Alice in Wonderland festival decision due at Cessnock

ADVENTURE: Sydney residents are expected to attend.A MUSIC festival that aims to create an “Alice in Wonderland experience” in the Hunter Valley will go before Cessnock councillors on Wednesday.

Council staff recommended approval for the festival, which is planned for a May weekend on land at Cedars Mount View resort.

The plan has attracted controversy, with residents in the area divided on its merits.

Festival co-organiser Matt Weir said the focus had been on “residents who are opposed to our event”.

“We feel that there hasn’t been enough focus on the positives that the event could bring to the area,” Mr Weir said.

“There are quite a few residents in the direct vicinity and surrounding area who are looking forward to the festival.

“This is an event that would never usually be in an area like Mount View and I believe they think this is a good thing.”

The festival planned to attract 1500 people, with about 500 vehicles expected from Sydney, along with trucks, 27 portable toilets and 20 showers.

Opponents said the area had a narrow and winding gravel mountain road, which could not handle festival traffic.

They were concerned about noise pollution affecting residents, pets, livestock and native fauna.

Millfield resident Bruce Parkin said some opponents “can’t see past the end of their driveway and sacrifice one or two nights of the year for the benefit of the community at large”.

“There are many local businesses who will do well out of this event, including wineries and holiday cottages,” Mr Parkin said.

A council report said the event was “not incompatible with the existing rural character of the site and surrounding land”.

“The proposal has been modified during the assessment process to ensure the intensity of the festival will not compromise rural land uses of the site or the surrounding area,” the report said.