Dramatic schedule change for Rainbow Serpent Festival amid fire damage and safety concerns

Lexton’s Rainbow Serpent Festival will not go ahead in its regular format after a multi- agency review found it could not be held safely due to last month’s bushfire, leaving local community groups without their usual major January fundraiser.

The event was scheduled to run over the Australia Day weekend from January 24-27 until a fire which broke out on December 20 around Mount Lonarch and the Ben Major State Forest destroyed parts of the festival site.

The fire burned through nearly 3000 hectares and came within around three kilometres of the Lexton township, affecting parts of the festival site’s facilities including the recycling centre, artworks and trees.

While the majority of the site’s infrastructure remains intact, a multi-agency review — including input from CFA, Victoria Police, Forest Fire Management Victoria, Rainbow Serpent Festival organisers and Pyrenees Shire Council representatives — last Thursday determined that the festival could not be safely held so soon after the fire, as there are further measures to be taken to mitigate hazards at the site.

However, the festival still plans to go ahead with two separate events.

The first event will be held on Sunday, January 26 in Melbourne’s CBD and the second will be a multi- day event held in Lexton over the Easter weekend.

For more on this story see the Front Page of The Advertiser, Tuesday, January 14

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