HANDS UP: An objection from police could see one of the Southern Downs’ most popular music festivals cancelled. Picture: Derek Moore / News
HANDS UP: An objection from police could see one of the Southern Downs’ most popular music festivals cancelled. Picture: Derek Moore / News

Popular music festival faces axe over ‘safety risks’

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One of the Southern Downs' most popular music festivals is facing cancellation only weeks out from the event under an "extremely surprising" complaint from authorities.

Organisers of Goomburra's Arcadia 2021 festival announced via social media on Wednesday that their annual event could be called off for the second year in a row, after COVID restrictions shut down their 2020 gig.

The statement from Arcadia Events claimed Warwick police last week lodged a notice of objection to the event as a "risk to public safety".

"This news is extremely surprising to us as we have not recorded a single safety incident or police call-out in the history of the festival," the statement read.

"As a result, (Southern Downs Regional Council) communicated that unless the police withdraw their objection, Arcadia cannot go ahead as planned on the May long weekend.

"Given the amount of time, energy, and of course, money it has taken to ride out 2020 and get the event to this point, we are extremely disheartened."

 

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The organisers claimed the police stance remained firm during discussions, leaving their only option to ask the council to review their decision at next Wednesday's meeting.

Warwick Police inspector and patrol commander David Preston said the opposition was not specific to the Arcadia festival, and rather represented emergency services' concerns about music festivals more broadly.

"We don't support (festivals) at all, just because of personal safety for individuals and then the number of people attending these festivals as well," Inspector Preston said.

"We've just taken a generic view because of the size of these festivals and the fact they're held on private ground, so it makes it hard for us as police to take control of the situation and that's where we come from for it.

"All emergency services are contacted in relation to their respective areas and in relation to their opinion."

An SDRC spokeswoman confirmed councillors would make a final decision on the Arcadia festival at Wednesday's meeting.

"Comments from QPS, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, and Queensland Ambulance Services are considered prior to making a decision to approve applications for events," the spokeswoman said.

"The council has (previously) received complaints about the festival in relation to noise."The spokeswoman added factors such as the economic revenue from events and tourism, the absence of a "regional events strategy" for Arcadia, and the "complex nature of illegal substance abuse" and associated emergency services resources would be taken into account.

"The council has (previously) received complaints about the festival in relation to noise."The spokeswoman added factors such as the economic revenue from events and tourism, the absence of a "regional events strategy" for Arcadia, and the "complex nature of illegal substance abuse" and associated emergency services resources would be taken into account.

The festival is currently scheduled for May 1-3 and would feature a numbehahar of local and Brisbane acts such as squidgenini, Pink Matter, and Made in Paris.



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