Peter Noble: The Govt’s festivals policy will force Bluesfest out of NSW [EXCLUSIVE]
“I am saying now, Bluesfest will leave NSW. We have no choice; it’s a matter of survival. Will the last festival to leave NSW please turn out the light of culture in this soon to be barren state?”
This is the sentiment portrayed by Bluesfest Byron Bay Festival Director Peter Noble in a letter to the NSW Government.
In his letter, published exclusively on TIO, Noble has said the current policies handed down by the NSW government in an attempt to curb festival deaths, will “decimate our industry.”
Noble notes that despite Bluesfest being the “most highly-awarded festival, both nationally and internationally”, the new licensing laws will have a crippling effect on Bluesfest:
“Bluesfest may well be celebrating our last festival in NSW should the sitting NSW Government proceed with its plans with its policies,” wrote Noble.
Noble even goes as far as to request all major state events Ministers to get in touch with him as he may very well move Bluesfest to their state.
“We are ready to bring Australia’s favourite festival to your state,” he wrote.
Read Peter Noble’s full letter to the NSW Government below:
Bluesfest may well be celebrating our last festival in NSW should the sitting NSW Government proceed with its plans with its policies.
Even though we are Australia’s most highly-awarded festival both nationally and internationally – having won Best Major Event at the NSW Tourism Awards three years in a row; and in representing NSW we came in second in the Australian Tourism Awards (beating Victoria’s F1 Grand Prix) – we have been designated a ‘high risk event’.
This will cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars to comply with a policy where we and every other event in this State have had zero opportunity to have any consultation or input into a policy where we will need to spend significantly more money to put on the event this year with zero notice.
The policy will see our full strength liquor approval denied, while a myriad of other costs may be levied costing us hundreds of thousand of dollars.
The NSW police regularly state that our policies are those of an industry leader in the supply of alcohol, field hospital, and crowd security and care. But, due to headlines in the media, our 30-year-old professional business is to be seriously damaged in a new policy imposed regarding festival presentation by a government who has rushed the judgement of our industry without full consultation of stake holders, or meetings with entertainment industry professionals.
I charge the Government with a systemic failure in fairness here, and implore all politicians from all parties to quickly become involved with what is a serious injustice.
We, like most events in this State, supply a significant level of culture – we don’t receive a cent from government even though we cause thousands of people to be employed – and bring tens of millions of dollars into NSW through Tourism.
In the recent study done by the NSW government into the arts, it was found NSW is doing it very tough and is significantly behind Victoria and Queensland. I ask the Premier, the Minister for ehe Arts, Tourism and Major Events and EVERY sitting politician: WHY?
Why do you seem to be hell-bent on destroying our industry? We provide culture to the people of this state, and Australia, through our good works. Most festivals haven’t had drug deaths and contribute greatly to our society through presenting well-run, professional, world-class events. Why have we been given zero recognition in this government’s actions?
It seems the new policies are poorly thought-out and through their implementation will decimate our industry should our government not see good sense.
I am saying now, Bluesfest will leave NSW. We have no choice it’s a matter of survival. Will the last festival to leave NSW please turn out the light of culture in this soon to be barren state?
I am requesting all major state events Ministers to get in touch. We are ready to bring Australia’s favourite festival to your state as the leaders of NSW don’t want us, and in fact are legislating us out of business.
I have in my 50 years in presenting music NEVER EXPERIENCED such poorly thought out, unbalanced legislation. Surely a professional governing body could do better. It’s the Lockout Laws Version 2 for festivals.
This is NOT a vote winner in the upcoming election.
Peter Noble OAM
Presenter, Bluesfest and the Boomerang Indigenous Festival
This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.