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May 10, 2021

Businesses support Byron NYE ‘lockdown’

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The Byron Bay Liquor Accord and chamber of commerce (Byron United) have come out in tentative support of the shire council’s decision to close the town to traffic on New Years Eve, despite not attending last week’s committee meeting where the plan was hatched.

But an Ocean Shores residents’ group is critical of the simultaneous announcement of a new festival for the North Byron Parklands site over the New Year period.

Hannah Spalding from the Byron Bay Liquor Accord says her organisation is behind the mayor’s suggestion to close the streets on NYE.

‘It’s a great way to encourage coming here for the right reasons,’ she told Echonetdaily.

Byron United president Paul Waters says that though he’s not a ‘big fan of this sort of action’, he says he can ‘see the merits and if it’s done well and only for one night I can’t see a problem’.

‘I think we all understand that after last year’s problems we need to do something to stop the gatecrashers and if a lockdown is the answer then that’s what has to be done.

‘There are also other initiatives that I have put forward at the summer safety committee meetings that I have attended so far this year that should be considered… one important one is to enforce capacity limits at camping areas like Red Devil and Belongil Fields etc, as we know they were overrun last year, causing great concern to police and operators.’

And to help pay for it all, director of Falls Festival Byron Bay, Brandon Saul, says his festival will contribute cash to Byron’s NYE event to the tune of around $25,000.

‘Apart from locals’ involvement in the festival itself through programming local acts, arts activities, staffing and locals’ tickets, Falls Festival Byron Bay will contribute funds and expertise to assist with the running of Council events and activities planned for Byron Bay township over the New Year period.

‘We’ll also be running a youth skills program that will give local youth hands-on experience and mentoring in carpentry, construction, bush regeneration and event management,’ Mr Saul said.

But some residents that neighbour the North Byron Parklands site are less than impressed. Conservation of North Ocean Shores (CONOS) president Bob Oehlman told Echonetdaily, ‘You would have to be a fool to think that by bringing the Falls Festival to Yelgun this would make a difference to NYE in Byron Bay’.

‘Byron Bay is the destination that people want to come to. Contrary to what the Green (?) mayor says, the NSW planning department and the RMS will have the final say. To bring in an extra 20,000 people into Byron Shire in peak holiday time is a joke. Like what happened in Lorne, you would be simply transferring the problem from Byron Bay to the north. It is obvious that the promoters have no consideration for the local community and no consideration for the wildlife. The residents of Lorne didn’t want it and neither do we.’

When North Byron Parklands received planning approval for test events by the Planning Assessment Commission last year, it included permission for three events per year. As far as Echonetdaily is aware, additional permission is not required to hold the Falls Festival.


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3 COMMENTS

  1. As a mother of an 18 year old daughter I’d much prefer my daughter be at a festival with friends, enjoying music she likes in a managed environment than looking for something to do in Byron. There’s nothing for people her age to do over New Years in the Northern Rivers and a festival like Falls provides a great safe place for them. Once in the festival they wouldn’t be travelling into Byron but would stay within the festival grounds. My daughter and her friends were extrememly excited about the announcement that Falls would be at the Splendour site.

  2. I think a festival close to home at this time of year is a great idea ! It gives young people something entertaining & fun to do in a contained & one would hope, safer environment than roaming around the streets of Byron where there is often violence amongst both locas & tourists. It could be an alternative option for people of all ages & with buses taking them to & fro, very doable.

  3. To propose a festival in the Brunswick area at a time that we would already be running at peak occupancy is absolute lunacy. The Xmas and New Years period is the lifeblood of many Brunswick businesses and I simply cannot see how any of them will benefit from another festival. It could only decrease the number of actual visitors that choose to spend their holidays in this little town. By actual visitors I mean the people who have been coming here for many years and keep all the small businesses afloat.

    Having Splendor over a quiet weekend is one thing, but now we to have to take the overflow of Blues Fest in Easter, and Falls Fest over NYE. I thought that the idea of these festivals sites was to increase revenue to the area, not decrease it? Once again Brunswick Heads, and the surrounding communities are footing the bill for Byron Bay’s inability to organise a coherent and workable entertainment policy. We have not even had the Splendor festival yet, and we have had this announcement with zero community consultation, on the basis that it will fix the problems for the “Bay”.

    With all due respect to the parents who find this a suitable alternative to a Byron Bay NYE, the idea is to fix the Bay’s shortcomings, not divert them to a smaller area further away, with even less capabilities to deal with these issues. Brunswick Heads is traditionally a family holiday area, the exact opposite of Byron Bay. Our guests rarely cause any trouble, and I would like to know who will be responsible to ensure that this continues. Will Falls also go until 2am? Is any of this in line with the family holiday atmosphere that Brunswick Heads has developed for itself?

    If Falls Festvial wants to be here for NYE, then make it 100% camping and let them sort out all the issues associated with having all those extra people in a capacity area, they are the ones who are profiting from this. Note, I am not a business owner in any capacity.

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