The Big Day Out are no doubt celebrating over the recent news that the Sydney leg of the annual music event has sold out its allocation of tickets, a positive sign for the organisers of the reinvigorated event, but festivities are going to have to be cut short given news that’s come out of Western Australia.

As News Ltd reports the Perth leg of the Big Day Out will be forced to finish an hour earlier than other states, as well as being subject to strict noise level monitoring due to concerns by local council in the Town of Claremont, who have had a long-running feud with live music events in Perth.

The decision was passed down by Environment Minister Bill Marmion, who is enforcing ministerial conditions on the popular music festival along with their approval to be held at Claremont Showgrounds on January 28 next year. “The new conditions state that the festival must finish by 10pm and Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) will monitor noise levels throughout the event,” said Mr Marmion, adding that the finalised ministerial conditions are not subject to appeal.

The draconian conditions come after the Town of Claremont rejected the application from the Big Day Out to use the RAS Claremont Showgrounds, after noise complaints from residents and council over the touring event, forcing the festival to take their case up with the DEC, falling to Minister Marmion’s executive decision.

“I’ve taken into consideration the council’s views and advice from the DEC and weighed them against the overall benefit of the festival and ways to mitigate noise concerns,” Mr Marmion said. “The conditions enable some exceedences of noise levels to take into account factors over which the organisers have no control, such as changing winds or unusual weather conditions.”

Outside of the noise restrictions, the 10pm finishing time will affect many of the headline acts – including Red Hot Chili Peppers, Animal Collective, and Bloody Beetroots – with Big Day Out already releasing the playing times for Perth, which will now have to be rescheduled to accomodate the new restrictions, and potentially introducing new clashes.

Mr Marmion allowed organisers to start an hour earlier, at 10am, to make up for the early closing time. “I acknowledge that this is a challenging event to manage with respect to noise,” he said, “but consider that the proposed conditions of approval are reasonable and the organisers should be able to comply with them.”“The new conditions state that the festival must finish by 10pm and Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) will monitor noise levels throughout the event.” – Environment Minister Bill Marmion

In response, Big Day Out Producer Ken West issued a statement regarding the new enforcements reading:

“We are reviewing the Ministers ruling after receiving a written copy late yesterday. We are working with all stakeholders including venue, transport, police and State government to address the public safety and transport issues that have arisen from the Ministers decision and are prioritising those issues first. We look forward to bringing the full show to Perth on 28 January.”

It’s the latest news in an ongoing saga in wich Claremont council has been making life difficult for Big Day Out and its festival brethren for most of the year, starting with Mayor Jock Barker, telling Big Day Out organisers they were  “not welcome’ back in March. “I don’t want to see it back [here],” said Mayor Barker at the time, “I was happy to see the back of it. It does nothing useful for the town.” His gripes eventually forcing a down-sized line-up to play at nearby McCallum Park.

Most recently however, Claremont council labelled Perth’s Stereosonic “the worst ever” festival over complaints about congested transport to the event, and even punters’ behaviour and hygiene; all this despite giving the green light to the large-scale electronic music festival as a slander towards the 2013 legs of Big Day Out and Soundwave after butting heads over council approval – using noise complaints as the major bugbear and primary platform for their grievances with the major touring festivals.

It’s not too much of a stretch to assume that Claremont Council then used their concerns over Stereosonic as fodder against hosting Big Day Out and Soundwave at the RAS Showgrounds in 2013, rejecting their applications and letting them fall to the DEC, resulting in the new mandatory restrictions.

The Big Day Out policing may well foreshadow problems with Soundwave – who have released an extra allocation of tickets to the already sold out event for its March 4th showing at Perth’s Claremont Showgrounds. Considering the hard and heavy festival’s massive (and loud) lineup, it too is most likely to face similarly tight restrictions with local council and the DEC.

There’s clearly more at stake from Perth Council’s aggressive tactics towards the Big Day Out and Stereosonic festivals here than simply neighbours having to put up with one noisy evening or two out of a whole year.

A fact that Martin Molony, the chief executive of The Royal Agricultural Society – the proprietors of the Claremont Showgrounds – has acknowledged; calling  the ongoing struggle a source of embarrassment. “We’ve got well-known, international acts and they should be supported from the highest levels of government,” said Molony.

Adding that the claims of festivals ‘vastly breaching’ local sound limits as being “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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