The NSW Government Has Released Its List Of “Higher Risk” Music Festivals

These festivals will be subject to the government's controversial new licensing scheme.

Gladys Berejiklian pill testing

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After months of controversy over live music regulations that have seen it accused of waging a “war on festivals”, the NSW government has released a list of 14 music festivals it deems “higher risk” that will be subject to a new licencing scheme set to kick in on March 1.

According to a government press release, higher risk festivals are festivals “where a serious drug related illness or death has occurred in the past three years or where the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority has determined, having regard to expert advice from NSW Health and NSW Police, that there may be a significant risk of serious drug related illness or death”.

“The NSW Government wants music festivals to thrive – but serious drug related illnesses and deaths have demonstrated that we need to help make a small number of them safer,” said Minister for Racing Paul Toole.

Festivals deemed higher risk are:

  • Days Like This
  • Transmission
  • Up Down
  • Defqon.1
  • Subsonic
  • This That
  • Knockout Games of Destiny
  • Lost Paradise
  • FOMO
  • Electric Gardens
  • HTID
  • Rolling Loud
  • Laneway
  • Ultra.

The government has said that higher risk festivals will be subject to a $650 licensing fee. Of greater significance in a ‘user pay’ clause, under which organisers will be denied a license unless they are able to foot the bill for police and emergency services. Earlier this month, Mountain Sounds on the Central Coast was forced to cancel just one week before it was scheduled to take place, with organisers citing a last-minute from NSW police from $200,000.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has been heavily criticised for her government’s approach to live music. She’s expressed concerns about drug deaths but exhibited a militant opposition to pill-testing, while at the same time accusing festival organisers of putting profit before people’s safety.