff. Due to a number of safety concerns stemming from the fire that affected the site and the wider bushfire impacts across the country, it was agreed that holding RSF over the scheduled weekend in Lexton simply isn’t the right thing to do.

But the good news is Rainbow Serpent Festival 2020 will still go ahead!!
In chaos lies opportunity and we invite our extended Rainbow family to join us for two very special events we feel will honour the gravity of the fires, assist the local community and give us double the opportunity to celebrate the Rainbow Serpent spirit.

The two events will be treated as Rainbow Serpent Festival 2020 with your tickets gaining entry to both.

The show goes on!

Event 1: Rainbow Serpent Festival – Urban Edition
Sunday, January 26 – Melbourne CBD

Multiple stages hosting the majority of special guest performers from the original lineup. There is still quite a lot of work to do to rearrange schedules and travel arrangements so please bear with us for a couple of days before confirming these details.

Event 2: Rainbow Serpent Festival 2020 – Regen Edition
Easter Weekend, Lexton Victoria

A special multi-day event on site during the Easter long weekend, showcasing the best that Rainbow has to offer!

This event is important for the rebuilding of the local communities that were directly impacted by the fires and boosting their local economy. As well as your Rainbow favourites, we’ll be hosting a number of community related events including tree planting, a community working bee and the delayed opening of the Servo@23 Arts Hub.

We’re looking into how we can best use these events to drive a community fundraising effort for the bushfires and will confirm those details in the coming days.

We understand these dates and changes may not work for everybody and further details will be announced on Friday 10th of January on our social media and website as to how you can obtain a full or partial refund if you are not able to attend all or one of the new events.

We ask everyone to please be sympathetic to the needs and wellbeing of the broader community at this time but also the incredible strain our crew are currently experiencing in trying to work towards an outcome that is acceptable, enjoyable and safe.

By supporting us and attending both these events you are helping to secure the future of Rainbow Serpent Festival and our continued work in partnership with the Pyrenees Community.


Update- 14:00 Monday, 23 December

Organisers have issued an additional media release about the current situation. The release in full:

An out of control bushfire hit the Rainbow Serpent Festival site late Friday afternoon, with organisers confirming there were no staff casualties but damage was sustained to the grounds and some permanent event infrastructure.

Organisers say they need a week to assess the damage and consult stakeholders and safety experts  before coming to a final decision about the format of the planned 2020 festival but are still hopeful the event will take place in some form. They have suspended festival ticket sales until a final decision is made.

“While it will take some days to assess the full extent of the damage, our focus is also on our neighbours, community and the local fauna and flora whose losses are more significant than ours. 

“The local community, and communities around the country, are bearing a much greater burden than the festival as a result of bushfires. 

We’ve been overwhelmed with concern and generosity from our patrons wanting to provide assistance to those in need and will be in touch over the coming days to advise how they can help,” said Mr. Harvey.

CFA units from the region attended the blaze and, alongside festival site crew, are responsible for saving most of the event’s infrastructure according to festival spokesperson, Tim Harvey.

“Words alone can’t adequately express our gratitude for the courageous CFA volunteer crews, other emergency services and Rainbow Serpent team members who worked together through the night to save most of the infrastructure and buildings on the site,” he said.

The fire burned through 2,000 hectares with an evacuation order issued for the town of Lexton, 4kms from the festival site, on Friday evening and is still active but with no current threat to communities according to the Vic Emergency website.

The festival is scheduled to take place over the January long weekend and organisers will be in touch with all ticket holders in a week to confirm any changes to the event’s operation. Fans are also advised to check social media for updates.

Update- 13:00 Monday, 23 December

Organisers are suspending sales of festival tickets for one week as they continue to assess the damage and consult with stakeholders about the future of the 2020 event.

They said in Facebook post that most of the sites’s buildings and infrastructure have been saved and they are still hopeful the festival can continue as planned.

Any decision to cancel would be based around concerns regarding the safety of patrons and crew.

The image below was taken on Saturday and shows the extent of damage to the site.

Meanwhile, organisers are preparing to mobilise the Rainbow tribe to help and are asking people interested in contributing to sign up on their website to receive communications about how they can assist.

All ticket holders will be emailed today with further information and contacted again in one week when a decision has been made about the 2020 festival.

Update- 16:30 Sunday, 22 December

Organisers have said they’re still assessing the damage to the festival site and would prefer everyone’s focus to remain on the wider Lexton community in a statement just released on Facebook.

They thanked the CFA and members of their site crew who apparently saved most of the event’s infrastructure and buildings in the blaze on Friday night. This makes us hopeful, at Half Wild, that an event will go ahead over the January long weekend.

