Some of Australia’s biggest music festivals are threatening to cancel their shows in New South Wales in the midst of the government’s ‘war on festivals’.
Splendour in the Grass, Listen Out and Laneway are just some of the festivals who have threatened to pull out, claiming they are being ignored by the government.
The threat comes in the wake of a controversial bill that was introduced to Parliament last week, requiring festivals to develop new safety management plans to create a better environment for revellers.
Organisers of the events lashed out at the government’s new safety regime, demanding they be involved in discussions surrounding the new laws.
Some of Australia’s biggest festivals are threatening to pull out NSW shows, saying they have been ‘ignored’ by the government (pictured: Splendour in the Grass)
Danny Rogers, co-director for Laneway Festival said they may be looking elsewhere after being ‘continuously ignored’ by the government.
‘Right now what we’re asking for is legislation to be passed through that enables us to have round table conversations with the government,’ Mr Rogers told Daily Mail Australia.
‘That’s been our number one request. They’ve been continuously ignored.’
Mr Rogers said that other industries within Australia had discussions with the government with no hassle.
Festivals like Laneway Festival have said their next event may be their last, slamming the government for not enabling discussions over the future of festivals
‘The festival industry is fed up and we feel like we are being left with no choice. We feel incredibly disrespected.’
‘We feel like this could very well be our last year.’
Mr Rogers said the next Laneway Festival, due to be held in Sydney in February, would go ahead but it could be for the last time.
‘The decision (over whether to cancel) is going to me made within the next few months. We just want to be part of the conversation,’ he said.
Customer Service minister Victor Dominello introduced The Music Festivals Bill 2019 to Parliament last Wednesday.
‘This new scheme is not about targeting certain festivals or trying to shut them down, far from it,’ Mr Dominello told the parliament.
‘It is about ensuring that the NSW music festival scene is known not only for its wide range of offerings, exciting acts and vibrant experiences, but for having a well coordinated approach when planning these important events.
Fuzzy Operations, which runs festivals like Listen Out and Field Day have also voiced their frustration with the NSW government.
Across NSW festivals during 2017-2019, six people aged between 18 and 23 all died from drug related causes prompting the government to look into pill testing
Earlier this year, Mountain Sounds Festival was cancelled after being slapped with a $200,000 bill for security and safety measures
‘Yet again, last week we saw new legislation for music festivals introduced by this government without any consultation,’ managing director Adelle Robinson told The Sydney Morning Herald.
Live Performance Australia chief executive Evelyn Richardson said the loss of music festivals in the state would be a ‘major blow’ to everyone.
‘It would be a major blow for fans, artists and all those people in communities across NSW who benefit culturally and economically from music festivals if we were to see music festivals forced to leave,’ Ms Richardson said.
Earlier this year, the Mountain Sounds Festival was cancelled with organisers blaming the governments ‘war on festivals’.
The cancellation came a week before the event – scheduled for 15 and 16 Feb at the Mount Penang Parklands in New South Wales’ Central Coast.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian ignored the push for pill testing, saying the deaths of those at festivals were from pure MDMA (pictured: reveller at Groovin the Moo festival in Canberra supporting pill testing)
Amid increased political scrutiny over festivals, organisers said they were slapped with a $200,000 bill for security and safety measures.
The Music Festivals Bill comes after NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the government would ignore recommendations from the state coroner to implement pill testing at festivals.
‘Our heart goes out to families who’ve lost a loved one under these circumstances but unfortunately it’s been found that (it’s) the pure drug, it’s pure MDMA, that is killing young people,’ Ms Berejiklian told ABC radio last week.
‘We would say to young people, do not take these drugs because you or your loved ones could suffer as a result.’
Across NSW festivals during 2017-2019, six people aged between 18 and 23 all died from drug related causes.
Alex Ross-King, 19, Joshua Tam, 22, Callum Brosnan, 21, Diana Nguyen, 21, Joseph Pham, 23, and Nathan Tran, 18, died after attending the events.
Alex Ross-King (left), 19, and Joshua Tam (right), 22, are two of the young people whose deaths are being discussed during the coronial inquest
THE FACES OF THE INQUEST INTO MUSIC FESTIVAL DEATHS
The 19-year-old attended the FOMO music festival in January alongside 11,000 revellers.
She consumed two half-pills on her journey from the Central Coast in a mini bus to Parramatta Park earlier this year and two more pills upon her arrival, the inquest heard.
The teenager was rushed to Westmead hospital after she displayed symptoms of an overdose at the festival, and later died.
The 22-year-old died after taking an unknown substance at Lost Paradise festival in Gosford, New South Wales.
Mr Tam, from Toowong in Brisbane, was rushed to Gosford hospital on December 29 and died soon after arriving.
The rugby player attended the festival with a bunch of friends, who were later forced to identify his body.
Hoang Nathan Tran
The 18-year-old died after taking MDMA at Knockout Circuz on December 16, 2017.
He is believed to have consumed four capsules at the event and drank a bottle of water mixed with MDMA.
The inquest heard the 18-year-old became agitated and had to be handcuffed in order to get him to the medical centre.
His temperatures also soared to 41C and he died just 90 minutes after arriving at hospital.
The 23-year-old from western Sydney reportedly had a heart attack and died after he consumed drugs at Defqon.1 on September 15, 2018.
He and five of his friends were ‘pumped and ready to have a good time’ when they arrived to the western Sydney festival.
He later told his friends that he had taken three to four pills and was taken to the medical tent at 7.30pm as he was feeling ‘extremely unwell’.
Mr Pham’s temperatures rocketed to 39.5C and he was rushed to Nepean Hospital where he died due to cardiac arrest.
The 19-year-old from Baulkham Hills, was found in a ‘distressed state’ at the Knockout Games of Destiny Dance Party at Sydney Olympic Park in Homebush, Sydney on December 9.
He was admitted to Concord Hospital with a suspected drug overdose and died little more than three hours later at 4:30am.
Mr Brosnan had recently been accepted into Sydney’s prestigious Conservatorium of Music.
The 18-year-old also died at Defqon. 1. music festival on September 15.
She reportedly sent text messages to her fiance in the hours prior to her death expressing her fears over consuming the drugs.
She travelled from Victoria for the hardstyle music festival and had left behind a worried fiance, who urged her to be careful at the event.