Saturday, July 13, 2024

Splendour in the Grass, Secret Sounds Co-Founder Jessica Ducrou Exits

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SYDNEY, Australia — Jessica Ducrou is exiting as co-CEO of Australia’s Secret Sounds Group, producer of Splendour in the Grass festival and a slew of live music brands.

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As co-founder of Splendour, Australia’s flagship mid-winter camping festival, Ducrou is the nation’s leading female concert and festival promoter.

With co-CEO Paul Piticco, Ducrou built Secret Sounds Group, one of the largest music group in the country, representing Splendour, Harvest Rock, Falls Festival, Secret Sounds Touring, Village Sounds booking agency, Secret Sounds Connect commercial rights and creative agency, North Byron Parklands, The Triffid live music venue in Brisbane and more.

In 2016, Live Nation acquired a controlling stake in Secret Sounds Group.

Ducrou announced her departure on Friday morning, June 21, one month before the 2024 edition of Splendour in the Grass was meant to play out in Byron Bay, with a bill featuring Future, Kylie Minogue, Arcade Fire and many others.

That isn’t happening. Splendour, as previously reported, canceled this year’s event just days after tickets went on sale to the public, becoming the highest-profile casualty of a batch of brands that have decided to pause or close for good.

“So many memorable moments over the last almost decade with Secret Sounds, what a wild ride it’s been,” Ducrou comments in a statement. “I’m well due for an overseas summer holiday so it’s a good time to take a break before I embark on my next chapter.”

Established in 2001 and held each year in Byron Bay, a picturesque beach town on the most easterly tip of Australia, Splendour is a destination event.

The fest would become the hottest ticket in the coldest months.

In recent years, however, the show endured a particularly tough run, first with the pandemic, which saw the fest announced, then shelved several times. Then, in 2022, extreme weather conditions wrecked the first day of Splendour 2022, contributing to softer-than-usual ticket sales for the 2023 edition.

It was Ducrou who faced the media when the heavens opened, and on the occasions when Splendour was pushed back. In 2021, when the health crisis shut down festivals everywhere, Ducrou led a novel project that would turn Splendour into a virtual world, with more than 50 exclusive, in-game performances.

Ducrou will take time out with her children, travel, and, in the interim, will continue in her duties as chair of SoundNSW and deputy chair of the Australian Festivals Association.

“It has been an epic journey that has been truly inspiring, and an opportunity to collaborate with the best in the business,” she continues. “It would not have been as rewarding, possible or enjoyable if it weren’t for the people I have worked alongside of. Paul Piticco has been a great business partner for more than 30 years and we will no doubt continue our friendship well into the future. The Secret Sounds team, notably Elise Huntley and the festivals gang, are the absolute best, I will miss working with the awesome individuals who inspired me every single day. I wish all at Secret Sounds and Live Nation the very best success in their future endeavors.”



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