Mount View residents oppose Cessnock music festival plans

A MUSIC festival that aims to create an ‘‘Alice in Wonderland experience’’ in the Hunter Valley hills has met strong resistance from residents.

The festival, which is seeking Cessnock City Council approval, is planned on a May weekend on land at Cedars Mount View resort.

Residents are concerned about losing their peace and quiet, but organisers say the festival will boost tourism and culture.

Mount View resident Judy Howard said it was the wrong area for such an event.

‘‘We have a winding mountain road, which is gravel and not very wide,’’ Mrs Howard said.

‘‘Why would the council allow this extra traffic on our road, when they cannot upkeep it for their ratepayers.’’

The festival planned to attract 1500 people, with about 500 vehicles expected from Sydney, along with trucks, 27 portable toilets and 20 showers, the organisers said.

Co-organiser Matt Weir said it was ‘‘not a local bush rave’’.

‘‘We’re going through the process of it being a cultural event,’’ Mr Weir said.

Live  music would be played on three stages.

Alcohol, actors performing, gourmet food and wine, arts and craft and yoga were part of the plan.

The festival, to be called the SASH Sleepout, aimed to ‘‘provide an Alice in Wonderland experience filled with colour, excitement and tranquillity’’ and ‘‘a visual feast filled with strange and wonderful obscurities’’.

Music would go until 3am, but the loudest stage would cease operating at midnight.

Resident Melinda Stokes said the event ‘‘compromises the values of the majority of residents’’.

‘‘Residents of this part of Mount View are typically young families and elderly people,’’ Mrs Stokes said.

‘‘Noise pollution will undoubtedly be a problem for residents, pets, livestock and native fauna, in what is otherwise a tranquil environment.’’ 

Residents were concerned about loss of sleep and control of troublemakers and gatecrashers.

Mr Weir said about 20 security guards would be hired. 

‘‘Our marketing is not going anywhere near the Hunter Valley – we run a regular event in Sydney with an excellent crowd,’’ Mr Weir said.

‘‘They’re the people we’re targeting.’’

Mr Weir said artists would come from overseas.

‘‘They will see the Hunter is a beautiful region and likely pass that on to friends back home and come back themselves,’’ he said.

It was planned to become an annual event.

Cedars manager Bree Lewis said the event would ‘‘bring together a niche market of like-minded individuals who will enjoy music, drink local wines and experience the outdoors’’.

‘‘We do not believe one small event in a year will adversely affect the area or the environment,’’ Ms Lewis said.

Tickets had not been sold, as organisers were awaiting a decision from councillors who will consider the matter on Wednesday.

JUDY and Barry Howard oppose the party near their property.

JUDY and Barry Howard oppose the party near their property.