The Byron Bay “once in a lifetime” party that was supposed to outshine Splendor In The Grass this weekend has suffered from something far worse than bad weather: Hemsworth’s no-shows.
Perched on a hilltop in the middle of a 120-acre site owned by Australian folk musician Angus Stone, the exclusive invite-only party was billed as the festival’s VIP event and promised an Instagram oasis with a guest list including “the most influential names in music and fashion.” .
But that’s about Instagram. It is rarely true.
“We’re expecting two Hemsworths,” whispered Glenn Coleman, founder of Melbourne-based fashion label Nana Judy and host of the event, as a free bus carried the remaining few hundred guests down a muddy trail to the secret location.
What are two Hemsworths? Liam and senior. However, Hemsworth is Hemsworth. The name itself has the power to make or break a party.
“We were inspired by Coachella parties,” Coleman said. “Wait till you see – it’s a wonderland.”
Then the bus pulled up.
The torrential weather that spoiled the start of Splendor In The Grass on Friday has taken its toll on all weekend events. Even VIP parties weren’t insured.
Bands in their twenties gathered under fake Balinese thatched huts, sipping free drinks from sponsorship bars Red Bull, Isla and Patron while a DJ played the standard muted music and also fired the occasional flamethrower.
It was two o’clock on a Saturday afternoon, and under the overcast sky there was no trace of the Hemsworths, Byron’s most famous residents. Instead, micro-influencers mingled with reality TV stars and filmed social media content while wading through haystacks that lay along the ground to soak up the dirt.
Biggest celebrity guest at the event? Margot Robbie’s brother…
“Yeah, yeah, they said they would come,” the organizers confidently promised again, checking the time in anticipation of Hemsworth’s arrival before offering a consolation prize. “But Alex Hayes is here – from Celebrity Apprentice.”
“A bunch of Love Island guys are here too,” said another organizer. And the people from The Bachelor.
“Ah… a few seasons ago.”
Meanwhile, Chad Hurst, who won the 2020 Big Brother, lined up at a nearby Red Bull bar.
The reality TV overlay was like a crossover between the Marvel and DC universes. But in the world of reality TV contestants, the outcome is more unpredictable and dangerous.
“This guy from Love Island is here and he’s a complete asshole,” said someone who wished to remain anonymous. “He is a complete jerk. He is the worst. He thinks the sun is shining out of his fucking ass. He’s out of his mind.
The party, now in its seventh year, has turned Angus Stone—one half of the sibling folk duo Angus and Julia Stone—into a kind of Byronian Hugh Hefner, hosting leather-fringed influences like bunnies on his farm. Playmates at the Playboy Mansion. But instead of sex, it’s all about #SponPo.
As it rained throughout the day and the party was drawing to a close, Baker Boy took the stage to perform.
“How do we live tonight?” he shouted to the fleeing crowd, who were filming them dancing to a set of three songs.
“This is it?” someone muttered as they leaned against the wall of one of the Balinese huts.
Down by the toilet stalls where guys and girls started to urinate inside, one gentleman felt the effect of too much free Red Bull vodka from the sponsor bar. He passed out under Angus Stone’s solar bank.
Upstairs, on a balcony overlooking the filthy area, even in the final moments of the event, the organizers were still trying to find Hemsworth.
“Liam and Luke said they were coming,” Glenn insisted before pulling out his phone and frantically dialing. Let me call them again.
“We negotiated with Jack Harlow, but they fell through,” another said with a shrug.
Still, for some, the absence of the Hemsworths didn’t matter.
“This is fucking awesome,” said Jamie Knight, an influencer with 363,000 followers. “Atmosphere, people. This is the best party.”
Twitter, Facebook: @hellojamesweir