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New festival regulations threatens future of live music in NSW
Ongoing fears over the impact of new NSW Government regulations on music festivals set to be introduced as of 1st March are arbitrary and threaten the future of all live music in NSW according to Live Performance Australia (LPA) Chief Executive, Evelyn Richardson.
Speaking on behalf of LPA, Australian Festival Association, Music NSW and the Association of Artist Managers yesterday, Richardson (pictured) advised “these new regulations imposed by (NSW) Government without any consultation reflect a government that has no strategy for supporting live music in NSW, sending a signal to every live music promoter and festival organiser that doing business in NSW is fraught with danger and subject to the whims of the Premier’s office. Clearly, this will be a major issue at the upcoming election.
“As it stands any festival can be added to the high-risk category at any time. All but one of the events targeted have proceeded with police consent previously so it seems any event can now be arbitrarily deemed 'high risk' by (the NSW) Government at any time and added to the list.
“Of those on the list some of them don’t meet the stated criteria. This includes ‘Laneway’ and ‘Up Down’, a completely new festival yet to be presented in March 2019. ‘This That’ found out they were rated a ‘high risk’ event after media outlets contacted them. Yet only a few months ago they were singled out for praise by Newcastle Police. (Police Praise This That & Scene And Heard Festival Crowds, Despite Some Drug Incidents)
“It’s also not clear how new festivals will be assessed, what discretionary powers will be applied and what risk assessment criteria will be used. In the absence of any objective data or guidelines, it appears the main criteria used to declare a festival high-risk is determined by whether the Local Police like or don’t like the type of music performed or the age of the likely attendees.
“The definition of ‘Concert’ versus ‘Music Festival’ in the regulations is also problematic and gives authorities much broader powers than the (NSW) Premier is admitting. The concert definition doesn’t make sense, isn’t consistent with known industry definitions and essentially means a whole range of concerts in NSW could now find themselves subject to this new licence.
“We should also get real about the extent of the problem at music festivals. The (NSW) Government needs to provide evidence to back its assertion that so-called ‘high risk’ festivals have drug or alcohol incidents at a higher rate than occurs throughout NSW on a daily basis.
“This new licence isn’t going to solve these problems and the government has shown no real commitment to backing them up with effective drug and alcohol prevention and harm minimisation programs to address these issues in the community.
“Music festivals are easy targets for a government in election mode but the reality is that Australia has a growing drug and alcohol culture, which crosses all ages and interest groups.
“We call on the government to postpone implementation of the new license and properly consult to come up with a workable industry solution that secures the future for music festivals in NSW. The Music Festival sector employs thousands of people, supports small businesses, nurtures musicians’ careers, and enhances cultural tourism in every city and regional area in NSW. Despite the (NSW) Premier’s rhetoric, right now the live music industry in NSW is under serious threat from heavy handed government regulation and a clear lack of support for what is a significant multinational industry.”
9th February 2019 - Second NSW music festival cancelled in a week
7th February 2019 - Psyfari organisers end event citing NSW Government’s ‘war on festivals’
20th January 2019 - NSW Government to require licensing of music festivals after drug deaths
31st October 2018 - Andrew Kay to step down from Live Performance Australia’s Presidency
16th November 2017 - Live Performance Australia passes 100 year operational landmark
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