It’s no secret that Perth’s Claremont Council aren’t fans of live music festivals.

The powers that be at the local council for Perth’s Claremont Showgrounds, have gone to lengths to butt heads with events looking to use the venue in the past.

Including battling with Soundwave, while labelling last year’s Stereosonic punters as “the worst ever,” before voicing concerns that attendees of this year’s newly expanded two-day event would rather become overnight squatters than to have the common sense to book accommodation.

So in the same week that Big Day Out has been dealing with losing its festival co-headliners Blur, right on cue, Claremont Council has attempted to kick the festival while they are down, seeking to cause trouble for the festival’s application to extend its curfew to 11pm.

The closing date of Big Day Out 2014, to be held at the Claremont Showgrounds in Perth on Sunday 2nd February 2014, is still subject to council approval, and council are furious that promoters have bypassed them and gone directly to the Department of Environment Regulation for the event to run an hour longer than its usual 10pm finish, as The Music Network reports.

“An 11pm finish is totally unreasonable,” Claremont CEO Stephen Goode tells local paper, the Cambridge Post, complaining that bands tended to grow louder later in the evening but was also furious that the Department had also given permission for Big Day Out to handle complaints from residents, rather than Claremont Council. “An 11pm finish is totally unreasonable…”

The Department tells Cambridge Post that it was standard practice for concert promoters to handle complaints, but Goode said Claremont wanted the responsibility; “Not because they enjoy being on the receiving end of residents’ anger and frustration, but because they get complaints ranging from noise to antisocial hooliganism, to traffic and parking,” adds Goode.

“I have to say this is another very unsatisfactory reflection on the department and displays either contempt for Claremont residents or a lack of professional consideration of what actually happens at these events,” the Claremont CEO raged; “It should not be too much to ask for some consideration from the department, perhaps guided by history.”

That ‘history’ includes a long track record of aggressive attitudes towards music events, including enforcing a strict 10pm curfew and noise regulations on this year’s edition of Big Day Out, a decision handed down by Environment Minister Bill Marmion after Claremont Council refused an appeal from the festival.

The application only went to the DEC after councillors used noise complaints from residents as a wedge to make the application process difficult for the long-running music festival. “We told them in discussions that they breached guidelines last year and can apply to us but we can’t approve it under our guidelines,” said Goode in October 2012.  Despite Claremont Council’s ongoing complaints and resistance, they – thankfully – are more bark than bite

The same strict 10pm curfew and noise monitoring was also applied to Soundwave 2013 the month after Big Day Out, Goode describing it at the time as a festival “that’s caused all the angst and all the breaches of conditions.” Following the event, Soundwave boss turned promoter AJ Maddah slammed the WA Government and levelling some conspiratorial accusations against local council.

Mayor Jock Barker has also spoken plenty about his distaste for hosting music festivals in Perth, previously telling Big Day Out organisers they were  “not welcome’ by a number of local councillors, and saying in January, “we don’t want the Big Day Out or Soundwave back in Claremont at all… they contribute nothing.”

Despite Claremont Council’s ongoing complaints and resistance, they – thankfully – are more bark than bite, with Soundwave, Big Day Out, and Stereosonic all gaining approval in the end, with Council rather enforcing strict regulations rather than risk the obvious economic boost the events bring to local economy.

But given the feud with Big Day Out over their 11pm curfew application and the fact that Stereosonic 2013 is set to kick-off at Perth’s Claremont Showgrounds this weekend, don’t be surprised if Claremont Council make another appearance in the news before too long.

Meanwhile, Big Day Out recently expanded their 2014 lineup with the addition of new bands to each date of its five legs, while the festival continues to search for a replacement for Blur, no matter the cost, with the new headliner expected to be announced in the coming days.

Big Day Out 2014 Dates & Venues

Friday 17th January ~ Western Springs, Auckland*
Sunday 19th January ~ Metricon Stadium & Carrara Parklands, Gold Coast
Friday 24th January ~ Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne
Sunday 26th January ~ Sydney Showgrounds, Sydney
Friday 31st January ~ Bonython Park, Adelaide**
Sunday 2nd February ~ Claremont Showgrounds, Perth**

*For New Zealand Big Day Out 2014 lineup and ticketing details, please refer and choose AUCKLAND

**Subject to council approval

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