Directors of several festivals declared “high risk” last week have officially confirmed they’ll be taking legal action against the New South Wales Government for their ‘war on festivals’.

In light of this morning’s introduction of the new legislation, operators of five festivals – Days Like This, Division Agency, Novel, Lost Paradise and Finely Tuned issued an official statement, claiming the policies are both “misguided and unwarranted”.

An already struggling and hard-working festival industry allegedly now have to incur fees upwards of $200,000 for ‘unnecessary’ policing and emergency service support. Just last week, Mountain Sounds festival fell victim to these impositions. These fees can supposedly be imposed at any point (and aren’t subject to justification) prior to an event, and festivals which refuse to comply will not receive the license for their event to take place.

The newly implemented festival policies are seen as a huge blow to the previously thriving festivals industry.  The statement reads:

“(It is) disappointing to see that the State has failed to apply the classification of ‘high risk’ consistently; unfairly prejudicing our festivals when compared to others. This only heightens
our concerns regarding the State’s opaque method for the classification process.”

Mountain Sounds have already cancelled their 2019 event, and begun the process of liquidation. But that’s not all. It looks like more festivals may follow suit:

“The damage to our brands and industry is irreversible. We all have teams of dedicated and skilled professionals who have worked in the industry for decades; their expertise has been questioned and reputations tarnished”

The festival teams believe this entire process has been a rushed and irrational decision:

“The outcome we all want hasn’t changed. Individually as festival owners, and as an industry, we are committed to creating safe environments for our guests. But, the government cannot simply put band-aids on complex issues and rush through decisions for political agendas. This will have devastating consequences, not just on music, but our economy and culture for years to come.”

Days Like This spokesperson Jason Ayoubi has been delivering smoothly-run events for at least 25 years. He comments:

“I am completely perplexed and astounded to see Days Like This Festival published on a list of ‘High Risk’ festivals with no tangible justification. There was a real opportunity here for the NSW Government to consult with an industry that generates over $1.8b a year in revenue to come up with ways we could potentially improve safety at festivals and instead they have chosen to vilify 14 individual festivals without any discussion.”

He adds that “Any imposed risk matrix should be applied equally and fairly across the entire industry.”

The statement then continues to confirm that legal action is underway:

“We are presently in discussions with our solicitors, and will be mounting a challenge to the
Decision imminently.”

Long Live the New South Wales festivals scene.