NSW Police Deny Pressuring The Mountain Sounds Festival To Cancel

The festival's organisers claimed they were asked to pay approximately $200,000 for the police upfront.

Mountain Sounds Festival

A day after the Mountain Sounds Festival was cancelled, the NSW Police have refuted the allegation that unreasonable surprise policing requirements were the cause.

The Mountain Sounds Festival’s organisers announced yesterday that next week’s planned event would not be going ahead. Though they’d already downsized the festival “to ensure [they] met newly imposed safety, licensing and security costs”, they claimed that, “A mere 7 days out from the event, further conditions and financial obligations were imposed on the festival, which were impossible to meet.”

Namely, the festival’s organisers claimed they had been hit with a sudden requirement to have 45 user pay police on a 24-hour cycle, rather than the 11 user pay police previously quoted. Further, the festival was being asked to pay approximately $200,000 for the police upfront.

“The combination of excessive costs, additional licensing conditions and the enforcement of a stricter timeline left us no option but to cancel the event,” said the organisers in a statement posted to Facebook. They stated that they were “shell-shocked” by this development, as they had believed they had a positive relationship with the police.

However, NSW Police has since responded, stating that the festival’s organisers initially provided them with inaccurate information.

“In this instance, the information initially provided to police did not accurately reflect the number of expected attendees and revealed numerous breaches,” said NSW Police in a statement provided to Music Feeds.

“The event organisers decided 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.”

The Mountain Sounds Festival’s organisers characterised the cancellation as a casualty of the Liberal party’s “war on festivals in NSW”. “When will our government learn that fear-mongering, bullying and oppressing the youth has never and will never work,” they wrote in yesterday’s statement.

“Our submissions were consistent with last year’s operation, yet this year authorities seemed adamant to penalise us on technicalities and clerical errors. It was strongly indicated to us that we were not going to be granted the necessary approvals required for the 2019 event to proceed next weekend.”

The festival’s organisers said will be contacting those who had already purchased a ticket “to offer further information and advise next steps”.