UB40 playing at the Ragamuffin music festival at Red Devil Park, Byron Bay, earlier this year.
UB40 playing at the Ragamuffin music festival at Red Devil Park, Byron Bay, earlier this year. Doug Eaton

Traffic problems silence the Ragamuffin festival

THE Ragamuffin music festival planned for Australia Day in Byron Bay has been cancelled.

Byron Shire Council's Planning Director, Ray Darney, confirmed the promoters withdrew their event application this week.

This follows the council's concerns over traffic management and parking for the event, Mr Darney said.

The 2009 festival, featuring Ziggy Marley, son of reggae legend Bob Marley, would have been the second Ragamuffin for Byron Bay and, although a small event, would have injected at least $400,000 into the local economy, according to Byron Blues and Roots Festival Director Peter Noble.

Mr Darney said the council's local traffic committee had expressed concerns over parking arrangements and the impact of holding a music festival in a peak holiday period.

“We asked the promoters to provide a clearer plan for the parking arrangements, but they withdrew their application this week,” Mr Darney said.

“If we had had an adequate traffic management plan things could have been different,” he said.

The Northern Star understands the Ballina Seagulls Rugby League Club has been approached to host the festival, with negotiations taking place later this week between the club and the Victorian-based festival promoters, AMPresents.

Licensee at the Byron Bay Red Devils Rugby League Club, George Petrou, said he was extremely disappointed at the cancellation, estimating his club alone would lose around $30,000 in expected bar revenue.

“It's also disappointing for the local high school, which raises money through parking,” Mr Petrou said.

“I've got concerns for the future of one-day festivals at Red Devil,” he said. “Small festivals need nurturing to survive, not roadblocks.”

Mr Darney said the Legends of Rock music festival would go ahead at Red Devil on January 31 as planned.

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