Industry welcomes fresh start on festival regulations

AAR Music Crowd GenericMusic industry bodies have welcomed the disallowance of the NSW government’s rushed music festival regulations as an opportunity for a fresh start on ways to improve safety at music festivals.

The NSW Upper House has voted to disallow the regulations which were rushed through by the Coalition Government before the state election in March. The disallowance motion had been recommended by the Legislative Council Regulation Committee in its report presented last month.

“The Government can now sit down with the industry for some constructive consultation on ways to improve patron safety at music festivals, including steps to reduce drug-related harm,” said Evelyn Richardson, Chief Executive of Live Performance Australia. “From the outset, we have repeatedly expressed our strong desire to work collaboratively with government on our shared commitment to safer festivals.

“Genuine collaboration with industry representatives who have decades of experience in running safe and successful festivals is the best way to promote the safety of festival patrons, while also ensuring NSW continues to enjoy the economic and cultural benefits from a dynamic and diverse music festival industry,” said Ms Richardson.

Only this week, Ms Richardson highlighted the productive collaboration between festival organisers and the NSW Ministry of Health on new guidelines to reduce drug-related harm at festivals as an example of how to work towards real improvements in festival safety instead of through poorly-designed and heavy handed regulation.

The NSW Guidelines for Music Festival Event Organisers provide guidance to reduce drug-related harm at music festivals. The Guidelines have recently been updated following feedback from a range of stakeholders involved in delivering safer festivals, including festival organisers, private onsite medical providers, peer-based harm reduction organisations and NSW Ambulance.

The Guidelines have been embraced by festival organisers, some of which have exceeded the requirements in their commitment to running safer and more enjoyable events. These include providing adequate drinking water, shade and sanitation facilities; chill out spaces and a range of other cooling strategies; along with appropriate onsite peer-based drug and alcohol harm reduction services and medical services.

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Image: Music Festival (sourced)