NSW Government threatens demise of world’s best festivals

Music Crowd Generic New South Wales will be wiped off the map for future live music tours and festivals under heavy-handed new licensing plans being proposed by the Berejiklian government. The state is set to have some of the most onerous licensing conditions in the world, meaning that globally-acclaimed festivals such as Bluesfest will be at risk.

“The safety of festival-goers is paramount, but the NSW Government’s approach to festival safety appears to be designed to manage any risk by shutting them down altogether,” said LPA Chief Executive, Evelyn Richardson. “Consultation with industry has been absolutely woeful and whole sections of our industry are now being destroyed by a knee jerk response from a government that couldn’t care less.

The NSW Government must heed the warnings of industry experts such as Peter Noble, the director of the award-winning Byron Bay Bluesfest who has written of the crippling effect the new licensing regime will have on Bluesfest. However, Premier Gladys Berejiklian has stated that Bluesfest won’t be affected by the new licensing plans.

“Can you contemplate an Australian festival scene without Bluesfest? What about the flow-on effects for the local economy and the live music industry across Australia?” said Ms Richardson. “In its headline-driven rush to respond to some recent tragic incidents, the Government has failed to consult with industry leaders on the proposed licensing changes and their impact on highly professional and reputable festival operators.

“The NSW Government needs to stop this now and properly consult with the industry. We all have a vital interest in the safety and well-being of people who attend festivals, and the best outcomes will be achieved through proper consultation and cooperation with our festival operators, not the blunt instrument of poorly designed and heavy-handed regulation,” Ms Richardson added.