20 May, 2021
Police talk of festival bans angers Kilcoy business owners
Local business people are angry about recent comments by Kilcoy police that certain types of festivals should be discouraged from being granted permission to operate in the Kilcoy district. "Kilcoy police have forgotten about the economic value to the local community that festivals bring," Alben Perrett of Landcruiser Mountain Park said this week.
Alben was responding to the front page article "Police say festival not welcome in Kilcoy" (Sentinel News 6 May, 2021) in which local police Sergeant Martin Tanwan stated festivals like "Rabbits Eat Lettuce" attract a large amount of drug users and suppliers of drugs to the area and should be discouraged from being granted permission to operate within the Kilcoy district.
Alben Perrett said the benefit to the local economy from these festivals was huge, especially as we recover from Covid-19, and these benefits far out-weighed the impact of the small few who misbehaved.
"Before Christmas we hosted the 'Elements' festival which attracted 6,200 people. We had over 6,000 people here for 'Rabbits Eat Lettuce' and we have another three more of these festivals coming up which we expect will each attract between 6,000 and 7,000 people. That is a great benefit to the local economy," Alben said.
"We just spent $80,000 on roadworks at the Park for the festival and they were all local contractors who performed the work, from the machine operators to the water truck drivers. And there is still more work to come their way.
"Everyone from the Kilcoy BP service station, to the hotels, supermarkets and bakeries benefit when that number of people pass through town. I even heard it was huge benefit for businesses in Woodford as travellers ventured back home after the weekend.
Alben and Helen Perrett run Landcruiser Mountain Park on their cattle property "Diaper", 20 minutes north of Jimna, in the Somerset Region which is where the recent "Rabbits Eat Lettuce" festival was hosted.
The park has hosted festivals for decades and even run their own events including the annual Off Road 4WD Expo and Mud, Bulls and Music which also attract thousands of spectators and visitors to the local area.
"We are located out in the bush, in the middle of nowhere, so we are not annoying anybody. We have plenty of room so it is Covid-safe. It is the best spot to run festivals like this. It is better than people doing it illegally in the forestry or other places where there is no control and no-one to clean up the mess.
"Now because the local police don't like these types of festivals, the Somerset Regional Council is getting on the band wagon and suddenly there is talk that we may have go through a town planning process which could cost $15,000 to $20,000 in council fees.
"You will never stop people from taking drugs. This event is run in a safe, controlled environment. The organisers of 'Rabbits Eat Lettuce' spent $65,000 on providing a specialised medical set-up for the festival. It was phenomenal with 20 medics on-site and 28 security. Only five people were transported for further medical attention. There was no major trouble or dramas - only odd little incidents," Alben concluded.
Glen and Anita Teichmann of Kilcoy run G.A.T. Haulage are one of the local contractors who receive regular work at Landcruiser Mountain Park.
Glen said the additional work these festivals have brought his business and other local businesses over the past twelve months has helped them recover from the Covid-19 pandemic shutdowns last year.
"We have been contracted to do more work at Landcruiser Park later in the year for the other festivals which we are really appreciative of," Glen said.
Glen's wife, Anita, said the 'Rabbits Eat Lettuce' festival was absolutely awesome.
"We spent the weekend on-site working at the festival and I was amazed at how professionally it was run," Anita said.