ARARAT Rural City Council has formally rejected an application to hold a controversial electronic music festival in Langi Ghiran State Park.
The Yemaya Festival is a four-day event that plays music almost non-stop and attracts over 3000 patrons.
The festival was last held in 2016 at Fernihurst - north west of Bendigo - on private farming property but organisers have since failed to secure permits for future events over safety, noise and drug use concerns.
The organisers applied to the Ararat council to hold the festival between April 23 to 27, 2020, in Bayindeen off Buangor-Ben Nevis Road.
However, council chief executive Tim Harrison said the council rejected the application for "a range of reasons" including noise concerns, fire safety issues, and disruption to nearby vineyard and farm operations.
"What was a considered issue was the duration of music and the noise it would create for other residents nearby, as well as how the continuous music for 40 hours would create a health risk for participants, staff and neighbours if sleep patterns were heavily impacted or people didn't or couldn't sleep at all," Dr Harrison said.
"Many people don't realise lack of sleep can be as dangerous as drink driving and not allowing for rest and recovery of all people involved across the Saturday to Monday period was an unacceptable risk."
Dr Harrison said there was room for events of this type in the Shire as long as their impacts on the community were managed.
"The Council has issued permits for two other music festivals to occur in November and March for the next four years," he said.
"Events of all kinds add to the vibrancy of the community, showcase our local area and increase visits and stays. With any event though the location, time of year and impact on the neighbours needs to be managed so the importance of site selection is a critical part of the decision making process."
Council's rejection follows an earlier one in 2017 from the Loddon Shire Council, which rejected an application from the organisers to continue holding the event at Fernihurst for the following five years.
The permit was knocked back due to several issues at the 2016 event, including drug use, camping on farmland, litter and trespassing.
Organisers sought to have the decision overturned through the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal but were rejected.
The festival organisers have been contacted for comment.
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