With just under a month until the kick-off of this year’s edition of the Meredith Music Festival, the event’s mysterious benefactor has issued a warning against anyone looking to sneak their way into the annual event for free: do it and you’re risking severe consequences.

Aunty Meredith, the entity behind the annual Meredith and Golden Plains festival, has sent an open letter to festival-goers today protesting against those looking to breach the festivals’ long-running ‘No Dickheads’ policy, including revealing that it has sought to charge and prosecute 18 people with criminal trespass for breaking into the festivals’ Supernatural Amphitheatre and its surrounds.

“You may see in the news that this month, 18 people are due to appear in court charged with trespass in relation to the festivals,” writes Aunty Meredith. “The maximum penalty is approximately $2750 or 6 months imprisonment,” Aunty adds, with the 18 trespassers set to appear before the Geelong Magistrates court.

“There are also other ramifications – I can tell you that some people who have been caught trespassing have begged not to be charged as a criminal conviction would wipe out their employment prospects and in many cases means being removed from current employment.”

In response to the risk of losing their jobs and earning a criminal conviction and/or jail-time, Aunty Meredith is taking a ‘Zero Tolerance’ approach to the those looking to gain entry into the events without a valid ticket, using the 18 offenders as a hardline action of the ‘No Dickheads’ policy, designed to “protect the integrity” of Meredith and Golden Plains. “Attempting to get into the festival without a valid ticket is not a harmless bit of fun – it has serious consequences.”

“A few years ago,” explains ‘Aunty’, “we put a process in place with the help of locals, neighbours, Victoria Police and our security team (who have been with us for over 15 years and understand the festivals well),” to develop the ‘Zero Tolerance’ policy (which you can read here). Which includes anyone caught assisting trespassers, who will “be refused entry or ejected from the festival and banned from future festivals at the site.”

The statement continues: “festival-goers and those who missed out on tickets are now regularly expressing to me their intense disappointment at people who try to scam or cheat their way in. In fact they often give anonymous (and not anonymous) tip-offs about how and when these nefarious activities are intended.”

Festival organisers declare they will continue to enforce the Zero Tolerance policy ahead of this year’s Meredith 2013, taking place 13th to the 15th December and featuring a lineup of Chic with Nile Rodgers, Melvins, Deerhunter, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Courtney Barnett, and many more.

Aside from “making the festival slightly fuller,” writes the benefactor, with this year’s Meredith capacity reduced by 500 people, “getting in when others didn’t and usually being d!ckhe@ds, these trespassers also brought with them other serious issues, including risking injury by walking through worksites, farms, dangerous unknown terrain and of course intruding on the natural habitat of some rather venomous reptiles. They brought a bushfire risk by way of cigarettes and their vehicles blocking access roads and gates.”

Aunty Meredith concludes: “attempting to get into the festival without a valid ticket is not a harmless bit of fun – it has serious consequences. Trespass is not just against the law: it is a massive breach of the ‘No D!ckhe@d Policy’,” – referring to the events’ famous conditions first introduced in 1993 to maintain the integrity and atmosphere of Meredith and Golden Plains, which includes those looking to profit from scalping tickets to the popular festivals.

“We also know how angry Meredith-goers get when they see thieves and scalpers trying to rob and scam people for tickets through sites like ebay and gumtree (recently one of these scammers received a 3-month jail sentence),” Aunty Meredith reveals, “hence the introduction of Aunty’s Waitlist this year, a no-cost service that keeps tickets and hard earned cash out of the hands of d!ckhe@ds.”

The same re-sale facility is to be used for next year’s edition of Golden Plains. Tickets for the March sister festival – featuring a 2014 lineup of Public Enemy, You Am I, Flying Lotus, Neko Case, and more – went on sale in early November, and as predicted, were swiftly snapped up and lead to a sell-out.

Read our guide to Meredith Music Festival 2013 here and check out the Golden Plains lineup below.

Golden Plains 2014 Lineup

Public Enemy
You Am I
Flying Lotus
Neko Case
Fat Freddy’s Drop
Yo La Tengo
Cut Copy
Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires
The Drones
Chet Faker
Gold Panda
Cosmic Psychos
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard
Hiatus Kiayote
Los Coronas
Osaka Monaurail
Tornado Wallace
Mark Pritchard
The Orbweavers
Archer and the Long Gone Daddies
The Perch Creek Family Jugband
DJ Jnett
JPS (The Operatives)
Spacey Space
Silence Is Golden
Andras Fox feat. Oscar Key Sung

Interstitial soundtrack provided by:
Typical Girls
Breaking & Entering
Max Crawdaddy
La Pocock

Golden Plains 2014 Dates, Tickets

Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre
March 8th – 10th, 2014
Tickets via ballot at www.goldenplains.com.au

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