Concerns over size of new beach music festival
PLANS for a two-day rock concert on Coolangatta Beach are anything but music to the ears of the local chamber of commerce.
The SandTunes Music Festival, planned for November 30 and December 1, is back on after the original event planned for last year was postponed.
Following concerns presented by the Greater Southern Gold Coast Chamber of Commerce and Division 14 Councillor Gail O'Neill, plans for SandTunes last year were revised - it was brought back to one day and the crowd size estimates were reduced from 35,000 to 25,000.
However, newsletters distributed to local business have indicated the festival would now be back to two days on the beach at Coolangatta.
Chamber president Hilary Jacobs said there had been a number of meetings between representatives of promoter TEG Dainty, which had provided an outline of SandTunes, but there were still many questions to be answered.
"We have had many businesses expressing their concerns about the event and the impact it would have at a very busy time of the year,” she said.
"A newsletter issued by the promoter has said it would 'deliver significant economic benefit' to the southern Gold Coast but there seems to be a lack of detail as to how this would happen.
"Concerns raise by local businesses have included the length of time the event would impact on Coolangatta Beach, transport issues, the size of the crowd, the opportunity for businesses to engage patrons and accommodation.”
Ms Jacobs said the festival would take up a large area of Coolangatta Beach, stretching from the area in front of the Coolangatta Surf Life saving Club down to north of Greenmount Surf Life Saving Club.
"We have been told that organisers would need to start setting up from November 14 and then have until December 9 to dismantle the stages, of which there will be three,” she said.
"It appears that they would want to block off Marine Parade and allow an express bus lane to cater for an estimated 120 buses bringing in patrons.
"Apparently, there would be park and ride stations at Tugun and Chinderah, and buses bringing people from the heavy rail station at Varsity Lakes directly to Coolangatta.
"We believe there will be no pass outs, which would exclude local businesses from capitalising on the crowd, although that may change.”
Given the time of the year, Ms Jacobs has serious reservations about accommodation which is usually pre-booked for that time of the year.
"I don't know where they think people can stay locally as that is right at the start of the holiday period and people have already arranged accommodation,” she said.
"I am also concerned that this is a younger demographic - this isn't a family friendly event and that's what we have been working hard to promote the southern Gold Coast as.
"We are all in favour of major events - Cooly Rocks On is a prime example of just how successful family friendly events can be. I don't think SandTunes fits that criteria.”
Division 14 Councillor Gail O'Neill voted against the festival when it came before the council and said she found it "difficult to find any positives”.
"It comes at a time of year when we are entering our peak holiday period and to have 35,000 people every day taking up one of our most appealing beaches on the southern Gold Coast doesn't make sense,” Cr O'Neill said.
The Tweed Daily News contacted the promoter for a response.