Stop festivals trashing Byron and Tweed shires

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Big music festivals in our Shire are becoming intolerable with negative impacts on residents and the environment— we are getting hammered. The North Byron Parklands site is the location for Splendour in the Grass and the Falls festivals. The owners of the site want more and bigger festivals - up to 50,000 people per day over 12 days a year and another 25,000 attendees per day 8 days a year. Over a four day festival, and with different ticket packages, the total numbers of people can be as much as double the number attending. Over 100,000 people descending on our beautiful Shire over four days is more than we can take. There are only around 30,000 people in all Byron.

Even on the current numbers the police have said the festivals are not safe or manageable. Tweed Byron Inspector Brendan Cullen flagged “major issues and the potential for disaster” which came out of last year’s Splendour festival — with more than 32,000 patrons. The site floods easily — water was 2 metres deep on the camping ground area after Cyclone Debbie — and a bushfire in the neighbouring wildlife reserve or on the festival site could be calamitous for festival patrons and nearby residents.

The noise from the concerts exceeded the allowed limits over several years and led to numerous complaints. Major festivals in Sydney may get one or two complaints; the festivals at Parklands have generated many times that, with some residents unable to sleep for days on end. As well as the noise, impacts outside North Byron Parklands are huge — traffic, rubbish, and antisocial behaviour spilling into our neighbourhoods. Illegal camping, literally in people's front yards, is widespread —campers leaving rubbish, defecating and urinating.

The damaging effects to the environment are significant -- running right through the festival site is a regionally significant wildlife corridor linking coastal populations of species such as koalas with populations in the hinterland.

The Festivals have been running on a trial consent for the last 5 years. This is due to expire in December. North Byron Parklands wants to extend this permission for another 20 months but they have had trouble complying with the terms of their current consent and have shown questionable management skills, such as allowing internal traffic jams so bad that it has taken ticket-holders many hours to get off site. Besides asking for an extension, they are seeking planning permission from the state government to increase the number of festivals on the site and the number of people attending each day.

Our community does not object to music or cultural events - Byron has always supported creative and artistic events. But International festival company Live Nation just bought a controlling share in Secret Sounds Group, the Australian company that produces Splendour in the Grass and Falls festival. Live Nation runs 80 huge festivals around the world. This is not Woodstock or the Aquarius festival, this is big business exploiting the Byron ‘brand’. The problem is that the very thing they are selling - Byron, with its environmental, carefree, creative image - is the very thing that the festivals are destroying.



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