Sydney’s OneFour Have Cancelled Several Tour Dates Due To Police Pressure
"It sets a dangerous precedent [with] police ultimately determining which artists can and can't play at music venues in Australia."
Sydney-based rap collective OneFour have been forced to cancel their Melbourne and Adelaide shows after police expressed “safety concerns.”
OneFour have won acclaim over the last few months for their intelligent, abrasive brand of politically-engaged rap. Bursting out of Western Sydney with their single ‘Ladz In The Hood’, the group have amassed a loyal online following. Within a mere 24 hours of being posted, the music video for ‘Ladz’ hit 400,000 views. Now it sits at almost three million.
For that reason, the OneFour Australian tour was meant to be a proud celebration of all that the act have achieved in a short space of time. Instead, it has become mired in controversy. As reported by ABC, the police believe that OneFour are engaged in a turf war between the Inner and the Greater West, and that said turf war will put attendees of OneFour concerts in danger.
To that end, police have contacted venues to inform them of the dispute, in a move that OneFour’s management team have described as an attempt to “pressure” venues to drop the tour.
Furthermore, the team see NSW police’s interaction with the venues as part of a broader, systemic issue. “It set[s] a dangerous precedent [with] police ultimately determining which artists can and can’t play at music venues in Australia,” the management team have said in a statement to ABC. “NSW Police also risk the perception that they have an inherent, in-built bias against youth and disadvantaged communities.”
Online, the police have been broadly criticised, both for deploying a nanny state attitude to music culture generally, and for cracking down on a group that make politically-engaged music.
— Tommy Faith (@tommyfaith_) November 25, 2019
Onefour is a direct threat to what is considered palatable and authorities shit themselves thinking about it
— adele (@smellydel) November 25, 2019
It seems like OneFour is the NWA of this generation. New sound and a huge cult-like, underground following. Their music doesn’t even get radio play but everyone knows who they are and their concerts are getting cancelled. There’s no one like them. They’re groundbreaking.
— GLRY (@GVE8_) November 25, 2019
The way OneFour are being treated is unfair & bullshit. Let the boys play. Let them thrive and be great. https://t.co/zwKHs1sQrw
— Senator Briggs (@Briggs) November 24, 2019
Although there are still other dates set for the OneFour Australian tour, some worry that these too will be cancelled if the improper pressure from the police continues. This isn’t the first time that OneFour have faced problems created by police pressuring venues. In August of this year, a tour with London rapper Octavian was cancelled due to police pressure.
“This is the third time the NSW Police have pressured the venue we were due to perform at and it’s getting fkn frustrating,” the band wrote then, as reported by MusicFeeds. “They want us to get us off the street, yet they won’t give us a chance to. We’ve played three shows with no problems, yet they’re still trying to shut us down.”
In response to the outcry over this behaviour, the police offered a statement to Hack.
“With any major event, NSW police works closely with venues and event organisers to ensure the safety and security of attendees, the wider community, and police,” the spokesperson. “As the decision to cancel the event lies with the venue.”