"The numbers have blown way out of proportion and you can't trust 20,000 strangers to do the right thing"
A planned party at St Kilda Beach, to be held in celebration of triple j's annual Hottest 100 countdown over the Australia Day weekend, has been cancelled after piquing the interest of Victoria Police, the Port Phillip City Council and even national youth broadcaster itself.
The public event — which, prior to its nixing, had garnered significant attention on Facebook, where it had racked up 19,000 "interested" individuals alongside the 6000 who said they were "going" — appears to have actually been an active page since at least February of last year. It has accrued interest seemingly without incident over the ensuing 11 months until finally catching the attention of police this morning, when authorities made contact with event organisers Jai Motherwell and Clint White on the social media platform.
"Hi Jai and Clint. This is Victoria Police," the officers' post began. "We know this party is not sanctioned by triple j, so we're assuming you haven't got any permits from Port Phillip Council either? If that's the case, we'll pay you a visit on Australia Day and let's hope we don't spoil your party!"
Response to the officer's thinly veiled ultimatum instantly ran the gamut from those understanding of the officers' duty of care to the wider public to those who think it would be a good idea to have 19,000 people rock up to a beach for a completely unregulated piss-up on a day already renowned for not exactly bringing out the best in its drunken revellers. Triple j breakfast hosts Matt & Alex even got in on the act by offering their approval of the event.
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However, despite the support, Motherwell and White have decided to shut down the party, citing conversations with the local council and state police and their tacit understanding that giving 20,000 people the benefit of the doubt is probably a bit optimistic. White spoke to radio station 3AW this morning, while Motherwell took to social media to spread the news.
"Clint and I have been on the phone all morning with media, local councils and the Victorian Police," Motherwell wrote in his update. "We have decided to shut this event down.
"The numbers have blown way out of proportion and you can't trust 20,000 strangers to do the right thing. We will be working with the Victorian Police and local city council about this matter leading into the event.
"Please respect our decision and share around that the event has been cancelled. There are plenty of other parties in St Kilda for Australia Day. Who's keen to catch Fatboy Slim?!"
Elaborating in a later comment, Motherwell explained: "This page was created with the intention to invite a few more friends and friends of friends to a gathering of a few hundred people that we partied with last year. It was an awesome day and there were no 'dickheads'.
"I've already seen enough 'dickheads' on this page to know it's not worth the hassle. I would appreciate the respect for the decision and I hope it's not to hard to find the next party."