Festival draws ire of bach owners

02:45, Jan 10 2014
twisted frequency
Twisted Frequency

Bach owners at Otatara Bay in Pelorus Sound are livid that organisers of the Twisted Frequency outdoor music festival went ahead with the event at New Year without the required resource consent.

Festival organiser David Tait said earlier this week that he had not received any complaints following the event that ran December 30 to January 2, giving him the impetus to make it "bigger and better" next time.

Hundreds attended the event, although organisers refused to give the Express exact numbers.

Residents had been very supportive of the all-ages, alcohol and drug-free festival, he said.

But Jo Ching, of Nelson, said the picture Mr Tait painted was a farce.

"The noise for three nights and four days was astronomical," Mrs Ching said.


"It was all day and all night - thump, thump, thump, thump.

"There were drugs, there were drunk people coming up to our place, people pooing and peeing by trees, and one person who had a poo by the roadside."

Mrs Ching stayed at the family bach with husband John and her former son-in-law and two grandchildren from Boxing Day until the end of the festival.

She said she feared for the welfare of her family and some festival goers.

"Who would want to be camping around there with all those drunks and ropeheads? You'd be fearing for yourself."

One day, when she walked down to the beach she came across a "very morose-looking chap" sitting by himself.

She walked further along the beach to a tent where a woman was handing out tickets and told her about the young man.

"She said, ‘I do hope he hasn't gone into the sea because some people can't take these types of festivals'."

Another Otatara Bay bach owner, Maureen Farnell, of Blenheim, was annoyed that another festival had been held.

She said she was at the bach with her family when Twisted Frequency was first held there about four years ago. Her family had decided against spending their Christmas/New Year break at the bach this time.

"You need a resource consent for this," she said. "He's a festival organiser so he knows what he's doing."

The previous festival was "a bloody nuisance", she said.

"We couldn't get any sleep. There were people roaming around half drunk, half drugged.

"The toilets didn't arrive for two days.

"My brother was camping in a tent about 500 metres away [from the festival site] and the tent was vibrating [from music]. We couldn't stand it, so we left."

Among those who signed Mr Tait's resource consent application was Otatara Bay resident Margaret Harvey, whose property was adjacent to the site.

"Where else are teenagers, young people and even old people going to enjoy music?" she asked.

Her daughter, Sally Harvey, also gave her signature. She attended the event and said she was not concerned that Mr Tait did not have the necessary consent to go ahead with the festival.

Linkwater Services service station co-owner John Smith signed the application but did not own property near the site. His business was located on the road near the festival site and was affected by increased traffic going past, he said. Mr Smith went to the festival to help with a couple of vehicle breakdowns.

The Marlborough District Council received a resource consent application from Mr Tait on December 18. However, council resource consent officer Peter Johnson said the consent had not been granted. Undertaking this activity without consent was a breach of section 9 of the Marlborough Sounds Resource Management Plan, Mr Johnson said.

Mr Tait had planned to put up two stages, and set out four different camping areas, three of which were on Department of Conservation land. One of the planned stages was also on DOC land.

Council compliance manager Garth Congdon said Mr Tait could face prosecution in the Environment Court. Otherwise, he may simply be told he needed a resource consent to hold any similar events in future, he said.

The decision on whether to take further action lay with council's enforcement and prosecution committee, which would meet later this month.

The committee would require evidence about the adverse impact of the event, Mr Congdon said.

He encouraged complainants to write to council about their concerns.