Festival asks for patience on issue of noise complaints
GAVIN Butlin is asking music lovers from far and wide to be patient while the Airlie Beach Festival of Music works with stakeholders to resolve issues affecting venues on the main street.
This year, and for the first time in its five year history, the festival became unwittingly drawn into an ongoing dialogue between Liquor Licensing and some of the town's most popular venues concerning noise levels.
Mr Butlin said Magnums, Beaches and the Shed Bar were the venues primarily affected.
"Magnums hosts our Battle of the Bands and is one of our biggest supporters," he said.
"So it's unfortunate that the decibel level restrictions they need to comply with couldn't be lifted for just one weekend."
In order to prove community support for the festival and its live music program, a petition was circulated throughout Airlie Beach over the weekend.
Mr Butlin thanked everyone who had taken the time to sign it but said an unfortunate consequence had been the flow-on to social media.
"This shouldn't become a trial on Facebook," he said.
"That's not what the festival's about."
Jeff Aquilina who manages the Heart Hotel, said much of the abuse had been directed at him.
"But it doesn't make sense," he said.
"Why would Heart Hotel want to stop the festival when we were fully booked for four days straight?
"I am also a part-owner of KC's and we've had record trading for four days. I think it's a great event for the town."
Mr Butlin said Mr Aquilina had personally provided the equivalent of $100,000 in support to the festival since its inception and had always been one of its greatest advocates.
He said he was hopeful all parties would amicably agree on a solution in plenty of time for next year's event.
"We've never had one bit of trouble in five years," he said.
"Everyone's just happy and enjoying the atmosphere and we want it to stay that way."
"In the meantime we'd like to thank everyone for their patience and for supporting the festival and live music for another year."