CONCERT-GOERS were on a high and cafe owners danced to the jangle of tills, but some businesses in Freo’s CBD have questioned the merit of big events following last weekend’s Fremantle Falls.
Chamber of commerce CEO Olwyn Williams says some retail and service businesses had a “dreadful experience”.
“Where an event is right at the front door of a business, direct communication needs to be a lot better (than what I was aware it was) and level of compensation offered to affected businesses needs to reflect actual cost/losses, not just a token gesture,” she says.
Concert organiser Jimmy Murphy says they spent three months liaising with businesses around the square.
“We offered financial compensation to businesses directly impacted by the event and had sound monitoring equipment at different locations across the city during the event,” he says.
But Ms Williams said some businesses around the edges of the festival were unimpressed by noise levels.
“The owners of one store had to remain within their store until the concert concluded both nights, unable to set security (the music kept setting the alarm off). No security would have had significant implication on insurance.”
Creations Jewellery and Designers, in the High Street mall, endured its worst trading day in 10 years.
“We’ve already had nine months of disruption with the redevelopment of Atwell Arcade and then we were hit with this,” says owner Greg Macintyre.
“We suffered our worst trading day for over 10 years because of the restriction to access the mall, the noise was far beyond acceptable levels to the point where our very large windows and interior fittings were constantly rattling.
“The idea of the concerts is fine but choose suitable venues such as Fremantle Oval, the Esplanade or Fremantle bowling club which are better suited for the noise and traffic flow.”
Boost Juice, Parlapa and Zab Salad were some of the businesses all reporting bumper trade (Norm Wrightson Hairway even coiffured performers’ hair).
With international vinyl sales topping $1 billion, it was no surprise The Record Finder had a big day, with customers including musos Matt Corby and T Bone.
Freo Youth Advisory Council member Liam Carter says a pass-out system benefited traders.
“Perhaps what made this a success, along with the performances, was the ability for festival-goers to leave the venue to explore and shop in the inner city,” he says.
“I think that we have seen a shift to a more youthful audience with Laneway and Falls Festivals occupying the gap temporarily vacated by Blues ‘n’ Roots.
“We now have a whole range of options throughout the year for Fremantle residents to access.”
Mr Murphy says the festival was a great success and organisers are already looking at another next year.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK