Rainbow Serpent On Verge Of Cancellation

Image: Tim Healey, one of the international artists on his way to Rainbow Serpent.
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UPDATE (21/01/13): Cancel the apocalypse! Rainbow Serpent will go ahead as planned (with a mysterious new headliner), according to this statement on the Rainbow Serpent Facebook page:


We are very excited to announce Rainbow Serpent Festival 2013 will go ahead after the Pyrenees Shire Council today granted all necessary permits.

We are very thankful to council and emergency services and thoroughly appreciate the extra time required of them to reconsider our permit application.

It’s been a tough week and our entire team are now working harder than ever to produce the most spectacular Rainbow Serpent in 16 years as a thank you to our army of fans who gave nothing but support and encouragement when we needed it most.

We saw over 9,000 signatures gathered on an online petition in 24 hours and we would like to thank you with the last minute addition of one of the world’s most eminent DJ’s who has been pivotal in the worldwide electronic music industry for more than 25 years. Will spill the beans on that tomorrow or maybe even later tonight!

Without doubt this addition will cement Rainbow 2013 as an exceptional year and we expect everyone to be in an extra celebratory mood making this one festival experience not to be missed! Thanks again, and see you in 4 days!

UPDATE (18/01/13):

Rainbow Serpent Festival organisers have submitted a new application for their Places of Public Entertainment (PoPE) permit, and have released a statement claiming they're "confident of meeting council requirements for the Australia Day weekend event to go ahead".

"After a successful and productive meeting with council yesterday we are submitting a new application this morning," said festival organiser Tim Harvey. "Council are very supportive of the event going ahead and have offered to fast track the application. At this stage we are hopeful the event will go ahead as planned."

UPDATE:

A petition to 'save Rainbow Serpent Festival' is online here.

Victorian dance festival Rainbow Serpent may be cancelled just a week out from the event, according to a statement by organisers Green Ant.

The festival has failed to acquire a Place of Public Entertainment [PoPE] license, after Ambulance Victoria, CFA and Victoria Police advised Pyrenees Shire Council the event could not satisfy the safety requirements. A statement from festival organisers reads as follows:

Firstly we would like to say how absolutely devastated we are to find ourselves in the position of not yet having a POPE Permit for Rainbow Serpent Festival 2013. We say “yet” because we know that if council and authorities want to continue to support Rainbow and the very real benefit we bring to the local community there is still time for the permit to be granted. During the floods of 2011 our POPE permit was only granted a few days before the festival, once the site was deemed safe.

For those that don’t know, POPE stands for Places of Public Entertainment and is a permit that must be received to run events like Rainbow Serpent Festival. It is not unusual for a POPE permit to be granted during the final months or weeks prior to a large event.

This is the first time in 16 years the Pyrenees Council believe we have not met the conditions necessary to issue us a POPE permit, even though we strongly believe Rainbow 2013 would have been and still can be the best resourced and safest Rainbow to date.

For 2013 our medical and fire plans were reviewed to take on board suggestions and changes and our new plans were supported and endorsed by the authorities. Part of this review included a change of service providers with the intention of an improved level of service. However, due to the lateness of the change in providers Ambulance Victoria and Regional CFA expressed concern and a lack of confidence and withdrew their support for the festival. On these grounds council decided to not issue us the permit.

In light of this decision we immediately offered to revert back to our original fire and medical services providers which Regional CFA and Ambulance Victoria had worked with over many previous years. However, due to bureaucratic process, council and authorities are yet to express a willingness to reconsider their refusal to grant us the POPE permit.

Rainbow is obviously very important to the local Pyrenees community and provides an important cultural bridge between city and regional communities. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the local community for their continued support.

It is estimated that Rainbow Serpent Festival generates close to a million dollars annually for the local community. We believe this represents a million reasons for council and authorities to sit down at the table so we can work through their concerns together.

Obviously cancelling Rainbow one week before its scheduled to run will have catastrophic ramifications as many expenses have already been incurred. Construction on site is almost complete, artists are already travelling from around the globe and our amazing community has already invested in tickets and are preparing for departure, some are already on their way. Council and the authorities unwillingness to meet us at the table and reconsider their decision could very well mean the end of our festival and the many benefits it brings to those who attend and the Pyrenees community in general.

We are currently following through with appeal processes and will not give up in trying to reach out to the Pyrenees Council and authorities and hope with the support of our amazing, passionate community, the sculptures will be built, the lights will be turned on, the workshops will be held and we can once again dance together at our stunning home in Lexton.

You have our promise we will keep you well informed of any news and thank you for your understanding and patience.

This is a developing story.

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