Notice 'too late' to stop festival

SONIA BEAL
Last updated 15:25 13/01/2014
twisted frequency
Twisted Frequency

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An abatement notice to prevent an outdoor musical festival in the Marlborough Sounds going ahead arrived too late to call off the event, an organiser says.

Twisted Frequency was held at Otatara Bay in Pelorus Sound, on privately owned land and Conservation Department land, from December 30 to January 2.

Otatara Bay bach owners Jo Ching, of Nelson, and Maureen Farnell, of Blenheim, were livid that the festival went ahead.

Festival co-organiser David Tait said he received an abatement notice in the post from the Marlborough District Council two days before the event.

Land zoning issues and failure to get approval from the Ching and Farnell families were listed as reasons for issuing the abatement notice.

Mr Tait initially believed they were running a recreational activity.

"Leading up to the event, we were under the impression we were running a not-for-profit festival that didn't require consent," Mr Tait said.

The council told the organisers on November 26 they would have to apply for resource consent for the festival.

Council received the application on December 18.

Mr Tait said the council told him on December 11 that an application could not be processed in time for the event. He said council staff had been "very accommodating" in offering him an alternative of processing the application retrospectively.

He then sought to get written approval from Otatara Bay residents.

Organisers had made every effort to advise the disgruntled Otatara Bay bach owners that the event was going ahead and that they may not want to be around. However, Mr Tait could not convince them to sign the resource consent application, he said.

"We were on site building the event when we got an abatement notice from the council to not go ahead with the event," Mr Tait said.

"But that close to the event there was no way we could cancel it because we had a significant amount of campers heading out to the event."

There had been no phone call or email before the abatement notice arrived by post alerting them they had to cancel the event, he said.

Mr Tait wanted to let the community know that organisers had done their best to run the festival the "right way".

All the proper services had been set up on site to accommodate festival goers, who included a wide range of tourists and travellers of all ages and from all walks of life, he said.

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Apart from negative comments from a couple of residents, Mr Tait said feedback on the event had been "entirely positive".

"The event went off without a hitch, and all those people attending are still buzzing from it."

Festival-goers were well-behaved and looking forward to the next event.

The festival was not related to a similar event in the area several years ago, he said.

- The Marlborough Express

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