Music festivals on Anzac Day could be banned in NSW starting next year to stop the “creeping commercialism” of the day, Premier Chris Minns announced.

Minns told The Daily Telegraph that it is important to honour veterans for their contributions, calling Anzac Day the “one day that pulls Australians together,” and extend retail trading restrictions to cover all of Anzac Day.

“We believe it’s crucially important in ensuring that we commemorate our Diggers and use Anzac Day in particular as an opportunity to respect those that have served their country,” Minns said.

“I think there’s been a creeping movement away from [Anzac Day] as an opportunity to commemorate those that serve the country, in particular those that gave their life on behalf of Australia.”

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Minns confirmed his stance on social media. “Our veterans deserve to be commemorated properly. So we’re making ANZAC Day a proper day of remembrance,” he comments. “ANZAC Day is the only Public Holiday with half-day trading restrictions. So we’re changing that. It means veterans and their families can commemorate the day without having to run off to work at 1PM. It just makes sense.”

The premier told The Daily Telegraph title that music festivals were part of the restrictions though, curiously, NRL matches wouldn’t be affected.

“There is a distinction, and I think it’s reasonable for the government to draw this distinction, between a for-profit major rock concert in the domain, that has nothing really to do with ANZAC day, that hasn’t been done in co-operation or consultation with the RSL,” he said.

The Australian Festivals Association has hit back, noting the ban on music festivals statewide on Anzac Day was “complete overreach.”

“Allowing people to go to the pub and play two-up yet not attend a music festival shows the NSW government’s priorities are completely out of line with the community,” the social post reads.

“Music festivals contribute to culture and community. We are committed to work with NSW government so festivals can respectfully co-exist alongside these important commemorations.”

The ongoing “war on festivals must end,” the AFA notes.

Minns’ office hasn’t walked back those published comments. The Brag Media reached out to Minns’ team for clarification.

This announcement follows the controversy earlier this year when a music festival slated to take place in Sydney on Anzac Day was canceled after the state government faced fierce backlash. Pandemonium Rocks was scheduled for April 25th in The Domain, clashing with the annual Anzac March at nearby Hyde Park.

Veteran groups were outraged, with the President of RSL NSW, Mick Bainbridge, telling Ben Fordham on 2GB radio, “Anzac Day is not for sale.” Despite the organisers offering to donate a portion of their proceeds, the event was not permitted to go ahead.

Mr. Minns addressed the issue in a press conference, stating that the state government had not agreed to any terms with the festival’s promoters.

“A rock concert in the middle of the CBD on Anzac Day can’t go ahead and we won’t allow it to go ahead,” he said. “The truth of the matter is that is completely inconsistent with the importance of Anzac Day – the importance of the community coming together and ensuring that we commemorate those that have given their lives in the service of the country and those who’ve returned from wars in recent years from Afghanistan and Iraq.”

The Sydney leg of Pandemonium Rocks was subsequently moved to Cathy Freeman Park in the Sydney Olympic Park Precinct, featuring Alice Cooper, Blondie, Placebo, Deep Purple, and other top international and Australian artists.

According to a statement from Minns’ team, small businesses and business not considered retailers or with exemptions such as markets, cafes, chemists, newsagencies and takeaway restaurants aren’t affected by the ban.

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