With severe wet weather and possible flooding expected across much of New South Wales over the coming days, and forecast for late next week, Parkes Shire Council has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2022 Trundle ABBA Festival.

Council's Mayor, Cr Ken Keith OAM, said the decision to cancel the event was made after Council received a briefing from the NSW State Emergency Service and Resilience NSW, regarding widespread heavy rain forecast for much of New South Wales over the coming days.

"We left the final decision for as long as possible, hoping for an improved forecast, but unfortunately, the forecast has deteriorated rather than improved," Cr Keith said.

"For all involved, we need to make a decision far enough in advance so people don’t get caught out with a last-minute, ad-hoc decision, and alternative arrangements for attendees and suppliers can be made.

"This has not been an easy decision to make, but it is inevitable given the severe wet weather conditions expected over the coming weekend and into early next week on an already saturated catchment.

"The Central West has already experienced extraordinary rainfall throughout 2022, including severe flooding in the Trundle and Tullamore districts in late September, and the advice we've received is that we need to prepare for a prolonged wet spell.

"As a consequence of the severe weather predictions, our insurance provider advised us last week, that they would no longer be able to provide flood and wet weather coverage for the Trundle ABBA Festival, and we have not been able to source alternative insurance coverage.

"While we explored options to reschedule the festival to a later date; the reality is that we can continue to expect above average rainfall to at least the end of the year, and potentially into the New Year, with the likelihood of being able to secure flood and wet weather insurance remaining slim."

Mayor Keith said all ticket holders will have the price of their tickets refunded.

"We know how disappointing this is for all those who had purchased tickets and were looking forward to attending the first ABBA Festival since 2019, as well as the Trundle community, who were looking forward to welcoming ABBA fans back, but we appreciate everyone's understanding, given the situation we find ourselves in," he said.

Parkes Shire Council had agreed to deliver the 2022 Trundle ABBA Festival, after having been approached by the former event organisers to assume responsibility for the event.

"The ABBA Festival had eight great years prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the situation we find ourselves in is incredibly disappointing, especially given how hard Council's Events team had worked over recent months to plan a terrific revival for the festival," Cr Keith said.

"Unfortunately, the ongoing unpredictability of weather cycles, coupled with the difficulty of obtaining events insurance coverage, means that hosting outdoor events is certainly a high-risk business.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Parkes Shire Council delivering the Trundle ABBA Festival?

The ABBA Festival had eight great years prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, following the cancellation of the event due to COVID-9 public health orders, Parkes Shire Council was approached by Trundle ABBA Festival Inc., the event founders, to assume responsibility for delivering the 2022 Trundle ABBA Festival.

In May 2022, Council resolved to manage the 2022 Trundle ABBA Festival, with a view to determining if a sustainable business model could be created to ensure the longevity of the event. Since then, our Events team has worked incredibly hard to plan a terrific event, working closely with the Trundle community in all aspects of the festival's design and delivery.

It is extremely unfortunate that insurance coverage is unobtainable and that outdoor events are now increasingly high-risk ventures for any event organiser.

Did Parkes Shire Council consider relocating the Trundle ABBA Festival?

Yes, Council explored several contingency plans, including relocating the event to the Trundle Showgrounds, or to Cooke Park in Parkes, should Berryman Oval become saturated and access to Trundle be affected by flooding.

There were significant risks and costs attached to each alternative plan considered. Due to the state-wide extreme weather system, Council also determined that there were significant safety and reputational risks in promoting travel through adjoining flood-prone zones.

Once again, with severe wet weather expected, and the absence of flood and wet weather insurance, proceeding with an outdoor event of this size and scale simply wasn't possible.

Did Parkes Shire Council consider deferring of rescheduling the event?

Yes, Council considered deferring or rescheduling the Trundle ABBA Festival to a later date. We engaged with performers, suppliers and contractors, but finding a date that would have worked for all parties proved challenging, noting that most had other commitments.

There is also an exciting events season approaching, and Council deemed it inappropriate to change dates at the last moment and compete with community events that had been planning and promoting their dates for many months.

Critically, the NSW SES has confirmed that the above average rainfall experienced across inland NSW throughout 2022 can be expected for the remainder of the year, and into early 2023. With a prolonged wet spell ahead, and the lack of flood and wet weather insurance, deferring the festival is not considered a viable option.

Will the Trundle ABBA Festival be back next year?

Unfortunately, the ongoing unpredictability of weather cycles, coupled with the difficulty of obtaining events insurance coverage, means that hosting outdoor events is a high-risk activity for local councils.

Parkes Shire Council has not been asked to take on management of the Trundle ABBA Festival beyond 2022.

Should Trundle ABBA Festival Inc. not wish to resume responsibility for the event, it may be that there is another event organiser or community group that is willing and able to take on management of the event.