Is Mountain Sounds festival about to be cancelled?
Industry whispers have suggested the cancellation of next week’s Mountain Sounds Festival is imminent. Sources close to the festival have told TIO poor ticket sales and additional police and emergency services costs as their reason to cancel the event.
Mountain Sounds is set to take place next week in Somersby, NSW and boasts a lineup featuring Angus & Julia Stone, Yungblud and Middle Kids.
TIO understands Mountain Sounds will announce the cancellation on Monday (Feb 11).
TIO has reached out to Mountain Sounds’ team for comment.
Mountain Sounds announced on February 1 that they were reducing the number of stages present at the festival in order to accommodate to a combination of licensing and security costs.
In a statement released, Mountain Sounds Festival shared, “We have recently had to look at measures across the board to continue moving forward with the event, whilst still maintaining the highest safety standards and ensuring the quality of the festival experience for patrons and artists aren’t compromised.
“However, due to current increased pressure around safety, licensing and security we have had to modify our site, staging and infrastructure so the event can go ahead.”
This comes after the first instalment of Good Things Festival Sydney in late 2018 was forced to suspend the attendance of underage punters due to exorbitant costs for police presence.
“We have been working around the clock for months to try and ensure the event goes ahead as planned, but we have seen unprecedented opposition to the event from the police and the government,” said Good Things General Manager Chris O’Brien.
“The experience for all customers was going to be impacted. We have had to make the very difficult decision to turn the event to over 18’s only to avoid Under 18’s been forced to watch bands behind a 1.8m high chain wire fence,” added O’Brien.
This comes shortly after Stoney Roads reported a boutique festival in Casino, Bohemian Beatfreaks was hit with a $200,000 fee to have up to 70 officers on-site over three days. In previous years, the festival had been charged only $16, 000 for police presence.
TIO understands that Live Music Office’s John Wardle has contacted Minister Paul Toole regarding music festival licensing in NSW.
In his letter to Minister Toole he has outlined concerns from the local government, including live music’s major cultural and economic contributions to regional NSW, and the collaborative partnerships with councils, organisers and the local community that have been created.
Wardle has called for clarity around any position relating to licensing to the music industry.
The crippling new licensing laws for festivals
The new licensing laws for festivals were announced on January 20. The laws are a result of a meeting that took place with various industry stakeholders, Liquor & Gaming New South Wales and the government agency that provides licencing, compliance and enforcement on events throughout the state.
This meeting resulted in a checklist that festivals will have to abide by in order for their event to be approved.
From March 1, festival organisers will be required to apply for a specific liquor license, in the same vein as pubs and clubs, for each music festival they host.
Each application will need to be approved by a panel comprised of NSW Health, NSW Police, NSW Ambulance and Liquor and Gaming NSW before a licence can be issued.
In a statement issued at the time, Minister Paul Toole shared: “Festival organisers will need to ensure their events meet high safety standards. Events with a poor track record and heightened risk will face greater oversight from authorities.”
The new licensing scheme is yet to be finalised but in the interim measures are already in place. These include chill out zones: staged with doctors and paramedics and well as free water stations to ensure that punters are properly hydrated.
Mountain Sounds are yet to comment officially on the situation.
This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.