Bleats

Festivals Are Now Crowdfunding To Sue The NSW Government For Its Unfair New Live Music Rules

"The threat of losing your favourite festivals is now extremely real."

Over the weekend, electronic music festival Days Like This was held in Sydney.

It went off without a hitch: no major safety incidents, and also no reports of any significant negative interactions between the police and festivalgoers. (There was an estimated ratio of one cop per 60 punters.)

But now the festival has joined with Lost Paradise festival, promoter Finely Tuned, and agencies Novel and Division Agency to crowdfund for legal action against the NSW government for the damage done to their business by the draconian new licensing laws.

“Being categorised as a ‘High Risk’ festival despite having much better safety, experience and event planning record than many other high-profile festivals which were not listed has had a catastrophic effect on both our reputation and ticket sales for this year’s event,” said Days Like This’ Jason Ayoubi.

“Not only were ticket sales down by almost 50%, the resources that needed to be implemented were excessive for an event that has never experienced a major incident during its three years of operation.”

Festivals deemed High Risk have been required to increase the number of police at their festivals, and thus the amount they pay to the NSW government for the “user pays” police presence. In Victoria and Queensland, the number of cops per festival attendee is usually closer to 1 per 1000.

“As a direct result of these factors, the future of the festival is now in jeopardy. The number of patrons in attendance did not warrant the heavy police presence, which our patrons found intimidating.”

The new rules were brought in hastily, with festival representatives who met with the government being told they would have just 24 hours to read over the regulations before they came into effect at the beginning of March.

The campaign has raised over $13,000 of its $40,000 goal in less than a day.

The NSW Liberals Are Claiming A Totally Fake Milestone For Gladys In A New Election Ad

"Her?"

With two weeks to go before the New South Wales election, things are not looking promising for Liberal Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

Polls released over the weekend are pointing to a potential change of government, with the Labor opposition leading the Libs by a slim but definite 51-49.

So it looks like Team Gladys are throwing everything in for the final fortnight of campaigning – including just making s**t up.

A “personal touch” video released on March 10 on the NSW Liberals’ Facebook page shows the Premier looking relaxed in a totally non-rehearsed way and talking about her favourite reality TV shows – and it also features a caption singing her praises.

Including the tidbit that she’s “[t]he first female Premier of NSW – chosen on merit.”

The comments, of course, are full of people pointing out that not only was NSW’s first female premier Kristina Keneally (2009-2011), but that Gladys actually rose to the position unchallenged when Mike Baird resigned – whereas Keneally won a party room vote against two men after a leadership spill.

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There’s a lot of chat about whether quotas for women in political roles are appropriate or helpful. People who are against the idea of having a minimum number of women mandated in certain positions or on ballots argue that it might mean women who aren’t that great will get jobs over more qualified men.

Of course, this means that those people think there are generally more qualified men than there are women – but that’s another whole can of worms.

It’s not great to see the state branch of a party notorious for its issues with women on the federal level implying in official advertising material that only some women in power are there because of merit, and that the others must be, y’know… less merit-y.

Keneally’s party definitely had its issues at the time too, let’s not get it twisted. But trying to play the empowerment card here is pretty hilariously transparent.

Here’s the full post:

The NSW Government Will Give Festivals Just 24 Hours' Notice On New Regulations

"This whole process is a farce."

Festival organisers will have just one day to get their heads around the rushed new licensing regulations in NSW before they come into effect.

NSW Greens MLA Cate Faehrmann is working closely with a group of concerned festival organisers. The group had a “crisis meeting” at NSW state parliament this morning to try and get clarity from the Department of Liquor & Gaming on what the new rules will be.

Now read this in your best Arrested Development Narrator voice: They didn’t.

“We’ve heard from the department today that we will have 24 hours to see what this regulation is,” Ms Faehrmann told Fairfax Media.

“This whole process is a farce.”

“It will kill music festivals across NSW if you don’t delay it.”

Several music festivals, including Mountain Sounds and Psyfari, have cancelled their 2019 events, citing harsher and more costly requirements from the government around policing and other safety measures.

The organisers’ group released a joint statement after the meeting, begging the Berejiklian government to delay the regulation beyond March 1 – and beyond the election that could see them lose power.

“As a direct result of the NSW Government’s rushed new music festival licensing regime, scheduled to come into effect on 1 March 2019, numerous music festivals in NSW are being forced to close or look at options outside NSW,” the statement says in part.

“There has been no public consultation and no genuine engagement with industry on the proposed changes. There is widespread confusion about the details and impact of the new regime.”

Festivals including the iconic Bluesfest have suggested that they may have to move their events out of the state if the scheme goes ahead.

NSW Labor launched their live music policy in Sydney last week, committing $35 million to fund contemporary music in the state and $4 million specifically for festivals.

Leader Michael Daley’s also indicated that the party would be open to discussing pill testing as part of their drug policy – a huge step given that the Berejiklian government’s response has been a flat refusal to consider pill testing.

Labor has said that it would continue to support the controversial lockout laws.

The licensing scheme is part of a broad push by the NSW government to increase regulation of music festivals and events across the state, as a response to an unusually high number of deaths linked to festivals over the summer.

It’s inspired a Change.org petition asking the government “Don’t kill live music“, which has racked up over 100,000 signatures, and a rally in Sydney this Thursday night.

An interim event licensing agreement was brought in in October, and a spokesperson for the department confirmed that events being held between March 1 and 31 were currently covered under that scheme.

GOAT has requested further comment from the Department but had not received a response at the time of publication.

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