Boogie Festival may yet have a future in Tallarook after a change relating to noise levels was made to the venue’s planning permit.
At the Mitchell Shire Council meeting on Monday, councillors voted unanimously in favour of the applicant to amend one condition of the planning permit attached to Our Friend’s Farm in Tallarook, which has hosted Boogie since its inception in 2008.
Condition 12 stated the music noise had to be ‘inaudible’ to surrounding properties after 10pm, which the applicant, landowner Tanya El-Gamal, and supporters of the festival said was subjective and therefore impossible to properly manage.
Boogie director Jeremy Gordon said the noise and time restrictions had changed the nature of the festival and made the operation unviable.
The applicant sought for condition 12 to be deleted, but council officers recommended it be rewritten.
“It is agreed that the current wording of condition 12 is ambiguous, and causes confusion,” Cr Rob Eldridge said at the meeting.
“The officer recommendation is to amend condition 12 to ensure a noise management plan is prepared and endorsed by council for each event [and] sets up how noise monitoring will occur during the event, what methods will be put in put in place for sound control, and prepare a report after the event regarding the compliance.”
After sustained noise complaints from neighbours since the property changed hands in 2017, Boogie organisers announced that 2021’s three-day camping festival would be its last in Tallarook.
But this week Mr Gordon told the Review that council’s decisions gave them some options.
“We are very happy with the decision and thank the council for their consideration,” he said.
“Although future Boogie Festivals are still very much up in the air, we would have had no option but to leave Tallarook without this amendment.”
The planning permit application was the subject of a community hearing at council last week, with more than a dozen speakers from the community weighing in on the permit amendment.
The amendment also sought to change three conditions in the permit around the site’s hours of operation, liquor license, music hours and location of Boogie’s Hillbilly Disco stage.
“Condition 10 was the hours of operation and the liquor license, the existing conditions for Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday are 12 noon to 1am,” Cr Eldridge said.
“The proposed condition for the application was 12 noon to 3am for those three days, and the officer recommendation is to actually keep it at 12 noon to 1am.”
Similarly, officers recommended the hours of music remain as they are, with music on the main stage finishing at 1am and the Hillbilly Disco at 3am, but the disco must be indoors.
Typically the disco ran from midnight to 3am, after the main stage closed.
This year noise restrictions meant the disco was forced inside a 140-square metre shed on the property with an intended capacity of of 120 people, for which many of the festival’s 2000 attendees had to line up.
At the community hearing last week, Ms El-Gamal said the queues to enter the disco were unmanageable.
Mr Gordon said the restrictions were not what ticket-holders had signed up for, and organisers had to offer refunds.
Following council’s decision, Ms El-Gamal told the Review she was happy with the result, and overwhelmed by community support.
“We are pleased that the councillors all voted to support the amendment, which gives us clear and more achievable operating conditions,” she said.
“It was really overwhelming to see the immense community support we have and hearing all the great experiences locals have had at Boogie over the years.”