Council conditions force change of venue for The Grass is Greener festival
Cairns music festival The Grass is Greener has been forced to change its venue at the last minute after what organisers claim is a "backflip" by council on its support for staging the event at Fogarty Park.
In a statement issued this afternoon, TGIG co-founder Oli Frost slammed Cairns Regional Council for "reneging" on the arrangement, claiming council "doesn’t want to see the Festival grow". He said organisers were "in shock" at the lack of council support.
The Grass is Greener would now most likely be held at the Cairns Showgrounds.
But in a statement issued tonight, Cairns Regional Council CEO John Andrejic blamed the organisers for "choosing to move the event away from Fogarty Park", citing a 5000-person capacity imposed by the police as the reason the organisers have been forced to find a new venue.
TGIG organiser Oli Frost had a different take on the matter.
“Despite the smooth-running success of our first two events held last year Council has since done a backflip, effectively jeopardising the future of The Grass is Greener by reneging its support in not allowing the festival to go ahead in Fogarty Park," Mr Frost said.
“Council doesn’t seem to understand that the city’s needs vary from age group to age group with regards to driving the community’s goodwill and tourism.
“We are trying hard to push Cairns tourism to the youth market down south and Council doesn’t want to know about it."
Mr Frost said Fogarty Park was the "ideal venue" for the event due to its central location, safe crowd dispersal, high-level security coverage and underage pick-up zone.
But he said the last-minute venue change wouldn't impact the quality of the event.
“We have secured people in our team who have worked on some of the best festivals in the world so just wait to see what we have in store for you,” he said.
Mr Andrejic rejected any suggestion council refused to host The Grass is Greener at Fogarty Park.
“Council remains supportive of this and other youth events in Cairns and every attempt has been made to work with the promoter to deliver a safe and enjoyable event for the youth of our city," he said.
“As such, a venue hire agreement containing standard conditions for the hire of Fogarty Park was offered to the promoter.
“However, the promoter was not accepting of the safety requirements imposed on any event held at Fogarty Park.
“Queensland Police Service has determined that the maximum safe number of people inside a fenced event at Fogarty Park is 5000. This takes into account the ability to evacuate the park quickly and safety and also for emergency services to be able to enter the venue.
“We are not willing to compromise people’s safety. In addition, if we allowed the event to proceed with an audience of more than 5000, Council would be in contravention of a QPS direction and this would negate Council’s pubic liability and professional indemnity insurance, which would put ratepayers at risk.
“We know the limitations of Fogarty Park are not ideal and recognise that Cairns is in need of a venue that can safely cater for larger youth events. This is why Council is currently investigating the future use of Cannon Park.
“Council is always willing to accommodate any event that contributes to the vibrancy and diversity of the community, providing its organisers are in turn willing to cooperate on matters of public safety.”
Presale registration tickets for The Grass is Greener Cairns and Mackay are on sale from Wednesday, 21 June, 2017.
The Grass is Greener 2017 will be held in Cairns on Saturday 14 October and Mackay on Saturday 21 October.