Happy campers essential for Beats on the Beach

Pete Murray.

Organisers of the Beats on the Beach festival at Ballina on New Years Day are engaging the local community in a bid to win over residents and ensure the event is able to go ahead next year.

To this end, organisers have included a third stage devoted to local performers and say they have gone to great lengths to search out and employ local contractors.

They are also offering more than 350 free tickets to the festival, worth $85 each, to residents living close to the festival site.

The one-day event, targeting 15 to 35-year-olds, is being held at Kingsford Smith Park in Ballina, which has a maximum capacity for 9000 people.

The inaugural festival has drawn some controversy, with a police-recommended 9pm curfew imposed by Ballina Shire Council sparking fears that hundreds of festival-goers would descend on Byron Bay and local watering holes afterwards.

The nearby Shaws Bay Hotel is closing three hours early on New Years Day to avoid any potential problems, while Byron mayor Jan Barham has expressed concerns the 9pm finish could cause an influx of people in Byron Bay, where New Year celebrations have been progressively toned down in recent years.

Beats on the Beach promoters Sam Speaight and Chris Mitchell, who had initially sought a later finish for the event, told The Northern Rivers Echo the curfew was no longer an issue and they were focussing on staging a safe event in a friendly environment.

Obviously we want to do the right thing and were trying our best to keep Ballina happy so the festival can carry on again next year, Sam said.

The festival will feature over 25 international, national and local performers including Pete Murray, End of Fashion, Karnivool and Sick Puppies.

Also included in the festival are professional and amateur skateboarding competitions and demonstrations at a specially built on-site skate ramp.

Tickets to Beats on the Beach are $95 each or $190 with camping (two nights, three days).

To book phone 132 849 or visit www.beatsonthebeach.com.au.

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