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Concerns about proposed 3 Day “Music Festival” in Hartley Valley


This comment is from a concerned resident of the Valley:

Hi there, Haven’t spoken to anyone from this website before, but I’m resident in Ambermere Drive who is concerned about the proposed 3 day Rave Party in the Hartley Valley. I have recently spoken to an Events Coordinator at the Lithgow Information booth to get some more information about this event. He was quietly optimistic about the proposal, telling me it was a very tightly run operation – drug and alcohol free, with a high admission fee likely to prevent attendees wandering off and into residents properties. However, am I the only person who thinks this entire proposal is insane on every level? Three days of loud music in the valley will travel far and wide.

If I can hear the trucks climbing up the pass from my bedroom at night, what will rave music sound like at half the distance? Isn’t Hartley a community of residents who primarily live in the area to enjoy the country life, and the peace and quiet. I missed the information day, but I believe the documentation on it suggested up to 20,000 attendees may attend the event. That’s the entire population of Lithgow (as per the 2009 census).

What’s more, have you read today’s news? http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/84-arrested-at-western-sydney-rave-20130421-2i85e.html  84 people have just been arrested at the “tightly run” event that ID&T run at the Sydney Dragway. So for what it’s worth, and from what I understand so far, I am completely against this event, and can scarcely think of a more intrusive and inappropriate event for the Hartley area. When I first heard about it, I thought it may have been an April Fools joke. But what’s the feeling among other people? Am I alone in this view?

Regards, Rob.


Editor’s Note (July 2013):

The latest news about this proposed festival is that, fortunately for most of us, although not everyone agrees, the Q-Dance Festival people have rejected Hartley Valley for their 3 days of electronic “music” in favour of a more remote valley where there are fewer neighbours and animals to distrub.


  1. This is an insane idea and I urge Lithgow and Blue Mountains Councils to refuse permission. It’s on the border of both councils and residents of both will be impacted.

    Loud noise to 2am is well beyond Council regulations and State Government laws. The police will be inundated with complaints. They can’t guarantee all noise will instantly stop at 2am either.

    Why should I have to spend three days elsewhere to avoid it? They expect anyone within earshot to leave? And they can guarantee vacant houses won’t be broken into?

    20,000 extra people in cars on the Highway is more than it can cope with, even if they arrive by train they still have to be bussed down and up the Pass. And where are they going to park? What happens when it rains?

    Starting, finishing and provisioning will see dozens of trucks on the Highway carting the equipment.

    How can it be secure unless they erect their own fences? They won’t be able to control who goes in or out or when.

    No drugs and alcohol? They can’t enforce it at other closed events, why is this one different?

    It’s not live music. It’s a rave party and totally unsuitable and unnecessary for this area.

    Extra dollars for the local area? No disrespect to Hartley businesses but can they feed 20,000 people? Everything needs to be brought in, yet more trucks on the Highway.

    How will they power it? How about toilets, showers etc?

    What about the wildlife? The noise and bright lights will have wide-ranging impacts on birds and animals, disrupting their feeding, communicating and sleeping patterns.

    How much rubbish will 20,000 people generate? More trucks on the Highway to remove it, assuming they will remove it.

    And finally who’s the idiot who’s willing to have this on their land? They’ll have to clean up the inevitable mess left behind.

  2. Marie.
    With the rest of the facts you have supplied it would seem that there is very little (if any) benefit to Lithgow and surrounding areas from this event.
    Whilst I understand the young one’s needing something to do, I dont think this event, right here is the answer.
    I would respectfully suggest to you that you will never see 135db of music at your home, at the site, maybe, still, way too loud for any degree of comfort.
    I have a great sound level meter we can find out how loud it is with!
    Fran Leighton is right, Hartley needs more (detailed)information about this event.
    From what I have read so far, I can only say that ‘I’ think nothing good can come of it.
    If they are putting it out there they are obviously worried about the effect it would have in the township.
    Lithgow residents would never stand for the noise so why should Hartley residents?
    The Lithgow showground is such a wasted facility.

