Splendour In The Grass, Falls Festival Threaten To Leave NSW Thanks To Gladys Berejiklian

The Premier's legislation is driving some of the highest-profile festivals out of the State.

Laneway Gladys Berejiklian

Gladys Berejiklian has spent the last year waging a war on festivals.

Ostensibly cracking down on music events under the guise of public safety, Berejiklian has actually had the knives out for any mass gathering of young people.

Need proof? When a rubric designed to judge a festival’s safety clearly showed that it’d label Bluesfest — an event predominantly comprised of Boomers — ‘high risk’, Berejiklian stepped in to say that the event would be fine. In fact, before long, the Premier threw out the rubric altogether, and just handpicked the festivals that didn’t suit the government’s agenda — a list, surprise surprise, composed entirely of events that cater to the under-30 set.

Now, those 11 festivals are under the spotlight again. The Premier is moving to enforce new legislation that would mean the targeted festivals must develop new safety guidelines and regimes in coordination with NSW Health. Along the way, Berejiklian has turned down a new movement to legalise pill testing, and refused to consult with the festivals directly.

Unsurprisingly, most major festival organisers have had just about enough of all this. As The Sydney Morning Herald has reported, some of NSW’s biggest festivals are threatening to leave the state if Berejiklian doesn’t abandon her legislation.

Releasing a joint statement via the Australian Festival Association, high profile events such as Splendour in the Grass, Falls Festival, Listen Out, Laneway Festival and Field Day have all threatened to move their events out of state if the legislation goes ahead.

This is not the first time that festival organisers have responded in this way. When Bluesfest was under fire, event organisers threatened to relocate. So did the owners of Laneway when that beloved event was first added to the blacklist of 11 names.

Essentially, it’s time for the government to take these threats very, very seriously.