TICKET-HOLDERS to a Central Coast music festival face a nervous wait to see if they will be refunded admission costs after organisers cancelled the event a week out before it was due to be held.
Organisers of Mountain Sounds, a two-day festival due to be held at Mount Penang Parklands next Friday and Saturday, made the decision to cancel on Saturday, citing “the government’s war on festivals”.
The organisers said “conditions and financial obligations” imposed on the festival by the state government “were impossible to meet”.
They cited unexpected and increased costs to have police patrol the event.
“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,” a statement said.
“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.”
NSW Police responded to the claims and said there had been “numerous breaches” in pre-event paperwork.
"The information initially provided to police did not accurately reflect the number of expected attendees and revealed numerous breaches," a NSW Police spokeswoman said.
"The event organisers made a decision to cancel the festival based on financial reasons associated with the event.
"At no time did police or government direct the organisers to cancel the event.”
An email was sent to ticket-holders on Saturday morning notifying them of the cancellation.
Social media was flooded with frustrated comments shortly after and many expressed anger at facing wasted accommodation and travel costs already paid for.
The future of the popular festival also appears up in the air with the organisers unsure if they will attempt to host the event again.
“To all of our patrons who will be extremely inconvenienced by this news, we wish to express our sincerest apologies,” the statement said.
“The future ... is unclear at this point in time but we will find a way to continue our passion and commitment in bringing music and arts to the coast.
“We will be reaching out to everyone who purchased tickets to this event through our official ticketing partners next week to offer further information and advise next steps.”