One of the state’s best loved music festivals has been slapped with a symbolic fine. The owners of the ‘Splendour in the Grass’ grounds have been admonished by the NSW Department of Planning for breaching noise restrictions on public events.
Several staff members from the Department were sent along to the venue (on the taxpayer, presumably) to monitor the sound levels of the festival’s many acts. In the end, the Department found that promoters were actively minimising the sound levels and dutifully combating the effects of musical vibrations. But, in spite of this, they decided to levy a fine anyhow.
Though the three thousand dollar fine is largely symbolic, the event’s organisers and participants have complained about the unnecessary restrictions currently being placed on the lot’s owners. Speaking to the ABC, Matt Morris (the GM of North Byron Parklands) said the restrictions are unduly restrictive and practically impossible to meet.
“The Planning and Assessment Commission took it on themselves to impose their own conditions and set limits that are entirely unworkable,” he said. “Unfortunately what that’s meant is that the venue and the regulators have been struggling with how to try to achieve these really unachievable sound limits.”
Looking to the future, Mr. Morris expressed the owners’ game plan: “We’ve actually just lodged a modification to our approval. The recent event was actually in breach with its noise criteria prior to any events coming on stage. So that gives you an indication of how tight and unworkable during winter these particular settings are.”
It’s disconcerting that a revenue generating event such as this could be ‘…in breach with its noise criteria prior to any events coming on stage.’ After all, it is a music festival. Perhaps it should be left to the regulators to figure out a less draconian scheme for the management and effective regulation of outdoor festivals such as these.