Second Dylan gig hits a sour note
BLUESFEST supremo Peter Noble hopes he can get Byron Council singing from the same song-sheet before being forced to head off to court to ensure there is a second concert from the legendary Bob Dylan at next Easter’s festival.
Mr Noble has been embroiled in a nationally-reported war-of-words with the council over its decision last week to defer a decision on a Bluesfest application seeking approval for an extra festival day to accommodate the second concert.
He said Dylan was ‘provisionally’ booked for the second concert on the sixth day, but if Bluesfest couldn’t guarantee the booking by the middle of January, he expected Dylan would ‘make other plans’.
The push for the second concert was made in the wake of very strong ticket sales after Dylan was announced as a festival headliner, he said.
Mr Noble said his consultants had begun talking with the council in early November about lodging a Section 96 (DA variation) application for the extra festival day.
“We have acted properly. We have followed time lines which we were told were appropriate,” he said.
“Now I am being told it’s a late application.
“I don’t want to put fellow ratepayers to the expense of going to the Land and Environment Court.
“We just can’t get any action. But we will continue to try and get some answers from the council.
“All we want to know is when our application is going to be dealt with in the necessary time line.
“It’s not in my company’s best interests to draw this out.”
Byron Mayor Cr Jan Barham said the Section 96 application had to be determined by the full council, but there was a problem getting a quorum for a meeting before January 5.
Cr Barham said she was also seeking ‘clarity’ from planning staff about when a report on the application would be completed and an agenda prepared.
She said the public exhibition period for the application had only ended last Wednesday week and there were about 30 submissions that had to be considered.
“We can’t change the planning rules. We have to abide by them,” she said.
Cr Barham said criticism of the council over the issue was unwarranted as the council was following the proper process and had always supported Bluesfest.
Mr Noble said Bluesfest was regarded as one of the top 20 festivals in the world and it was disappointing that there was a ‘small little action group that thinks we are unworthy.
“I don’t want to hold the community to ransom,” he said.
“I am just waiting for the mayor’s call.”