Music

“Outrageous”: Mountain Sounds Organisers Hit Back At Gladys Berejiklian And NSW Police

"To imply that we are putting profits ahead of the health and safety of our patrons is both disingenuous and patently untrue."

Gladys Berejiklian Mountain Sounds

Mountain Sounds Festival organisers have slammed NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian for implying the festival was neglecting the safety of patrons in their quest to make a “quick dollar”.

During a press conference on Monday, the Premier dismissed suggestions that the NSW Police — who imposed a “$200,000 for 45 user pay police” fee just one week before the festival was scheduled to take place — was at all to blame for the event’s abrupt cancellation.

“I don’t think it’s fair for organisers to blame anybody but themselves,” she said. “There are rules in place. We want young people to have fun, we want more tourism to the Central Coast and other places. But the festival organisers just have to obey the law. It’s not just about making a quick dollar, it’s also about keeping the people who turn up safe.”

Organisers have now hit back at her comments, writing in a statement to Music Junkee that the implication that they “are putting profits ahead of the health and safety of our patrons” is “both disingenuous and patently untrue.”

“The site build had commenced at Mount Penang Parklands on Thursday February 7,” they wrote. “At that point, all medical, security, ambulance, health and event requirements had been properly costed and budgeted. Later that day we were advised of the sudden increase in user-pay police. Despite receiving an invoice for 11 user pay police at 10:46am on February 7, at the meeting — a mere 14 minutes later at 11am — we were advised this number had increased to 45 user pay police, amounting to an upfront cost of approximately $200,000.

“[Before this] Brisbane Waters Local Area Command had given us a “10 out of 10″ at a stakeholders meeting on January 17 for all of our responses on medical, security, ambulance, health and event planning.”

Mountain Sounds also shared with Music Junkee a screenshot of an article from the Daily Telegraphdated February 9, which featured a quote from Central Coast duty office Acting Inspector Phil Burgess via Central Coast paper Express Advocate. He told the paper the police were “not expecting any major drug problems at the festival.”

“(The festival) is a different demographic (to Lost Paradise),” he told the paper. “Usually (Mountain Sounds) is more of an older crowd.”

According to festival organisers, the quote appears to have been removed from the article following the cancellation of the event last weekend. See below:

Mountain Sounds

Screenshot of the Daily Telegraph article supplied by Mountain Sounds festival organisers.

“This quote further debunks Gladys’ comments about only ‘high risk’ festivals being subjected to such harsh conditions, and her comments today regarding Bluesfest being exempt from the new festival policies because they only apply to those who have not run festivals properly in the past,” organisers stated.

“MSF has run for six years with zero major drug-related incidents, and as you can see from this quote the NSW Police agreed they weren’t expecting any issues at the 2019 event.”

“The recent cancellations of Psyfari, Wollombi, Bohemian Beatfreaks, Mountain Sounds — and now even Bluesfest feeling the pressure to relocate states — is just the beginning,” organisers warned. “It is outrageous that we and every other event in this State have had zero opportunity to have any consultation or input into the new policies.

“We ask that all those who care about the future of live entertainment in NSW please stay informed, ask questions, and vote Liberals last.”