THE Mount Alexander Shire has approved a yoga and music festival slated for Elphinstone despite some councillors voicing safety concerns.
The three-day festival is scheduled for November 12-14 on land zoned for farming.
Shire officers had recommended that councillors refuse a planning permit for the event out of concerns that included traffic congestion.
The officers also warned of safety issues and the applicants' apparent failure to demonstrate that noise would not impact on the surrounding area detrimentally.
Sixteen nearby residents also objected to the event going ahead.
Councillor Christine Henderson saying the event was a laudable idea but posed significant safety risks.
"It is in a bushfire zone, it is in the country and ... is located on a dead-end road with one egress point," she said, warning that a maximum 1500 people would need to be moved quickly if there was an emergency.
She was also concerned about the amount of traffic that would use nearby roads and the dangers of accidents.
Councillor William Maltby disagreed, saying that organisers had put together a submission and that spoke to many of the issues raised.
"It (the festival) will bring to this district an opportunity to boost the economy. If we think about tourism and COVID, there's a need," he said.
"It will also give a different festival for music lovers that hasn't been in the district for many years."
Councillor Stephen Gardner said few districts were now running festivals of this type.
"I've been to quite a few of these sorts of events and some of the bigger ones like Splendour in the Grass and One Night Stands - that is a concert, for people asking," he said.
"They are good for little towns when they occur. One of the problems at the moment is that kids up to the age of 30 actually have nowhere to go because not many places are allowing them to do these sorts of things anymore."
Councillor Rosie Annear said young people she had spoken to said the idea was an exciting one that followed a tough year.
"It's mentioned in the plan that there will be screening for drugs. How they do that will be up to their security company," she said.
"There are a number of methods but they are pretty good at it now. Festivals have to screen for drugs."
Councillor Matthew Driscoll agreed.
"Whilst I think Footloose is a fantastic movie - and I quite like Kevin Bacon - I don't want to be part of a council trying to put a ban on singing and dancing," he said.
The council voted to allow the festival go ahead with a series of revised conditions.
Councillor Gardner said organisers would have to jump "large hurdles" to meet the planning requirements to planning bodies.
"These will be difficult and if they [the organisers] don't get [them] it won't go ahead," he said.
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