VCAT rules out music festival
A ‘‘bush doof’’ music festival drawing thousands of people cannot be held on Victorian farmland, a tribunal has ruled.
Organisers of Yemaya Festival had sought to overturn a decision by Loddon Shire Council and gain planning permission for the event to go ahead in Fernihurst, northwest of Bendigo, for the next five years.
However Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal senior member Rachel Naylor said the music festival would have a ‘‘detrimental’’ impact on the agricultural land and refused the application.
Yemaya Festival, described by organisers as ‘‘four mesmerising days and three luminescent nights of sensory enhancement’’, was first held at the site in April 2016.
Surrounding farmers complained afterwards that they were ‘‘negatively affected’’, particularly by noise and trespassing incidents, the ruling from December 24 stated.
Permission to hold the event again in April 2017 was refused, as well as a later application for the festival to go ahead in September 2017, prompting the organisers to request a review by VCAT.
It was hoped the music and performing arts event could be held annually over four days in April between 2019 and 2023, with up to 4500 patrons camping on site.
The council said it was concerned about safety, noise, the impact on farming and the risk of flooding and bushfires.
In her ruling, Ms Naylor said the use of the land was ‘‘at odds’’ with the primary purpose of the area for agriculture and noted that a proposal for live music to be played for up to 57 hours straight would have an ‘‘unacceptable impact’’.
‘‘In a recognised agricultural area that is sought to be protected, these impacts are detrimental to the surrounding area,’’ she said.
‘‘The benefits of this proposal in terms of contributions to the broader economy in nearby towns are not sufficient to outweigh or balance these detrimental impacts.’’