TRAFFIC: Parking was free at Bluesfest 2017 in Byron Bay.
TRAFFIC: Parking was free at Bluesfest 2017 in Byron Bay. Marc Stapelberg

Festival defends decision to charge for parking

BLUESFEST Byron Bay has appealed a decision by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) that deemed the festival to have engaged in "misleading and deceptive conduct" by releasing parking tickets for its 2019 festival after it released entry tickets for sale.

Last March 14, the NCAT ordered Bluesfest Services Pty to pay $1200 immediately to Burleigh Waters resident Anthony Donnellan.

A spokesperson from NCAT confirmed the appeal has been lodged.

"The respondent lodged an appeal on March 22," he said.

"The matter will be listed for call over on April 4".

Mr Donnellan said he was disappointed but not surprised at the decision.

"I guess it shows that the revenue they seek is more important to them than their reputation amongst long term loyal fans," he said.

"I think most people acknowledge that they have a right to charge for parking if they choose, just have the courage to let us know before we buy tickets and to allow their commercial decisions be tested in the marketplace."

Mr Donnellan said he is not a lawyer and he won't be engaging one for this matter.

"They may well overturn the decision on legal technicalities, but that doesn't change the fact that they have deceived their own customers," he said.

"It's evident by the number of people who contact me every day with the same story: basically, 'I wasn't aware of this and this is my last festival unless they change the decision'.

"Regardless of the outcome, I am still hopeful that they decide to do the right thing and cancel the additional parking charge in the interest of harmony and out of respect for the very people that support this event, and have done for 30 years."

Bluesfest Byron Bay was contacted for comment.