SLIM CHANCE FOR FESTIVAL BOSSES

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The superstar DJ headlines the Offshore bash in Melbourne - and organisers are hoping his presence will boost ticket sales after a host of problems with protestors...

FATBOY SLIM will perform at the OFFSHORE FESTIVAL, one of AUSTRALIA’s largest music festivals, in MELBOURNE tomorrow (April 13).

More than 20,000 people are expected at the festival which also features Ben Harper And The Innocent Criminals, Justin Robertson, The Bomfunk MCs, Ataris, You Am I, 28 Days and the Hellacopters.

But it could be the last time the festival is held if two farmers win an ongoing legal battle with organisers.

Usually a three-day camping festival, Offshore attracts more than 20,000 people each year and has previously been held at a remote coastal farm at Torquay, to coincide with the world famous Bells Beach Surfing Classic event.

But this year, objections by two local farmers and a new group called ROAR

(Rural Owners Against Rock Concerts) have forced organisers to remove the festival to the Melbourne Showgrounds in the state capital city and shorten the event to a single day.

Complaints are made on the grounds of noise, traffic, litter and also religious grounds, with a written objection from a local church claiming the festival promotes “drugs, sex and rock and roll, not to mention lyrics about suicide, hopelessness, anarchy and anti-social, anti-establishment values”.

The voluntary move was made by organisers to force local objectors, who force organisers to endure an agonising wait for final approval each year, to realise how much the festival injects into the local economy.

Objections cost the organisers tens of thousands each year to combat in the courts, and ensure final approval is not given until after the event has been promoted and almost $2 million paid out or promised to run the festival.

Organiser Tim McGregor says this year’s event is all about raising a “war chest” to defeat objections in the courts once and for all.

“These two men have become ‘bush lawyers’ they know exactly when to lodge their objections with liquor license authorities to cause the maximum damage,” he told NME.COM.

“This year’s event is about earning enough to fight these people in court to

ensure the future of Offshore, if people don’t come out to support us it could spell the end, it’s that serious.”

Ticket sales for the event are believed to be down on last year, apparently due to confusion over change of venue and regular interstate patrons unwilling to make the journey for a one-day festival.

But McGregor has faith that people will come out to support the future of the festival.

He admits: “At the showgrounds we don’t get a cent from the bars or catering, so we’re banking on getting the full 20,000 fans or yeah, it could be the end.

“We rely on each year’s event to fund the next, we’re not wealthy. And this year we need extra to take the issue to court to ensure the future of the event.

“But we’re pretty confident we’ll get the numbers. Half of Torquay are driving up to Melbourne to show their support, the line-up this year is so strong we reckon we’ll do it.”