Music Industry Rallies Against Government With White Noise And Static

Australia's music scene is standing against the NSW government's crackdown on festivals with a novel strategy -- static.

The #VoteMusic campaign was launched on Tuesday by the Australian Festival Association, joined by  Live Performance Australia, APRA AMCOS, Live Music Office, Music NSW, ARIA and PPCA.

The push has seen the social media pages of Australian festivals and music companies filled with images and video of static, to represent what AFA says would be left without live music in the state.

"What's left without festivals showcasing music and culture? White noise and static," AFA said.

The campaign is in response to the NSW Government confirming on Monday a list of 14 festivals named in February were considered "high risk" and would be subject to tighter regulations and fees.

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The AMA said festival organisers were notified by text message late on Monday evening, and were not given clarity around the guidelines they were assessed on, or a right of reply.

"There remains confusion that these festivals shouldn’t even be in the high-risk category. A stand out example is Laneway Festival which does not meet the government’s stated high-risk criteria," it said in a statement.

"It’s also not clear how new festivals will be assessed, what discretionary powers will be available and what risk assessment criteria will be applied."

The Laneway Festival in Sydney in 2014. Photo: AAP

The AFA said more than 3.2 million people attended a live music event in NSW last year, and the industry was worth $1 billion to the nation's economy, of which a third of that was from events in NSW.

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The AFA slammed the government, calling its consultation process "a farce".

"The music industry was willing to work constructively with government before it introduced these regulations," it said.

"That failed so we're now making sure our voices will be heard during the election campaign."

Image: Laneway Festival

NSW Shadow Minister for Music John Graham said Labor would support the #VoteMusic campaign.

“This campaign is a glimpse of the future of the NSW music scene – static and white noise. To save music in NSW we need to change the government," he said.

At the time the high-risk festivals list was announced in February, Minister for Racing Paul Toole defended it by saying the regulations were designed to help festival operators with the "evolving challenge" of drug use.

"The NSW Government wants music festivals to thrive -- but serious drug related illnesses and deaths have demonstrated that we need to help make a small number of them safer," he said.

“We know that most operators, including operators of higher risk festivals, work hard to do the right thing – now they will have access to more expert advice and support to help them run safer events."

Thousands gathered in Sydney's Hyde Park at the 'Don't Kill Live Music Rally'. Images: AAP and 10 daily.

In late February, thousands gathered in Sydney to protest the government's regulations against live music events.

The 'Don't Kill Live Music' Rally in Hyde Park also had a festival-worthy line-up perform.

Hottest 100 Winners Ocean Alley and The Rubens performed alongside Cloud Control, Urthboy, Bertie Blackman and Olympia.