As we covered in an opinion piece back in July, the Perth Town of Claremont council is being less than hospitable to festival organisers for the hugely popular Big Day Out and Soundwave. With Claremont Mayor Jock Barker saying at the time of the Big Day Out’s first lineup announcement: “We don’t want the Big Day Out or Soundwave back in Claremont at all… they contribute nothing, we have plenty of concerts that adhere to noise levels but these particular promoters couldn’t care less.”

This week, the Western Suburbs Weekly reports that the Town of Claremont has given electronic music festival, Stereosonic 2012, the green light to go ahead for its scheduled appearance on November 25th at the Claremont showgrounds, but has not yet approved Big Day Out or Soundwave Festival for their 2013 showings.

In fact, the council are making it more difficult for the two major music events by essentially forcing them to apply through the Department of Environment and Conservation after supposedly breaching sound levels at their respective showings earlier this year.

Claremont chief executive Stephen Goode said he was approving Stereosonic Festival under delegated authority. “They had no blemishes last year so their approval is in the system at the moment ready to be signed off,” said Goode. “Soundwave is the one that’s caused all the angst and all the breaches of conditions.”

The festival that’s catered to musical fans of fast, loud, and/or heavy has already completely sold out its March 4th appearance, thanks to a mammoth lineup that includes (to name a few) Metallica, Blink 182, Linkin Park and A Perfect Circle (minus their drummer), and the application to appear at the Claremont Showgrounds site has already been sent to the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC).

“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. “We have already been asked by DEC to comment on the Big Day Out application.”

Claremont council has sent a set of conditions for the Big Day Out approval to the DEC, which will ordain whether or not to approve the festival under Claremont’s conditions, but failing that – the application will then be handballed personally to the Environment Minister Bill Marmion to decide.

Speaking previously about his comments that he didn’t want to see either music event back in Claremont, Mayor Barker stated:  “We’re not anti-concert, I’ve got children and grandchildren and friends who go to concerts but we are opposed to the noise and the antisocial behaviour specifically related to those two events.”

The Town’s tactics to make the application process more difficult for Big Day Out and Soundwave appears to be done on the basis of their clientele and for breaching sound levels, but the festival organisers have found support from the owners of the site they’re applying for.

Martin Molony, the chief executive of The Royal Agricultural Society, the proprietors of the Claremont Showgrounds, said the ongoing struggle has been a source of embarrassment: “we’ve got well-known, international acts and they should be supported from the highest levels of government,” said Molony.

As for Barker’s claims that the festival noise had ‘vastly breached’ local sound limits? “For 20 or 30 seconds, by one or two decibels,” says Mr Molony, “If we want these big name acts like the Red Hot Chili Peppers to come here, we need to give a little bit of leeway.”

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