2019 would’ve marked the festival’s 10th anniversary and, according to them, the “grand finale” but they have had to cancel the event due to “the current political climate surrounding festivals in NSW” and not wanting to “fight this David & Goliath battle.”
The festival released a lengthy statement on Facebook about their difficult decision, even saying that they’ve considered every other option to keep the festival alive.
“We did consider interstate venues, but options are limited in the ACT, and we feel VIC and QLD are too far,” the statement reads. “Not only would a lot of our community struggle to have the time to travel so far, but this could also put people in danger from the added risk from more time on the road. An ironic consequence given that the message behind this war on festivals is ‘safety’.”
They also called out the government for targeting festivals despite the statistics not really focusing them as the main target.
“While drug-related deaths at festivals are a very serious matter, they really do make up the tip of the iceberg,” the statement reads. “To put things into perspective, drug-related deaths at festivals on average make up less than 0.5% of all drug-related deaths in Australia, but festivals are an easy target, and an insignificant sacrifice to a blind government with its head in the sand.”
Festivals across the nation aren’t taking the NSW government and Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s attacks lying down, however. Major festivals have banded together to form the Australian Festival Association (AFA) that, among other things, are urging for pill testing at events to prevent deaths.
Read the festival’s full statement below.