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Byron Shire
May 12, 2021

Yelgun festival site unveils its plans

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Sunday's meeting at North Byron Parklands attracted 51 people despite the heat. Photo NBP
Sunday’s meeting at North Byron Parklands attracted 51 people despite the heat. Photo NBP

North Byron Parklands (NBP) management say that 51 people braved the heat and attended the Parklands community information meeting and Q&A on Sunday afternoon.

It was an effort to explain to the community its plans for the Yelgun event site to become fully approved.

NBP hosts both Splendour In The Grass and the Falls festival, and is currently in the final year of its five-year trial approval with the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DP&E).

‘From the Parklands perspective, it was a really constructive and productive meeting that covered some wide-ranging issues and concerns,’ manager Mat Morris said.

He says a submission is being prepared for the DP&E to make Parklands a ‘permanent home for sustainable, world-class arts and cultural events in the northern rivers.’

Mr Morris says, ‘As per the original approval submitted in 2010, Parklands is seeking approval for 12 event days of between 25,000 and 50,000 patrons.’

‘The two existing events (Splendour in the Grass and Falls Byron Bay) currently take up eight of these days, leaving the possibility of one additional large event.

‘The requested remaining eight days would be for events under 25,000; for example, Parklands is now negotiating with a group to bring a running event for 2,000 to 3,000 participants.’

In a prepared Q&A, Mr Morris reiterated issues raised in last week’s Echonetdaily article, and added that Live Nation had not bought into Parklands.

‘Parklands is 100 per cent owned by Australians (many of whom are locals).’

He says that Live Nation’s 51 per cent ownership of Splendour in the Grass and Falls will not affect Parklands.

‘It is still operated by the same team who started the festivals and that will continue to be the case.’

For more info visit NBP’s website.

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  1. I am taking a guess that Parklands is probably going for a higher figure expecting to be refused and keep the existing numbers. That’s all well and good except that the community cannot sustain the current levels of visitors as it is. Parklands doesn’t seem to understand that once the festivals are over and the last patron has left their site, that the problems for the community continue for weeks on end.

    Many visitors stay on and camp illegally, Residents are having to put up with people camping on their property and in public spaces, sometimes blocking driveways, making noise and mess and there are not enough Council Rangers to stop this. Yes, it might be a Council staffing problem, but we never had these issues to this degree before the festivals came to town. Residents are also annoyed that they will be the ones to foot the bill if Council employs more staff.

    Some visitors stay with friends/illegal lets and if we are lucky, some pay for their accommodation in established venues. This Christmas/New Year period in Brunswick was particularly hectic. It already was a busy time of the year before the Falls Festival, but now it is ridiculous. Many residents are frustrated about being unable to get a park to do every day things like post a letter, go to the beach or buy groceries. It must be very hard if you are disabled at this time of year as there are so few parking spots for them. I know of many locals who hardly leave their houses during the holidays now.

    Another frustration is for business owners who have people using their toilets and garbage bins constantly at their cost. It wouldn’t be so bad if more people actually bought stuff.

    I have seen festival supporters say, “If you don’t like it leave”, and that really gets on my goat. We were here first, we PAY to live here. We live in the north because it’s NOT party town Byron. Byronites might be used to the hectic pace, but we are not. Why should we leave because a massive bunch of people who don’t even care about the place want to get wasted and party for a week? I am not totally adverse to the festivals, but the reality is, they are too big for this area to cope with and they affect local amenity greatly. Solutions need to be found for current issues before even thinking about increasing festival numbers.

    I am also interested to know where the extra emergency services are going to come from. Does the government have the extra personnel and equipment to mobilise to this area twice a year?


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