Two of Byron’s biggest events, Falls and Splendour in the Grass, are reportedly considering leaving NSW due to the state government’s proposed new draconian safety regulations.
The Sydney Morning Herald has reported today that the two events are among a raft of music festivals that are thinking about leaving the state if the government introduces the new safety rules without giving their concerns due consideration.
However, Falls and Splendour appear to have retreated to their poster-lined caves today, with neither festival returning calls or making any public comment about their apparent plans to leave.
Their disgust at the new regulations, which include a new licensing regime requiring organisers to adhere to stringent safety management plans for their events, was communicated by the Australian Festival Association via a written statement obtained by Echonetdaily.
The statement says that Australian Festival Association, Live Performance Australia & APRA AMCOS met yesterday with the Hon. Victor Dominello Minister for Customer Service to ‘raise concerns about proposed music festival legislation and to repeat our request for a Music Festival Industry Roundtable be established’.
‘At the meeting, the NSW Government committed to further consultation after the passage of the Bill, but stopped short of committing to the establishment of industry’s reasonable ask for a roundtable in the legislation.
‘Uncertainty and a lack of meaningful consultation has a punitive effect on our businesses, the creative economy, jobs and tourism in live music in NSW.
‘As a result, members of the Australian Festival Association will now consider their futures in NSW.
Adelle Robinson, Managing Director of Fuzzy Operations which runs the Listen Out and Field Day festivals said the festivals had ‘reasonably asked that our industry be consulted prior to any regulatory changes’.
‘The music industry has repeatedly offered to work with government and has, since February this year, called for an industry roundtable to be established to develop a workable framework,’ she said.
‘Yet again, last week we saw new legislation for music festivals introduced by this Government without any consultation.’
Danny Rogers, Co-Director of the Laneway Festival said: ‘Our industry generates over $1 billion nationally and employs thousands of people, especially in regional NSW. There are other states outside NSW that are willing to better support our business. We may be left with no choice but to consider our options.’
The Federal Labor Member for Richmond, Justine Elliot, condemned the NSW Liberal-National Government over its ‘arrogance’ in ‘jeopardising the future of music festivals on the North Coast’.
‘Music festivals are an important part of our local economy and we need them to remain in our region,’ Mrs Elliot said.
‘They create thousands of jobs and there is a massive flow on benefit in terms of tourism which is worth millions of dollars to our region.
‘Safety is vitally important and it’s disappointing that the NSW Government is unfairly rejecting calls from the music industry to engage in ongoing consultation about these important issues.
‘A music industry roundtable would enable ongoing discussions around how to implement best practice and work together for a festival safety system.’