Secret Garden Respond To Blackface Incident: People Who “Undermine” The Festival’s Inclusivity Are Not Welcome

Secret Garden Festival programmer Adam Lewis says that the festival will not tolerate anything that makes other punters feel “uncomfortable or marginalised”, after news emerged this morning that he had to deal with blackface-wearing punters at the event over the weekend.

The two festival-goers were confronted by organisers over the weekend after they turned up at the dress-up festival as “rappers” wearing blackface. They were led straight to the showers and told to wash off.

“Secret Garden is a place that’s about expression and inclusivity,” Lewis said, speaking to Music Feeds.

“I can’t tolerate anything that undermines that, and costumes or behaviour by any of our punters that makes the people around them feel uncomfortable or marginalised is completely at odds with what we’re about. Franky, it just isn’t welcome at our event.”

The festival centres around its dress-up theme which Lewis said creates so much room for “imagination and creativity”.

“If the best outfit you can come up with is a lazy provocation aimed at adding to the marginalisation of others, you shouldn’t be there,” Lewis continued.

Lewis believes that the festival industry and community at large has to work to be “better prepared” to deal with situations like this. They need to “make sure that everyone understands and celebrates what it means to have an inclusive atmosphere,” he said.

Lewis is also disappointed that the punters who participated in the black-face dress-up are seemingly “revelling in it” on Facebook. “It’s really disheartening,” he said.

In a screenshot posted by The Brag, one of the punters posted a picture of the dress-up on Facebook. He then commented, “We got made to have showers and wash it off #causewereblack”.


Check out a gallery of all our best snaps from Secret Garden 2016 below.

Gallery: Secret Garden Festival, Camden NSW 2016 / Photos By Maria Boyadgis

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