Alternative camping accommodation is being sought on North Stradbroke Island with all official camping grounds on the island closed for maintenance on the weekend of the Island Vibe festival on October 27-29.
Festival coordinator Morgyn Quinn said he was delighted that a permit was forthcoming with the Redland City Council, following some compliance issues earlier this year.
But he said that even with private camping, the closure of all camping grounds by Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC) could spell a death sentence for this and future festivals.
“Effectively this closure is sabotaging the future of the festival,” he said.
Mr Quinn said this was in spite of excellent relationships forged over 17 years with the Quandamooka community.
“We have enjoyed a healthy relationship with QYAC for many years and many staff are performers, friends, guests and patrons of the festival,” he said.
“I would love to continue the partnership. I would like to politely ask the current board of QYAC to take the time to meet with festival organisers to go over any concerns. Together we could make decisions that have positive outcomes for the artists, musicians, dancers and youth who love the festival.”
This year again, the island elders and the Yulu-Burri-Ba dancers will open the festival.
“We are staunch allies and supporters of indigenous culture. This closure [of the campgrounds] has me in disbelief,” he said.
Mr Quinn said one of the festival objectives and ideals was to foster cultural exchange with the First Nations and Pacific Island groups.
“Because the lack of camping options will impact ticket sales, we have had to downscale and cancel several acts. This closure is hurting our core objective which is to bring people together,” he said.
Mr Quinn said he did not believe QYAC’s decision was indicative of all the indigenous island community, as several traditional owners have offered to assist the event.
He said he was hopeful that QYAC would change its mind and open the parks but was also seeking support from the public to find alternative camping options.
Mayor Karen Williams said the council had received a thorough and detailed festival application, outlining plans to address key issues from past events, such as traffic management, security and safety.
“Council is currently reviewing the new documentation and working closely with festival organisers to ensure all issues are adequately addressed and align with safety and local law requirements,” she said.
QYAC president Aunty Val Coombes declined to comment.
Mr Quinn said he hoped the community would get behind this year’s festival which will showcase a plethora of local, national and international artists.
“I hope to make this one the best yet,” he said.