Organisers of the St Jerome’s Laneway Festival have today warned that a new “high risk” classification by the NSW State Government could spell the end of the festival’s Sydney leg.
Over the weekend, Gladys Berejiklian‘s NSW Government revealed a handy list of 14 festivals that they have deemed to be “high risk” in the wake of five punters who died from suspected drug overdoses in the past six months.
The list includes festivals such as Defqon.1, Knockout Games of Destiny, FOMO, Rolling Loud, and Laneway, just to name a few.
According to these classifications, a festival is considered “high risk” if a serious drug related illness or death occurred in the past three years. Or additionally, if the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority determined there may be a significant risk of such illness or death at those festivals.
Under the State Government’s new draconian regime, these “high risk” festivals will be forced to provide a safety management plan in order to obtain a licence.
After weeks of uncertainty around the NSW Government’s new festival licensing regime, the Racing Minister has released a list of “high risk” festivals which will be subject to harsher conditions to be approved. These festivals have had drug related illnesses or deaths. pic.twitter.com/BdO97iCe0u
— Avani (@AvaniDias) February 22, 2019
However, in an interview with triple j’s Hack programme, Laneway organiser Danny Rogers disputes the classification by the government, noting that Laneway’s track record is better than many festivals not included on the list.
“In the past 14 years in Sydney we’ve only had two transports from the festival with over 300,000 people attending the event [in that time],” Rogers explained.
“When you put it into context it seems kind of strange and baffling.”
“Laneway being put on that list really does put every single other contemporary festival in NSW on that list,” Rogers continued. “If we’re able to make it then anyone else can.”
Most troubling though is Rogers’ assertion that this new classification could spell an end to the Sydney leg of Laneway as we know it.