Well, not quite. But it rained hard in Byron on Friday, so hard that the festival site got flooded and the entire day had to be cancelled! Some of the evening events were still held in town, and the ABC Radio sessions were moved from their tent into the restaurant, but the rest of the panels and In Conversations were unfortunately called off.
And it was freezing! Dark, pouring with rain, and all around a very disappointing day.
I know some people have called Northern Rivers Writers Centre asking for refunds for their missing day, and were probably fairly frustrated when they were told they couldn’t have one. But I spoke to one of the festival coordinators later on, and she told me all their funds – ticket sales, sponsorship – are funnelled straight into the festival infrastructure, and if they refunded everything, the festival would cease to exist. As it is, most of their guests and panellists don’t get fees for their appearences. A lot of non-profit organisations operate this way; budgets are tight, and they simply don’t have the financial padding to refund tickets if you change your mind or something happens to disrupt a planned event. So perhaps it’s best to consider Friday’s ticket price a donation to ensure next year’s festival, and leave it that?