Byron Music Festivals Under Threat if Redevelopment Rejected

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Crowds at the 2017/18 Byron Bay Falls Festival held at the North Byron Parklands. Photo: Kirra Pendergast

THE NORTH BYRON Parklands, near Byron Bay on the NSW North Coast, is home to two of Australia’s largest music festivals, which attract tens of thousands of music fans and, organisers say, millions of dollars to the region’s economy.

However, a $42 million proposal to create a permanent festival site for up to 50,000 people has raised concerns that the staging of events such as Splendour in the Grass and the Falls Festival harms the environment, creates traffic and transport problems and affects the amenity of locals.

Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson also attacked the planning process as “undemocratic and disrespectful”.

“Festivals bring creative, cultural and economic benefits for our shire but they are also a two-edged sword, impacting on our locals by way of traffic, waste and noise. These issues can be overcome but they are nonetheless real and important for residents,” he said. 

The development application submitted by North Byron Parklands proposes the construction of an administration building and “golden view” bar.

“Parklands’ long-term vision also includes the construction of a conference centre and associated accommodation as per the approved concept plan, with capacity for up to 180 attendees and accommodation for up to 120 guests a day,” according to Mat Morris, the general manager of North Byron Parklands.

The site’s owner also seeks permission to stage outdoor events for up to 20 days a year, including Splendour in the Grass, for up to 50,000 patrons for a maximum of five days.

“The maximum attendance for Falls Festival Byron would be capped at 35,000 patrons,” Mr Morris said.

The proposal also involves temporary camping for up to 30,000 people a day for certain events.

Story by Andrew TaylorThe Sydney Morning Herald.

Read The Sydney Morning Herald’s full story here

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10 comments on “Byron Music Festivals Under Threat if Redevelopment Rejected

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Geoff Bensley on January 13, 2018 5:03 am

Why have so many people moved to this area to live , build houses and increase the footprint? It was quiet back in the 60s and 70s so I blame it on the newcomers for causing all the noise and destruction of this area !!!
So by moving to Byron Shire you have actually added to its destruction.

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Richard Whitling on January 11, 2018 7:58 pm

Why do we need two major festival sites in byron shire? The yelgun site dissects a major wildlife corridor and impacts on 50 threatened species in a very significant Aboriginal locality.
It’s the same old same old – trying to prevent the short-term economic driven mentally from destroying the long-term environmental and cultural features that epitomise our area.

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Veda Turner on January 12, 2018 8:49 pm

I agree, why did the NBP’s go into such a sensitive area with a noisy event proposal? It is such a mismatch.
And the thought of 50,000 patrons, its too many for our small towns, 30,000 is more than enough. Bruns is totally swamped at this time of year!

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Mic on January 11, 2018 6:38 pm

Same old story festivals are great but not in my back yard

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Janine Thurgood on January 11, 2018 1:47 pm

We live very close to North Byron Parlklands and the communication between the organisation and residents is very good but the only thing I can complain about is sometimes the broken glass on the old new Brighton road, which is really hard to police….other than that….we don’t hear a thing!
We have been ratepayers in the Byronshire for over 40 years and I believe that North Byron Parklands have done everything in their power to try to please everyone….and as far as we are concerned they have tried so hard to be compliant for everybody’s needs from the very start!!
We need these festivals and so do the young people …..please let them continue, as far as I’m concerned the people that are complaining are the newcomers to the shire, Byronshire has always been known worldwide for creativity and music, we need to be supporting these events!! 😊

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DENISE COLE on January 12, 2018 6:53 pm

I imagine the promoters are making huge profits. Unfortunately I cannot see much benefit filtering through to Ocean Shores the forgotten community of the Byron Shire!!

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Keith Capel on January 11, 2018 11:26 am

There used to be festivals popping up everywhere in the nineties. It contributed to what Byron is today. Now as the gentrification has occurred there has has been a markedly diminishing tolerance for any such events. The new generation want to have their place but it seems the old ones have forgotten the free spirit that pervaded the region in the heydays. There are locals that actually support these events & they may be just as numerous as the ones that complain about such. Somebody said that Byron has turned into a smorgasbord of whingers who would be against anything! It appears the complainers are the most loudest & vexatious. It would be interesting to have a process that takes note of all the opinions of those that live here. I have observed that people rarely want to speak up about such because they fear being shouted down.

Anyway, my main point is that there are those locals that suppprt such events. And it may be that their views are hardly represented here.

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johnweyadmin on January 11, 2018 11:34 am

In my estimate it’s the old 80/20 rule – 80% approve and 20% complain.

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Janine on January 11, 2018 1:58 pm


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Karma on January 11, 2018 5:04 pm

What is omitted in this article is that 51% has been sold to Live Nation which is one of the biggest Music Festival American Companies. This is a satellite city that they are recommending . Before anyone has more to say go and look at the 4 immense volumes of maps and words that you have to fight your way through.There are many issues that will have to be sorted and one is telecommunications. A duty of care must be thought through before this is passed. Most important is paying our council section 94s or some remuneration as only rates are paid at moment. Nothing to help infrastructure that will have immense pressure applied.

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