A number of festival-goers who attended this year’s Splendour In The Grass have spoken out about a mysterious gas which was allegedly sprayed into a crowd at the Byron Bay event, leading some punters to experience temporary blindness and breathing problems.
Music Feeds has spoken with multiple Splendour-goers who say they were overcome by the spray early on Monday morning at the festival’s Tipi Forest stage (pictured), only a few hours after LCD Soundsystem’s headline set on the main Amphitheatre stage.
23-year-old Brooke Carter, who was at the Tipi Forest stage when the alleged incident occurred, says she was “half suffocated and blinded” by the mystery substance.
“I just remember hearing screams and I turned around to look behind me up at the hill and this thick cloud of white smoke was heading towards the Tipi Forest, and within seconds myself and people around me had breathed it in,” she says.
“I was lucky I had a scarf on at the time and wrapped it around my head, but by that time it was already stinging my eyes to the point I had tears streaming down my face, and it smelled toxic.
“Everyone around me was coughing, spluttering, running away and screaming. Luckily a friend found me seconds after, but informed me that she’d just fainted from inhaling too much of it and people around her had to pick her up and carry her out. It was chaotic.
“The only thing I could liken it to was as if someone had set off a fire extinguisher, but there was enough of it to disperse half the crowd at the Tipi Forest, so I’m not entirely sure what it could have been.”
Fellow festival-goer Harrison Judd says he gagged and felt sick after breathing in the substance.
“It burned — you could hardly breathe and I pretty much threw up. I was spitting for around five to 10 minutes after,” he says.
“It wasn’t a pleasant experience, it was almost like tear gas, or something to control a crowd like police would use.”
While some festival-goers have suggested the spray may have been tear gas, 23-year-old Owen Cooper says he witnessed two men release the contents of a small fire extinguisher into the crowd.
“I was on the hill watching the music at the Tipi Forest and these two blokes came up and knelt down, [and] they released the majority of the extinguisher at the back of Tipi into the air over the crowd and then made a quick exit.
“Soon after people dissipated around the area… but it was defiantly meant to be a prank and not intentionally harmful.”
A representative for Splendour In The Grass has told Music Feeds that the festival hasn’t received any reports from festival-goers or medical and security staff about the alleged incident.
Police were generally pleased with the behaviour of the 32,500 people at Splendour In The Grass this year, despite a number of charges being made for alleged drug possession and supply, fence jumping and assault.