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WA Council Heats Up Over Proposed Live Music Venue

Written by Nastassia Baroni on February 27, 2014

Sunset Events, the company behind iconic West Coast Blues ‘n’ Roots Festival, Southbound and Laneway are facing opposition from a Fremantle residents association over its plans to build a new multimillion-dollar concert venue, arts hub and microbrewery in the city’s historic West End.

The West Australian reports, that while the city of Fremantle is expected to give the development the green light, concerns have been raised by the Fremantle Inner-City Residents Association who submitted a 216-signature petition objecting to the plan.

Sunset Events have applied for a 21-year lease to re-develop areas surrounding Fremantle’s Arthur Head Reserve, with plans to open a 1500 capacity concert venue. Complete with its own 850 capacity tavern, craft brewery, cafe and gallery space.

“Our vision draws on the relaxed and bohemian culture that already exists in Freo,” managing director David Chitty said. In true Freo style, he said the vision is to integrate local creative industries into an “artisan food and beverage space.”

While a city council consultation revealed strong public support for the proposal, with 80 per cent of participants in favour of the proposed venue, some residents raised concerns about the size of the venue and the large number of patrons.

As reported in Tone Deaf, a Special Electors Meeting was held on Monday 24th February, where a crowd of around 200 Fremantle residents voiced their disapproval with the proposed venue, chiefly over its size and capacity.

“This is about council plainly disregarding the views of its electorate and planning a large-scale development on one of the State’s most significant A-class reserves,” FIRCA J-shed committee chairman Dick Baynham told The West Australian.

This is the latest in a string of tussles festival promoters have faced with local councils in Western Austrlia. The most notable being the face-off between Big Day Out promoters and Claremont council earlier this year, which ultimately resulted in the cancelation of the event in WA for the foreseeable future.

Soundwave promoter AJ Maddah, who also promoted Big Day Out this year, has also hinted that next Monday’s Soundwave could also be the last in on Australia’s west coast after ongoing battles with local and state governments.

According to Tone Deaf, this is not the first time the Southbound promoters have scuffled with local residents. They faced opposition in October last year, against their bid to move the growing festival from Bussleton to a new site in Hamelin Bay. Local residents argued the music festival would bring along noise pollution, traffic congestion, and environmental damage.

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