Perth still fighting against Soundwave and BDO

Perth’s Soundwave and Big Day Out festivals are under threat with the council that controls the Claremont Showgrounds declaring that it will oppose any application from the festivals to use the venue.

The Big Day Out has announced a return to the venue early next year despite promoter Ken West’s admission that presenting the festival in Perth and Adelaide is a huge financial risk. However, Claremont mayor Jock Barker has told the TheWest that the council intends to reject the application and that “Soundwave and Big Day Out promoters have no respect for the residents, nor for council approvals and sound levels, so naturally the council takes a dim view of them”. The council has claimed that Soundwave has repeatedly breached the 72 decibel limit and has been “regularly monitored at more than 80 decibels”.

When FL contacted the mayor in March for a comment on the situation he declined to be interviewed but sent us a statement declaring that the council is “only concerned with two or three specific concerts who flout the approved sound levels, want to use the Monday of long weekends, whose language is suitable for the gutter, and whose patrons continuously bring appalling antisocial and criminal behaviour into a residential area.”

Soundwave and Big Day Out promoter Chris Knight says that Claremont is the ideal location for the festivals and The Royal Agricultural Society, which owns the Showground, is keen to host both events next year. The Royal Agricultural Society chief executive Martin Molony claims that the battle over the venue is embarrassing for West Australia and told the TheWest that “We’ve got well-known, international acts and they should be supported from the highest levels of government… The biggest sufferers are going to be the patrons who love going to the Big Day Out.”

The council will also suffer a major economic blow in lost revenue from parking fines. In May last year Perth Now reported that “The City’s revenue from parking fines for music events jumped by more than $100,000 last financial year, including from festivals like Big Day Out, Stereosonic and Good Vibrations Figures reveal Claremont has made more than $171,000 from parking fines issued at the showgrounds so far this year.” According to the report, Claremont council raised a staggering $22,950 just by booking punters attending the 2012 Soundwave festival.

If the Claremont council does knock back the applications from Soundwave and Big Day Out, a final decision will rest with the Department of Environment and Conservation.