Not so nice neighbours

25 Mar 2015

There’s two ways to achieve a Buddhist Zen like state. One is years of silent meditation retreats, the other is dealing with the old Town neighbours and having to retain a sense of calm.

Next to Charnwood, the first Town site, is a little-co-op that is home to a number of residents on different dwellings. After getting the site owners on Charnwood onboard for the festival, the next step was getting the neighbours approval.

The organiser visited their property, and brought his lovely girlfriend to sweeten the deal, as she has a magic way with this stuff. The founder of the co-op was actually a really lovely human and open to the festival. They had recently rejected a doof festival, which lead to a legal letter from the council saying it must be cancelled, so we made it very clear that we were coming from a very different place.

One by one we got the neighbours approval, on very particular conditions, such as the music being turned off by midnight each night, and a little bit later on the main night. There was one neighbour who just kept giving us hell though, with aggressive messages saying things like all the animals and birds killed by our traffic would be counted and made public. Despite three neighbours making things really hard, the council got behind us, and the gig went ahead.

It all went super smooth but we did stuff up on the main night when the stage manager left their shift and we were so busy or sleep deprived from working, no-one told Tom Cosm to stop playing. Short on music to choose from, his chill set turned into a doof one and went an hour over curfew. It could be heard way down the road at the campground. Oops.

Sunday of the festival one of the neighbours came down and kindly asked the organiser sign a document to give them full access to the permit. Feeling cornered, he said no, and that’s when she lost it, as did her husband the next day who yelled at the organiser that he was a totally full of shit salesman who has no credibility. So yeah, that meeting didn’t end so well.

The next year the council mediated an agreement between the neighbours and the site on the conditions of the festival. It took weeks and weeks and we were told to stay out of it, but finally a month before the festival they came to an agreement. The same couple that cracked it waited till the week before the festival and then tried to find a loophole in the agreement and cancel the event. On the Friday night just before end of business day, the organiser got an email from the council saying that they’d received this complaint, and that they’d need to assess if the festival can happen. That weekend $20,000 was spent, and none of the crew were told the festival was in jeopardy.

First thing Monday the organiser drove to Benalla to speak to the council and was luckily told that while the neighbours had a lawyer in their co-op, he was not a planning lawyer, and that they would support us.

This couple had shot themselves in the foot, and Year 3, our final year on that site, they went on a holiday we didn’t hear a single word from the neighbours.


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