NSW music festival cancelled amid 'war on festivals', say organisers

The Mountain Sounds Festival has been cancelled with organisers blaming 'excessive costs' of police coverage, but authorities have hit back.

A NSW music festival has been cancelled just a week out from the event, with organisers saying it's "another example of the government's war on festivals".

Mountain Sounds Festival was due to be held on the Central Coast next weekend, but organisers on Saturday announced it wouldn't be going ahead.

It's the second NSW music festival to be cancelled this week, and comes after publicity surrounding festival drug use and deaths.

In a lengthy post on the Mountain Sounds Facebook page, organisers blamed "excessive costs, additional licensing conditions and the enforcement of a stricter timeline".

"We, like many of you, have seen the festival climate continue to diminish in Australia. NSW in particular is in dire straits," they said.

"This is yet another example of the government's war on festivals."

Organisers said they'd agreed to downsize their site and cancel more than 20 acts to make sure they met newly-imposed safety, licensing and security costs.

However, they were then told they would have to pay an extra $200,000 for 45 police officers.

"This came one week out from the festival and blindsided us as we were quoted for 11 user pay police on the 18th of January," they said.

They'd been put in an impossible situation as it was unrealistic for them to pull the money together, the Facebook post said.

But NSW Police said the information provided "did not accurately reflect the number of expected attendees and revealed numerous breaches".

"The event organisers made a decision to cancel the festival based on financial reasons associated with the event," police said in a statement.

AAP understands in one meeting with authorities in late January, organisers advised they were likely to cancel the event as it was not financially viable.

But organisers changed their view subsequently and said the festival would go ahead with 8000 attendees, which was significantly more than the "few thousand" people previously advised to police.

Information supplied to authorities also revealed sub-standard plans and preparation and inadequate medical resources, AAP understands.

In response to questions over the cancellation, a NSW Government spokesperson said community safety was the highest priority for the government. 

"At no time did police or government direct the organisers to cancel," the spokesperson said.

Artists due to perform include Courtney Barnett and Angus & Julia Stone.

Another NSW music festival, Psyfari, also took aim at the state government on Wednesday when they announced they were cancelling their 2019 event.

"While we had full intention of going ahead ... the current political climate surrounding festivals in NSW has made this something harder than ever before," a post on Psyfari's Facebook page said.

Organisers said "excessive rules, bans on BYO alcohol" and "overly heavy police presences" were not what they had in mind when they started the event - nor were festivals with a ticket price of $500.

"It seems likely that this is the way things are going, with one of the government's best weapons being the ability to force excessive costs onto events in order to phase them out," they said.

"We are unfortunate to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when festivals are the new scapegoat of a failed government and their failed war on drugs."

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has been contacted for comment.

Published 9 February 2019 at 3:02pm, updated 9 February 2019 at 8:13pm
Source: AAP