Moss Vale Local Court has fined an event organiser $20,000 for holding an illegal music festival in Colo Vale last Easter following legal action by Council.
In imposing the fine Magistrate Ryan found that the organiser had intentionally disregarded the many concerns raised by the community, Police, the Rural Fire Service and Council prior to the event.
“This decision goes to show that it’s not worth holding a large-scale event without proper consent,” said Mark Pepping, Council’s Deputy General Manager of Corporate, Strategy and Development Services.
“Indeed the sheer size and scale of the event was of great concern to numerous parties including nearby residents,” Mr Pepping said. “Unfortunately people don’t always consider the potential impacts which may occur as a result of holding events such as this.”
“Council officers must undertake thorough planning assessments and consultation. This takes time and therefore applications should be lodged well in advance.”
A number of concerns were raised as a result of the 2014 Easter weekend festival including:
- The clearing of land in preparation for the event,
- The erection of structures including temporary stages, stalls and signs,
- The erection of portable toilets on site,
- The construction of a fire pit,
- The playing of loud, amplified music, and
- Performances involving the use of laser lights.
“Obviously this wasn’t your typical weekend get together,” Mr Pepping added. “It was a professionally organised and promoted event that resulted in the Police attending after receiving several calls of complaint.”
“The event went ahead despite the fact the Defendant knew he had no prior Council approval.”
It is estimated the Oddly Wholesome Retreat music festival attracted between 300 and 500 partygoers on the Good Friday public holiday.
Prices for the event were advertised from $65 per head.
“Whilst Council continues to encourage responsible event organisers to our Shire, we remind them to make sure they have proper approvals in place to protect the local community, our bushland environment and also the people who attend the event whose lives could be put at risk through no fault of their own,” Mr Pepping added.