The future of Victoria’s Yemaya Festival is in doubt, after organisers were denied a permit to hold this year’s event.
The festival was due to take place in Fernihurst (north-west of Bendigo) this April, but Loddon Shire Council has refused to give organisers permission for the event due to concerns over drug use and safety at the event.
In a statement, festival organisers say, “We’re still liaising with council to overcome a few objections from local residents but want to be completely open and advise that we’re at the point of considering contingency plans for the festival, including a potential date change if it comes to it.
“We are devoted only to running the event in the safest and most professional manner possible with the full support of all presiding authorities, and look forward to hopefully providing some good news to that end soon.”
As the ABC reports, Loddon Shire Mayor Neil Beattie says concerns were raised about the festival following last year’s event.
“There were seven or eight objections to the permit and the police department was one of them,” Mayor Beattie says.
“Their main concern was drug and alcohol abuse and [patrons] leaving the scene quite clearly affected … quite significant cases of it and a vehicle rollover, which was dangerous. So council has decided not to approve the permit.”
Ken Pattison, who is planning to host Yemaya Festival on his property this year, disagrees with the council, arguing that the festival provided a $250,000 boost to the local economy in 2016.
“[The organiser] has written a long letter to all the councillors and staff appealing for them to reverse their decision on their [next] mid-month council meeting,” he says.
“The community are just starting to find out it’s been knocked back… and I’m getting phone calls saying they can’t believe it’s not going to be held this year.”
Yemaya organisers say tickets will be refunded if the event doesn’t go ahead. Read their statement regarding Loddon Shire Council, below.
Yemaya Festival Statement (Via Facebook)
We love the Yemaya community unconditionally, and for us, love isn’t completely honoured without openness and honesty. So, with a deep breath, we have some sad news to share.
Yemaya Festival had its latest permit application denied by the Loddon Shire Council, but we don’t want to freak you all out just yet.
We’re still liaising with council to overcome a few objections from local residents but want to be completely open and advise that we’re at the point of considering contingency plans for the festival, including a potential date change if it comes to it.
We still have great faith that we can overcome the last few obstacles to the permit and are doing everything in our power to save our hopes and dreams alongside, we suspect, quite a few of yours.
We promise we will update you with honest information as and when it is available.
Please be assured that our intentions are only sincere, and know that ticket refunds will be available if the festival circumstances change significantly.
We love you guys and are grateful for all the positive energy we know you’ll send our way over the next few daunting days.
Please refrain from messaging us via the page for the next few days as we will be focusing on the permit process, we promise to update you very shortly.
We are devoted only to running the event in the safest and most professional manner possible with the full support of all presiding authorities, and look forward to hopefully providing some good news to that end soon.
Much love from the whole Yemaya Crew