The organisers of the Mountain Sounds festival have announced that next week’s event will not be going ahead, saying in a Facebook post that they are “devastated” to have to cancel, and blaming the current political climate in New South Wales.
Mountain Sounds was planned for Friday 15 and Saturday 16 of February at Mount Penang Parklands on the Central Coast, with a lineup including Angus & Julia Stone, What So Not, Courtney Barnett and Middle Kids.
In a post to Facebook earlier this morning, organisers were critical of the state government for its handling of music events, saying that new licensing conditions, imposed upon them at the last minute, made it impossible for the festival to go ahead:
We, like many of you, have seen the festival climate continue to diminish in Australia. NSW in particular is in dire straits. This is yet another example of the government’s war on festivals.
Safety has always been of the utmost importance to us, and it was for this reason that we agreed to downsize our festival site, cancelling over 20 acts, to ensure we met newly imposed safety, licensing and security costs, in order to maintain the wellbeing of our patrons and still put on the show.
A mere 7 days out from the event, further conditions and financial obligations were imposed on the festival, which were impossible to meet.
Organisers said that, as of late January, they had budgeted for 11 user-pay police to be on site, but one week out from the festival, they were told they would need to pay “an additional upfront amount of approximately $200,000 for 45 user pay police on a 24 hour cycle.”
A number of NSW festivals have been cancelled in recent weeks, and the statement from Mountain Sounds continued:
Our friends in the music industry will understand on a personal level how soul-destroying this is. For music lovers around the country, we know this will deeply resonate with you too. This impacts each and every one of you. NSW residents, please keep this at the forefront of your mind as the next election nears in 6 weeks’ time.
The Liberal party’s war on festivals in NSW is real and it’s robbing you of your freedom and culture. Who would’ve known that lock-out laws were just the beginning of the death of live entertainment in NSW. This has now spread to larger-scale and multi-day regional events and it’s only getting worse.
The festival says it will be “reaching out to everyone who purchased tickets to this event through our official ticketing partners next week to offer further information and advise next steps.” You can see the Facebook post below.