Acts captured on Friday night of Airlie Beach Music Festival.
Acts captured on Friday night of Airlie Beach Music Festival. Andrew Pattinson / Vampp Photogr

Almost sell-out event plagued by liquor licensing issues

BY YESTERDAY afternoon there were just 91 tickets left to the Airlie Beach Festival of Music's main stage tent, with record numbers attending the 2017 event.

Festival founder Gavin "Butto” Butlin said the opening night was "one of the best I think we've ever had”.

"The Absolutely 80s Show played all the good old tunes - everyone knew every song, they were funny on stage, Kate Ceberano came and sung with them - and then Kate took it to another level,” he said.

"She was amazing. She did a little tribute to Fleetwood Mac, which went really well.

"And the Monsters of Rock - well they were monsters alright - they just smashed it at the end of the night with some good old Aussie pub rock.”

His comments were echoed by Kate Ceberano, Australia's princess of pop.

"There isn't anything quite like this place, it's really honest and approachable,” she said.

"This is the place that holds everyone's heart. It's very Australian - a priceless jewel.”

Mr Butlin said the one negative had been a problem between Liquor Licensing and some of the venues on the Airlie Beach main street.

He said each venue had their own rules on decibel levels and efforts to relax those had been unsuccessful this year.

"There's a bit of a battle on the main street between some of the venues and Liquor Licensing and we got caught up in the middle of it,” he said.

"Last year it wasn't a drama but this year it has been.”

The venues predominantly affected have been Magnums, Beaches and the Shed Bar, with Magnums and Beaches restricted to having live music between 10am and 6pm.

Mr Butlin said this meant bands who would have been playing at these venues after the main tent finished had cancelled their gigs.

"They've come from all over the country and all they want to do is play music and all we want to do is listen to it,” he said.

"But there's other venues that are not affected so we're asking people to just 'hang in there with us guys'.

"Hopefully commonsense will prevail in the future and we can get around this.”

To ensure it does, a petition will be available for festival-goers to sign at the entrance to the main tent and other venues on the Airlie Beach main street.

One day passes cost $130 and tickets are available from the office beside Nomads on the main street.