BOB Dylan’s extra concert at Bluesfest has been approved by the Byron Shire Council after an extraordinary meeting today.
The extension to a six day festival, instead of the normal five day event to accommodate an extra concert by the American singer-songwriter will only apply to this year’s event. Councillors voted 6-1 in favour of the extension.
Byron Shire Council General Manager Graeme Faulkner said council had an important job to do in getting the balance right regarding Bluesfest’s application.
“Byron Shire Council is committed to seeing the region’s creative industries thrive,” he said.
“But as part of its relationship with the community, council also has a responsibility to make sure creative industries grow in a sustainable way.”
Mr Faulkner said ensuring the festival’s sustainability involved allowing residents to have their say on the extension, as well as following proper planning processes.
“It was only fair community members had a right to have a say on what is proposed near their backyards,” he said.
“There were 30 community submissions regarding the application, which had to be carefully considered.
“Council staff also had a duty to the community to apply the proper planning process to the Bluesfest application.
“This is why an adequate amount of time had to be given to consider the application, and why Councillors ultimately voted on the festival extension at the earliest opportunity.”
Mr Faulkner said the festival extension was part of an ongoing process of ensuring the sustained success of Bluesfest.
“Since Councillors approved the original Bluesfest application to hold the festival at a purpose built site in Tyagarah in September 2009, Council has received 11 requests to amend the application,” he said.
“Each of these applications was assessed with a view to creating a sustainable Bluesfest that benefits festival goers, as well as the Byron Shire community.
“The process regarding this latest application was no different.”
Mr Faulkner said Bluesfest fans in Byron Shire and beyond could now look forward to the 2011 event, given the festival extension had been properly assessed by Council.
This year’s Bluesfest will run from Thursday, April 21 to Tuesday, April 26.