Adelaide Mayor: “Chill… I Do Not Want To Shut Down Soundwave”

Adelaide Mayor Stephen Yarwood has taken to Facebook to assure Soundwave fans that City Council is not trying to get rid of the festival. Mr Yarwood’s statement comes after promoter AJ Maddah claimed that Council was “turning screws behind the scene” to see the festival ousted.

“Council is not trying to shut the festival down, its standard practice to consult on events held in the Adelaide Park Lands. Seriously… business as usual,” writes Yarwood, echoing similar sentiments expressed in a statement posted to the Adelaide City Council (ACC) official Facebook yesterday.

“As the youngest Lord Mayor in Adelaide’s history (and an old school Metallica fan!) I am the biggest supporter of live music on Council,” Yarwood writes. “Those that question the value of Soundwave are not on social media, so I understand why I’m bearing the brunt regardless of my public support.”

“I DO NOT WANT to shut down this incredibly successful event!” he insists. The Mayor goes on to explain that the city is currently in a transition from “Old Adelaide” to “New Adelaide,” a process in which Council plays “a key part” and continues to work to “provide new opportunities.”

“Chill… music festivals are an important part of this landscape and I am personally keen to see them grow!” Yarwood concludes. Meanwhile, Maddah has continued to rally fans via Twitter, urging them to visit ACC’s ‘Your Say Adelaide’ page to remind Council of how important Soundwave is.

As far as the promoter is concerned, “words are cheap.” The promoter said Council should “issue the permits and not change conditions from last year. Anything else is empty platitudes.” According to Maddah, Soundwave has the best statistics in the country regarding antisocial behaviour, “yet we seem to be treated worse or at best the same as so many other events with appalling records.”

Despite Maddah’s insistence, Council remains adamant they’re not trying to oust the festival. Speaking to Triple J yesterday, councillor David Plumridge called the assertion “nonsense” and said that on the contrary, “Council is pretty keen to have the event. We want the event.”

“This is standard procedure,” he said. “All the festivals that fall under the jurisdiction of the Adelaide City Council go through the same process. Soundwave is going to expand to two days in 2015, which means the parklands will be used to bump in and bump out outside of those dates.”

The controversy started after Soundwave appeared as a topic on the council’s ‘Your Say’ open forum. While the council insisted that it was standard procedure to ask the public for their thoughts and opinions before allowing an event use of the city’s parklands, Maddah remained skeptical.

ACC is trying to get rid of [Soundwave 2015],” tweeted the promoter, later telling a follower, “Easiest way to get rid of an event is to keep adding hoops and costs til [sic] you kill it. They have adopted the Perth model.” Maddah said that the council would never explicitly say that “they’re going to get rid of it.” Instead, he posited, “They just keep turning screws behind the scene.”

Among the costs, Maddah told a Twitter follower last night, “They want to make it compulsory for us to rent these noise limiting contraptions from ACC so it could well be yet another cash grab where they charge whatever they want for the units and make it a condition of permit.”

The “noise limiting contraptions” refers to another controversy earlier this month, which stemmed from the city’s new noise limit restrictions, which have been placed on any so-called “high-risk” events. “The venue is now costing 14 times what it did 5 years ago,” said Maddah. “All we are looking for is certainty that permits are forthcoming and a chance to address any REAL issues.”

The promoter has also urged Soundwave fans to contact the Mayor “directly [and] politely” via social media to “express your love of SW.” Maddah has said that regardless of the council’s decision, the lineup announcement for Soundwave 2015 will go ahead as planned in early August.

Meanwhile, the council doesn’t look to be changing its tune. “Earlier this month we introduced new noise control guidelines that make noise restrictions easier to understand and simpler,” Mr Plumridge told Triple J. “We’re working with Soundwave to achieve a good outcome. The same rules regarding noise have been in place since 2008. I don’t think there is any reason to be concerned.”

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