We have all fingers and toes crossed for that to happen, not just for the festival community but the local towns of Lexton and Beaufort, whose business owners rely on the income received from the influx of patrons every January.

Organisers have said they will issue a longer statement regarding the future of the 2020 festival within 24 hours.

Their Facebook post said:

We will issue a longer statement in the next 24 hours but, in the meantime, want to express our gratitude for the brave CFA volunteers and our site crew who battled and saved much of the festival’s infrastructure on Friday night. Heroes all 🙏

Right now, we wish to focus on our neighbours and the local community, who have lost so much more than we. Homes, stock, livelihoods and local wildlife. Our hearts are breaking for them 💔

We’re coming up with a plan for the Rainbow community to help so please standby for announcements.

We appreciate all of your offers of assistance but ask, again, that nobody travel to the area. Fire is still active and safety is a concern.

We love you tribe. Thanks for your amazing support ❤️


Update- 12:00 Sunday, 22 December

Half Wild has been advised that members of the Rainbow Serpent crew worked alongside CFA crews on Friday night to save much of the festival infrastructure and buildings on site.

This image has been doing the rounds on social media, showing the extent of danger they faced as the fire bore down on them from the adjacent forest.

There are reports of significant losses to neighbouring farms, with homes and stock lost in the blaze that is still burning through the local region. Currently, the threat to communities has eased but the situation may change and residents are advised to keep watching conditions.

Update- 09:00 Sunday 22 December

We’ve been informed organisers are preparing to make a statement about the future of the 2020 festival later today. Meanwhile, the Ararat CFA who attended the blaze has posted this video on their Facebook page of the emergency.

Lexton Fire 20/12/19

Yesterday we responded to a bush fire near Lexton, as part of strike team 1621 which was made up of 4 Tankers and the Ararat FCV.In this footage, taken from Ararat FCV which was used as a Strike Team Leaders’ vehicle, our strike team and others were tasked with asset protection at the Rainbow Serpent Festival Site.While this footage looks chaotic, with vehicles circling everywhere, this is process is fairly coordinated. The Strike Team Leaders vehicle circles around to check the assets on the property and to prioritise and delegate tasks to the tankers as required.In the end, we were told to evacuate this property as fire conditions worsened, and we were re-tasked along the Beaufort – Lexton Rd. We will also have some more videos in the coming days.(Parts of this video have been sped up and edited)

Posted by Ararat Fire Brigade on Friday, December 20, 2019


Update – 15:00 Saturday 21 December

Underground event workers are responding to yesterday’s event and the wider bushfire crisis the only way they know how: with a solid display of empathy and community-mindedness. As the bushfire news broke yesterday, a Facebook page for event staff was created to gauge interest in producing a charity event for firefighters around Australia.

That one event has turned into three to be held in Melbourne, Sydney and the Gold Coast as the page was overwhelmed with offers from the country’s top promoters, suppliers and artists.

At the time of writing, over 1,000 professionals had joined the Fire Aid- Music & Arts Support  Facebook page and admins are working on a method to organise everyone and receive the offers of donated time, goods, venues, music, arts and performance.

Our hearts are warmed by this turn of events at Half Wild but it comes as no surprise that our underground community and prepared to give everything they can to the most worthy of causes.

If you’re an industry professional and would like to contribute, please click the link above and follow page admin’s instructions for registering your interest.



Update – 12:00 Saturday 21 December

An out of control bushfire hit the Rainbow Serpent Festival site late yesterday afternoon but organisers say they are still assessing the damage and it is too soon to make definitive statements about the future of the 2020 event.

Organisers confirmed with Half Wild that all site crew are safe.

An evacuation order was issued for the nearby town of Lexton late last night that was downgraded to a watch and act warning early this morning for the fire that has currently burned through 2,000 hectares.

In a statement on their Facebook page this morning, organisers begged people to stay away from the region for safety reasons.

This does not mean the situation is over. The region is still in danger with a huge fire still active, trees falling and visibility low from smoke. Road closures are in place and under no circumstances should anyone travel to the area.”

Last night, organisers said their greatest concern was for that of the local communities and wildlife.

You may have heard there is a current bushfire emergency near the Rainbow site and an expected wind change may push the fire toward the Lexton township and many local families we’ve grown to love later this evening. Our primary concern is for the safety of our local communities, wildlife and the incredibly brave CFA units currently battling to protect them all.”

Organisers are currently on site assessing the damage and are expected to issue additional statements later today.

Our understanding is that should the festival be cancelled, everyone will be entitled to a full refund. Half Wild remain in contact with organisers and will update this story as more details come to light.

@peepso_user_148(Kitty Forest) Couldn't agree more, Phil. Heart is breaking for the Lexton community right now.

No heroes wear capes. They wear PPE and carry fire hoses instead