Five festivals on “high risk” list taking NSW government to court
The “war on festivals” has taken on a new twist, with an initial five operators on the NSW government’s “high risk” list preparing to take legal action against the state.
The five promoters include Days Like This Festival, Division Agency, Novel, Lost Paradise and Finely Tuned, with more expected to join the legal action.
Update: TMN understands that at least two more festivals have joined the class action but chose not to be named until filings are lodged with the courts. Other festivals are currently “weighing up” their options, while others are fearful of “potential backlash” from the NSW government.
The “higher risk” list was released by the NSW government last weekend (Feb 23) after a week of last-minute pleas and discussions to delay the new legislation (which come into effect today) and an angry Don’t Kill Live Music rally at Sydney’s Hyde Park.
TMN reached out to the NSW government for comment. You can read their statement here.
In a statement issued to TMN, the promoters acknowledged “the tragedies that have occurred and do not wish to detract from their severity”.
“The families of those impacted are in our thoughts.”
The promoters found the release listing their festivals to be “misguided and unwarranted”.
“There has been zero transparency or justification as to why what started off as a proposed industry-wide legislation has now been reduced to a list of 14 festivals who have now publicly been labelled as ‘High Risk’ by the government.”
The promoters go on to say the criteria used to decide which festivals were on the list was “flawed” and “a knee-jerk reaction”, and expressed disappointment there was no proper consultation between the government and the promoters.
Jason Ayoubi from Days Like This and spokesman for the group, says, “I have over 25 years of experience in delivering well executed and safe events nationally including some of Australia’s leading festival brands; Future Music Festival and Summadayze.
“I also played an integral part in producing the Code of Practice for running safer music festival and events’ published by the Victorian Government Department of Health.
“I am completely perplexed and astounded to see Days Like This published on a list of ‘High Risk’ festivals with no tangible justification.”
Ayoubi adds, “There was a real opportunity here for the NSW government to consult with an industry that generates over $1.8b a year in revenue to come up with ways we could potentially improve safety at festivals and instead they have chosen to vilify 14 individual festivals without any discussion.
“Any imposed risk matrix should be applied equally and fairly across the entire industry.”
The five, represented by Enyo Lawyers, are “in discussions with solicitors, and will be mounting a challenge to the [list] imminently.”