The organisers of a central coast music festival have cancelled the event one week out, citing an unexpected rise in policing costs.
Organisers of Mountain Sounds have claimed the change is a result of “the government’s war on festivals”.
Ticket-holders received an email on Saturday morning notifying them of the cancellation of the two-day festival, which was to be held at Mount Penang Parklands on February 15 and 16.
“A mere seven days out from the event, further conditions and financial obligations were imposed on the festival, which were impossible to meet,” the statement said.
“As we’ve witnessed and empathised with other festivals who have recently faced similar outcomes, we continued to work tirelessly in an attempt to survive.
“Unfortunately, we too have been put in an impossible situation as it was unrealistic for us to pull this money together, particularly given the time frame.”
The statement went onto say the number of police required to patrol the event had been unexpectedly increased.
“In 2019, despite our continued proactive harm minimisation measures, we were told we would have to pay an additional upfront amount of approximately $200,000 for 45 user pay police on a 24 hour cycle.
“This came one week out from the festival and blindsided us as we were quoted for 11 user pay police on the 18th of January.
“In 2018, Mountain Sounds ran smoothly, with an attendance of 16,000 people over two days, 11 user pay police and no major drug-related incidents.
“The combination of excessive costs, additional licensing conditions and the enforcement of a stricter timeline left us no option but to cancel the event.”
Organisers announced at the end of January that the festival would be dropping twenty acts to account for lower than expected ticket sales and increased security costs.
Those affected included indie singer-songwriter Stella Donnelly and Wollongong punk band Totty, plus Newcastle artists Grace Turner and Fritz.
The organiser’s most recent statement said the future of the festival was “unclear at this point” and that ticket-holders would be contacted by the festival’s ticketing partners with “further information and advice”.
Courtney Barnett, Angus and Julia Stone and What So Not were scheduled to headline the event.
More to come.