Melbourne punters looking forward to this year’s Harvest Festival already have high expectations following comments from Festival boss AJ Maddah making promises to amends the inaugural event at Melbourne’s Werribee Park that saw an obscure alcohol ticketing system, understaffed food tents, and severe queueing for toilets marring an otherwise splendid debut.
To make amends, Harvest organisers introduced the Foundation Program, which along with other features, allows punters to choose to attend either of the Saturday 10th or Sunday 11th dates for November’s Harvest 2012.
Following the announcement of the timetables (and our handy guide to navigating some of the major clashes to catch the majority of the great acts on offer), more bad news has stricken the music festival, with news that there will be no trains running on the weekend of Harvest to help transport the proposed 12,000 strong sell-out crowd.
As FasterLouder points out, the timetables and information for Harvest’s Melbourne leg in Werribee Park states that: “There will be no trains running to Werribee on the weekend (metro or V-Line) due to massive line upgrade works that cannot be rescheduled.”
Public Transport Victoria has flagged the proposed disruptions since September, notifying that the network would be “undergoing a significant maintenance and renewal program” that includes “new concrete sleepers, new overhead wires, new and upgraded sub-stations to power more train services, and major train and tram track upgrades.”
An extensive overhaul that means that the trains will simply not be available for Melbourne’s Harvest Festival weekend.
As an alternative, Public Transport Victoria will be replacing the trains with bus services that will stop all stations to the event, while the local bus service that stops at Werribee station will also go on to the festival site at Werribee Park’s mansion.
Harvest organisers are hoping to stem the problem by offering their own free express bus service from Footscray station to the event, leaving every 30 minutes between 10.30am and 3pm, operating on a ‘first come first served’ basis, promoters warning fans that a short wait may be required.
A return service to Flinders Street Station is also available at the end of the day after you’ve exhausted yourself on the musical delights of Beck, Grizzly Bear, Santigold, and Sigur Ros.
Of course, parking and chartered buses are also available to make it to the event, but it’s an understatement to say that a large portion of the some 12,000 attendees would have relied on the train to make their way to the event; and despite the efforts made, it certainly seems like a remarkable lack of organisation on behalf of Festival.
Responding to understandably disgruntled and upset fans on their Facebook page, AJ Maddah writes that the train services “have little concern” for the needs of Harvest Festival or its many punters.
“The works are planned 9-12 months in advance from what I understand and the dates are not negotiable, nor do they check what impact it will have on the line. We seem to have the same issue with Soundwave in Sydney almost every year,” writes Maddah.
If the works are indeed planned a year ahead, surely Maddah and his team could have looked into it as part of booking and organising their festival, as many will see the lack of foresight as a breach of trust after organisers acknowledged the problems of last year’s Harvest as “a source of deep embarrassment.”
With Maddah’s co-promoter, Declan Forde declaring in June of the vendor organisation and teething problems that “there’s not a whole lot I can say other than to promise that it won’t happen again… we’re very conscious that we’ll be forgiven once for mistakes but we won’t be forgiven again for something like that.”
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