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Byron Shire
January 22, 2022

Criticism amplified

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The Echo loves your letters and is proud to provide a community forum on the issues that matter most to our readers and the people of the NSW north coast. So don't be a passive reader, send us your epistles.

Cr Basil Cameron, Goonengerry

The Echo’s

summary, that I was ‘critical of organisers’, is not a fair reflection of my comments in Council about the Byron Music Festival application to use the community market site (Dening Park) for a one-off music event.

Regarding the organisers, I actually referenced the Review of Environmental Factors (REF), noting its clarity, care for sensitive dunes and willingness to work with Council staff.

What I did do is note the environmental issues raised by Cr Ndiaye as an important consideration in the public interest test for a licence to use Dening Park for a music event.

The organisers are planning to quarantine a 10 metre buffer to the dune edge from public access and to limit vehicles on site to bump in/out. In support of these measures, I was able to get an amended condition to cap audience numbers in line with the expectations of organisers and staff.

The public interest in a central beachfront location in Byron Bay that should prioritise open access for all is obvious. What is the benefit to our community of licensing an area to the Festival for a one-off concert? This is an event organised to support and celebrate an important aspect of Byron’s cultural identity, the local music industry. It is being organised by the local industry. It will help build confidence and solidarity within an industry badly affected by COVID. It is an ‘all ages’ event, likely to be attended largely by locals. Given the COVID times, allowing this event to go ahead in this central public space is a demonstration of the centrality of the music industry in our lives and a community desire to see it remain so.

‘Supportive of the organisers’ might be a better summary. That does not detract from a longer term public interest in protecting our beach and finding alternative sites within the town for future higher impact events.

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  1. A ‘Festival” on the grass near the Surf Club to support the local music industry is fraught no matter how compliant the team are to rules. Its noise. Its amplified. As we all know, the bass these days is inherently more boomy at a distance than up close and personal. Truly, if I paid for a holiday in the waterfront units a stones throw from the grass near the Surf Club. I would not want to discover that my short expensive time in my ocean view unit would be bombarded with ‘music’ that I have no choice about. Even if its over early. Why can’t they use Red Devils venue like Lisa Hunt did? She was crucified more than once over petty things costing lots of money, and all she was doing was supporting starving musos and the Arts that the govt ignored when handing out the lifelines. She was not out to make a profit. RedDevils has a roof. When planning an event its foolish to site it outdoors and all the hard work be at the mercy of weather. Maybe this gig has a large marquee which is expensive to hire . They could have used the YAC, gated and with a natural outdoor amphitheatre, which is a great venue and thus supported the piggy bank of our youth programmes. By the beach, punters will come and go to the water’s edge, to swim; it’s the nature of festivals near water. Just sayin’.


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