  3. People need to get their facts straight. My daughter and her friends have been to Defcon at Penrith and they say it is the best music festival in Australia, but this new event is trying to bathe in the reflected glory of Defcon. Their last event at Eastern Creek dragway paints a different picture. Hanna – you are either naive or a stooge for the promoters, because if you believe all that stuff about strict security you would believe anything. Apparently they had so many break-ins to the Dragway event, people paying over $100 per ticket were not happy to hear how easy it was to break in. And they think they can keep people out of a farm, when they can’t keep people out of Eastern Creek drag way! Rivers of gold that people say will come to the local area – the more likely picture is a small number of people will make a whole of money and the rest of us have to listen for three days to doof doof music. The guy AJ jack says it all – he suggests we all leave town if we don’t like it. Thanks buddy. Sounds like you are ready to make a buck. Local businesses – why don’t the organisers spell out how they will support local businesses – Heineken anyone? Haven’t they heard of Australian beer?

  4. For the record, the Fran who has already commented on this issue is not me! We all need more information about this event. Then we should decide. Hopefully it won’t come down to the decision of one person who is approached by the organisers with vast sums of money! Very tempting!

  5. A music festival in Hartley?
    While we have a multimillion dollar showground in town and businesses screaming for people to spend money in them?
    I don’t understand the thinking here, unless its the noise levels.
    Being in town would have resolved so many other issues.
    We had the same problem with a Blues Festival in Lithgow in 1996.
    As a result of all the whingers we lost what could have been what is now a huge Sydney festival.
    Lithgow lost a gem.
    Nearly 5000 people came, stayed and spent money in Lithgow for at least three days, most staying overnight, filling the motels and hotels, the showground, Watsford and Conran camping, injecting huge amounts of money into all areas of the business community.
    Lithgow was “FULL” as was Wang, Rydal, Tarana and Portland!
    Those wowsers who could whinge, did, we lost support and the festival.
    A lot of the whinging was (as usual) local politics based.
    Instead now we have Ironfest where the majority (which is a lot less than the Lithgow Blues Music Festival drew to town,)blow in and out on a daily basis and the benefit to the Lithgow business community is minimal to say the least.
    The benefit to the organisers of Ironfest is considerable.
    The ‘undesirable’s’ that people didn’t want in town because of the Blues Festival were no worse than the ‘ferals’ that turn up for Ironfest.
    Now Hartley is to get it own brand of ‘ferals’ with its own unique problems, one of which is the fact that the audience is virtually a ‘captive audience’ with nowhere to jump on a train or bus to leave.
    Now with all that said, I’m not sure I would like it in my back yard either, but if we keep letting every opportunity get away because of a little inconvenience then we all suffer in some way anyway.
    Imagine if the people of Bathurst just put their foot down about the effects of the Bathurst races?
    How much income would be lost from the community, benefitting everyone, remembering the flow-on effect?
    Better the whole show be contained in a fenced off facility designed especially for such events, where it CAN be managed properly.
    Its called the LITHGOW SHOWGROUND, an already wasted resource.
    If we put less importance on its use by the rugby league players and cricketers, it may actually get some use for events like this.
    I get to hear the Court House Hotel as clear as a bell at my house on the hill every time a band is on, so YES I understand your plight in Hartley with the noise.
    This is 3 days in one year, we get the Court House Hotel at least once a week and we get it at around 90db of sound level when its a still night.
    I think we all need to have a little tolerance but this event certainly wasn’t very well thought out.

    • You raised some good points, Lee. A couple of bits of info that you might not know. The 3 day event is a closed event to those who hold tickets only and the organisers in an email said “festival-goers remain on the festival site and we don’t issue pass-outs”. The hotels, motels and caravan parks will not get extra bookings. Food, accommodations and amenities will all be provided on-site. No extra sales in the local supermarkets, cafes or restaurants. No alcohol is allowed in as it must be purchased on site. No extra sales for hotels or liquor outlets. No one walking along the streets of Lithgow buying anything! I think a Blues Festival with 5,000 people could be managed well but I don’t think a dance party with 20,000 people could be managed well. The dance party doesn’t “go off” unless the light show is huge and the music is very loud – nothing like a Blues Festival. The noise levels could be in excess of 135dB and we know that the dB scale goes up exponentially. A 3dB increase means a doubling in sound level. I suppose if there is a local who can get the job for supply of Portaloos and some local artists are hired to face paint etc there might be a small benefit to those people.Yet the organisers have said in their flyer that “to protect our international reputation we ensure we only have experienced and professional event management teams” so I’m not sure that they’d trust the locals with too much to do. Perhaps we’ll all get a job cleaning up at the end. Lastly, we live in a democratic country so putting out a view in defence of your own position is not having a whinge. It’s applying your right to reply to a proposal before it goes ahead.

