It’s a saga that’s as ongoing as it is tiresome, but now NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and the state government have released a statement saying that their widely criticised – and confusing – new music festival regulations are indeed confusing.
The risk assessment, which comes into play on March 1, proposes that festivals will have to tick off a checklist of requirements, and then will have to approved by a panel that consists of the state’s police, gambling, alcohol, ambulance and health departments.
The assessment has come under great criticism by festival bodies, with the latest being Australian Festival Association and Live Performance Australia, with the latter claiming that the government is “threatening the demise of world’s best festivals.”
Part of the confusion around the assessment has come from Bluesfest, which Berejiklian has called a low risk event due to the fact its demographic skews older. However, by the standards of her own new regulations, it should be deemed “extremely risky”.
Now, the government has released a statement accepting the confusion, and offering some clarification.
“If you have previously held a safe, low risk festival (unless you are planning significant changes to its usual format) we are highly likely to determine your festival to be low-risk,” the statement reads. “This will mean your licence conditions – including police and health requirements – will not be materially different to previous years.”
“We appreciate there has been some confusion and misunderstanding about the way the new scheme will operate, particularly in relation to the initial self-assessment matrix that was circulated to some festival organisers.”
This clarification comes after artists like Peking Duk and Northlane directly called for the voting out of the Liberal state government for their “war on festivals.” It also follows the announcement of the ‘Don’t Kill Live Music’ rally, happening next Thursday in Sydney.
Read the NSW government’s full statement here.