VCAT rules out mu­sic fes­ti­val

Shepparton News - Country News - - DAIRY -

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.’’

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