  6. I totally agree it would be naive to think there would be no problems with a ‘ gathering’ of this size let alone naive to believe that it is a no alcohol / drugs event. This would be better suited elsewhere maybe somewhere like Homebush where party goers can be controlled and contained, not let free to behave as they wish in our beautiful valley.

  7. The idea that 20 000 people could come through Hartley Valley and leave us without any problem is naive at best. Think of how inadequate our roads are, especially when it rains, and imagine all the vehicles! Never mind the sort of behaviour that some call “fun” that is inevitable. Do we want to be the Schoolies host of NSW? We do not need to be put on the international map for this festival. No pride there. Hartley Valley is known for its humble history, beautiful views,character and charm – aspects that are not needed nor appreciated by the rave party. Loud music and light shows enhanced by lots of alcohol (served at the venue – one of the sponsors is Heinekin) and whatever else can be brought in is the reality. Simply saying that residents need to stop whinging because teenagers ought to be allowed to have their fun is disrespect for the community and its people. The event could be held in a more appropriate place, away from a small community, for those who like rave culture.

  8. We moved to Little Hartley for peace and quiet mostly at night we’ve already experienced 24hr parties since we moved here and as a person who works weekends I for one need my sleep and has anyone noticed the highway traffic on a weekend if you need this music festival put it somewhere where there is more space and won’t intrude on honest working families.

  9. Oh please, it’s not like it’ll keep you awake 3 days straight. Enjoy something once in a while. I agree with Hanna, stop thinking about yourself. If it’s that bad, book a hotel in Katoomba.

  10. Did you never have fun when you were a teenager? Did you never want to be able to go to something that is world famous and not have to travel 3 or 4 hours to get to? It is time to stop thinking about just yourself and think about the younger generation in the area. Of course you are going to get people that are going to try and break the rules, this is why there is such a strict security plan in place at festivals. I think it is one of the best things for the LGA that there is going to be something for the youth of the town to be able to attend.
    3 days out of say 20,000 days of your life will a couple of hours of music that you do not enjoy is not going to kill you.
    Imagine the thrill of being able to tell your friends and family that your home town hosted one of the largest festivals in the whole world, The excitement that your younger generations of your family will be able to have because of the Q dance team wanting to have it in your home town.

    • Not “3 days out of 20 000” – it is not planned as a once off but as an annual event. Not “a couple of hours” of music either. For three days from 2pm until 2am. At Eastern Creek the organisers were disappointed with the noise levels that the council allowed them! So the noise levels they would like must be through the roof if Eastern Creek was inadequate. There is no thrill in hosting rave culture for me. You can already go to Penrith where they hold ‘Defqon’ – not too far way for over 18s.

  11. Perhaps those who think that REAL music will be played at this proposed festival should check out the Q-Dance and ID&T Websites where there is plenty of footage of past festivals and their own radio station playing the style of music they propose to impose on Hartley residents for 12 hours a day from 2 pm to 2 am!

    Woodstock this is not! And there were problems aplenty there too.

    • Thanks for the links. Great music. I now have a new favourite web radio station.

      • Any Joni Mitchell?

        OK, you go to the 3 day festival, and I’ll spend the weekend at your place where the noise won’t reach.

  12. I love a good music festival. Keen to hear more about it.
    If Max Yasgur had never have allowed a 3 day music festival at his dairy farm, the world would never have heard of Woodstock.
    It might inspire Joni Mitchell can write a song about Hartley.

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