One of Australia's biggest music promoters has taken aim at the NSW Government as its controversial festival policy comes into effect today.
Speaking to The Music, Chairman of Live Nation Australasia Michael Coppel, who operates some of the country's biggest festivals including Splendour In The Grass and Falls Festival, slammed the Berejiklian Government's policy as a "knee-jerk reaction to a public health and societal problem".
"The foreshadowed policy will undoubtedly have detrimental effects on the future of festivals in NSW by requiring festival organisers to pay for costly and unnecessary amounts of police and medical services on site, with questionable impact on reducing drug deaths," Coppel said.
"Even successful events do not have unlimited budgets to cover up the failure by government to invest in useful and life-saving anti-drug harm measures.
"These costs will make a number of festivals financially non-viable and will either force festivals to cancel or drive them out of the state or will lead to reduction in patron amenities in other areas."
Coppel said that the current Government's lack of consultation with figures in the music industry illustrates that they "are not equipped to regulate music festivals".
"Their mandate is liquor and gaming, they have zero understanding of the nuances of music festival operation or knowledge of local area needs, in the way that local councils and venues should have," Coppel said.
"Government needs to collaborate and work with the live music industry in order to review all regulation impacting live music and develop a robust, effective and achievable safety protocols for festivals."
Coppel concluded, "If video killed the radio star, then the Berejiklian government has the capacity to kill off music festivals and open-air live music events in NSW".
It comes after five operators of the festivals deemed "high risk" by the NSW Government confirmed they are planning to take legal action, while the Australian Festival Association (AFA) have called on music fans to save festivals in NSW.
“Every music lover in every city, town and regional area across NSW should be very concerned about what’s happening in NSW right now and if they care about live music and festivals they should make their voice heard," the AFA said in a statement today.
ARIA has also thrown its support behind the fight against the Government's festival policy.
"We call on the government to commit to immediate and ongoing consultation with the sector to properly understand this sector’s operation, economic and cultural contribution, as well as the impact of these changes and potential alternative courses of action," ARIA said today.
"ARIA is ready to provide whatever assistance necessary to aid the process of collaboration and engagement with the sector to ensure that the government is equipped with all the relevant information in order to make informed decisions on this important issue."