400 rally against Splendour
By HANNAH ROSS
OCEAN Shores Community Centre was packed yesterday with people protesting at plans by the Splendour in the Grass music festival to move the event to rural land at%Yelgun.
As many as 400 people attended the meeting, rallying together with barely a dissenting voice to spell out the message the festival was not welcome at the north Byron Shire site.
Among those attending the meeting were Ballina MP Don Page, Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham, several councillors, and Nationals candidate for Richmond Sue Page.
The meeting was organised by an alliance of concerned residents from Tweed Heads to Byron Bay.
Festival organisers had agreed to attend the event to provide information on the festival and its plans for the site, but backed out after hearing the event was being billed as a protest meeting.
"We are saddened that what could have been a good opportunity to clarify the issues relating to our trial DA for Splendour In The Grass with the community seems to have become a platform to protest our proposal," a spokesperson for the festival said.
"Without an agenda or guidelines for the conduct of Sunday's meeting we unfortunately do not believe the meeting would provide a frank and constructive exchange of factual information.
"We remain committed to providing community consultation as evidenced by our past efforts, and will endeavour to make ourselves available to those who are interested in constructive dialogue," the spokesperson said.
The Ocean Shores Community Association will decide tonight whether it will object to the development application, submissions for which close on Friday.
Association president David Hall said local youth needed free facilities, such as skate ramps and picnic shelters, rather than a site for a festival costing them close to $200 to attend.
"We don't want an extra 20,000 kids, two-thirds of whom will be leaving the site at 3am off their heads."