Goodbye Dolly!

By BIANCA CLARE

A STAR-STUDDED concert series featuring Dolly Parton, Fleetwood Mac, Bryan Ferry, The Divinyls, Maxi Priest and others has been cancelled one day after it was announced.

Tickets for the first concert, starring Ferry and Joan Armatrading, to be held on the reserve on the beach side of Opal Cove Resort, were due to go on sale next week but that event and the planned follow-up performances have now been scrapped.

The bad news for Coffs Coast music lovers comes as the result of a dispute between promoters and Coffs Harbour City Council.

The men behind the ambitious plan Andrew McManus who has 20 years industry experience touring acts such as KISS and Pavarotti and local promoter David Fawcett said Coffs Harbour City Council made the call late Wednesday that the event could not go ahead at Opal Cove because of environmental concerns.

"We were told that the site could have a possible koala habitat," Mr McManus said.

"That's a joke if you ask me. My team has done an independent assessment of the site and found no koalas.

"We met with Jenny Oloman and Kyme Lavelle from the council on August 28. We put forward our intentions and they seemed excited."

The General Manager of Coffs Harbour City Council, Stephen Sawtell, said koalas were only one of many reasons the council had decided not to approve the outdoor concert planned for Hills Beach Reserve.

"Public reserves are just not the right place to hold concerts of this size," Mr Sawtell said.

"There is no proper parking, no emergency access and noise will be a problem with residential developments."

An email was sent from Council to Mr Fawcett in early September detailing four other possible venues, Park Beach Reserve, the Jetty Foreshores, Coffs Harbour Racecourse and BCU International Stadium.

Mr McNanus said he never received this email but when told about the alternatives by the Advocate yesterday, he said they were not an option.

"The type of concert I wanted to hold would not suit a massive stadium or oval," he said.

"My vision was a seated series of concerts with a laidback ambiance.

"Council seems to believe that we had not considered the logistics of holding the event.

"That's not true. There is parking available on site for more than 1500 plus cars, we planned to put up large fences to keep people off any fragile area and the concert would be over by 10pm."

Council's assistant general manager, Kyme Lavelle, said the Hills Beach Reserve was an ecologically sensitive area that could not sustain a series of concerts on the scale suggested.



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