Mountain Sounds 2019 Cancelled: Organisers Give in to NSW Police’s “War on Festivals”

Mountain Sounds 2018. Image courtesy of MountainSoundsFestival.com.au
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The organisers of Mountain Sounds announced via Facebook on February 9 that they have cancelled the music festival’s sixth iteration this 2019. The news came barely a week before the festival’s scheduled opening at Mount Penang Parklands on February 15.

Calling the cancellation an example of the government’s “war on drugs,” the Mountain Sounds organisers claim that the New South Wales Police imposed new restrictions on the festival days before the event. According to the Facebook post:

In 2019, despite our continued proactive harm minimisation measures (and having less attendees than the year before), 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.

The post further explained that the excessive costs and additional requirements have left the organisers with no choice but to nix the festival altogether for the year.

In late January, Mountain Sounds reduced the number of its stages, as well as cut down its featured artist line-up by at least 20 acts. The reduction was made to accommodate the safety, security, and licensing requirements and costs the authorities imposed on them.

Mountain Sounds has claimed on its Facebook post that safety has always been of “the utmost importance” to the organisers and that they have always considered their relationship with the local police to be “a positive one.”

The organisers further noted that in 2018, only 49 drug detections were made out of the 16,000 people who have attended the doof.

The NSW Police, however, denied that it has been putting pressure on Mountain Sounds through its restrictions. According to a statement, the Mountain Sounds organisers scrapped the event for financial reasons, and that “at no time did police or government direct the organisers to cancel the event.”

Meanwhile, punters who have already bought tickets to the festival’s 2019 iteration are waiting on word on whether they’ll get refunds.

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