'Just Like The Lockout Laws': Aussie Music Industry Gears Up To Fight NSW Government
Australian music industry heavyweights are fighting back at what they call the NSW government's "war on festivals".
A new collective of artists, festivals, promoters and venues called Don't Kill Live Music will hold a large public protest next Thursday, against what it says is overbearing regulation, exorbitant police bills, and a complete lack of respect for businesses across the state.
"Your music is under attack," says the open letter, signed by signed by some of Australia's biggest artists, including Amy Shark, Bernard Fanning, Dan Sultan, Peking Duk, Tash Sultana, Ocean Alley, Violent Soho, Vance Joy and more.
"Festivals are being used as a scapegoat for years of failed drug and alcohol policy.
"We want our music culture to be safe and inclusive. Onerous and ill-considered regulation will not save lives. And the state government is decimating our music culture in the process."
More than 23,000 people had signed a petition midway through the first day of its launch.
The protest next Thursday is reminiscent of the 4000 people who turned out to protest the lockout laws in 2016, and thousands who have protested at subsequent Keep Sydney Open rallies in the years since.
Artist and former Triple J presenter Kristy Lee Peters, who performs under the stage name KLP, told 10 daily the latest regulations -- which include significantly increased regulatory oversights by Liquor and Gaming -- reminded her of when NSW brought in the controversial lockout laws in 2014.
"There's a no-tolerance view, it's not looking long-term at what's causing the issues," she said.
"It seems too closed off."
The lockout laws, which bought in strict regulations around licensing hours, were in response to violence in the King's Cross nightlife district.
This time around, the government's proposed reforms come in response to five drug-related deaths at music festivals across the state.
Following the deaths of Joseph Pham, 23, and Diana Nguyen, 21, at the Defqon.1 music festival, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian vowed to do "everything we can" to shut the event down.
Defqon.1 is one of the signatories on the petition, along with Splendour in the Grass, Byron Bay Blues Fest, Psyfari and Lost Paradise.
Berejiklian said while music festivals were "a significant part of NSW's entertainment scene" and "an important part" of the state's economy, "we owe it to young people, and their parents and families, to make sure they are safe."
Don't Stop The Music argues these regulations will do nothing to keep people safe, however -- and will kill both industries and live music to boot.
Contact the author: firstname.lastname@example.org