Following the cancellation of Mountain Sounds Festival, YUNGBLUD and Polish Club have added a special Newcastle gig for the fans. It’s on Friday night at University of Newcastle’s Bar On The Hill.
Tickets are on sale now.
Polish Club had this to say in response to the Mountain Sounds Festival cancellation: “The NSW Liberal government should be held accountable for the blatant, unnecessary damage they continue to do to our industry and many people’s livelihoods. It’s important for everyone affected by and empathetic to this misuse of power to speak out and hold those responsible to account. This is a perfect way for us to do so.”
Essex five-piece Nothing But Thieves will perform at Sydney’s Manning Bar in Sydney on Friday night, too.
Taking a stand
The NSW Government is set to introduce strict new licencing and safety guidelines following a spate of drug-related festival deaths. A greater police presence at festivals is one of the requirements.
Festival director Adrian Buckley has run Wollombi Music Festival for the past four years and says the issues facing the future of festivals in NSW is “about much more than drugs”. He described it as “a war being waged on music and festivals by authorities”.
Despite each of his events being a sell-out, Buckley is now considering moving the festival to another location in the future. Byron Bay Bluesfest director Peter Noble said this week he was considering doing the same: “Bluesfest may well be celebrating our last festival in NSW should the sitting NSW Government proceed with its plans”.
Said Buckley: “The kind of restrictions and expectations being placed upon festivals, particularly camping and rural festivals, is prohibitive and becoming impossible. Bureaucrats are making decisions on the future of events without engaging effectively or collaboratively with promoters.”
Lack of consultation with festival organisers was a problem also highlighted by Noble.
One of the restrictions Buckley takes issue with is fire safety, which he says he understands the importance of but feels is becoming “increasingly arbitrary and unworkable for rural and bush festivals … It has felt increasingly adversarial rather than a positive collaboration. And now with the hysteria around drug use at festivals it’s even harder for events like ours to grow or established larger events to survive”.
When asked about the renewed government focus on drug use at festivals, Buckley said it hadn’t been a problem at Wollombi Music Festival to date.
“Drug use at our festival has never been high and we are a family-friendly event. In saying that our belief is that harm minimisation and education is the answer, not law enforcement. I mean, is anyone winning the war on drugs? Festivals are a microcosm of society and we’re believers in drug education, harm minimisation and for larger festivals that do attract more drug use to have pill testing.”
Mountain Sounds Festival organisers released a statement last week that said: “Due to a combination of increased costs around safety and security and lower-than-expected ticket sales due to the current festival climate, we’ve had to modify the site and staging and therefore reassess the line-up.
“In 2018, Mountain Sounds ran smoothly, with an attendance of 16,000 people over two days, 11 user-pay police and no major drug-related incidents. In 2019, despite our continued proactive harm minimisation measures (and having less attendees than the year before), we were told we would have to pay an additional upfront amount of approximately $200,000 for 45 user-pay police on a 24-hour cycle. This came one week out from the festival and blindsided us.”
Buckley said Wollombi Music Festival has always taken patron care “extremely seriously”.
”Like the promoters of Psyfari said when they cancelled, the people who care the most about patrons are us. We have always had amazing security who buy into what we’re all about. Firm-handed when required yet embracing of our culture. The issue for us is not just what’s happening now, it’s what might happen when we do increase capacity to 3000, which is our goal.
“If the government is so worried about safety why not change the ratio of security to patrons? When an event is being forced to pay for law enforcement, as Mountain Sounds was being forced, at a price that is close to three times the amount of a security professional, it’s not about safety – it’s about government control over events. We’re personally not sure they’re the best people to be making those calls.”
A Don’t Kill Live Music rally is being held in Sydney’s Hyde Park on February 21. In an open letter organisers said: “Overbearing regulation, exorbitant police bills, a lack of respect for NSW businesses and very little recognition of the significant positive impacts of music on our communities is forcing music out of NSW.”
Kylie sells out
Tickets to Kylie Minogue’s A Day On The Green concert at Bimbadgen on March 16 have sold out. The Golden Tour marks Kylie’s first shows since 2015’s Kiss Me Once Tour and her very first time performing outdoor headline concerts in Australia.
Double the odds
Elton John has announced a second Hunter Valley show at Hope Estate as part of his 2020 Australian tour. In addition to his January 11 show, he will also perform on January 12. Tickets are on sale tomorrow through Ticketek. A second concert at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena has also been announced – it’s on January 9. Tickets to his Sydney shows are on sale today.
Music lovers, the Lass O’Gowrie is the place to be on February 23 and 24. Beach St is presenting a new two-day live music event called Cult Vibrations with a diverse line-up based on the Beach St motto: “Made by the artists, for the artists”.
Who’s playing? Ahlia Williams; Alter Ego; Belle Badi; Flight HAWK; Fungas; The Hamilton Alpine Club; ‘Hey Lady!’; Immigrant Union; Johnny Hunter; Leroy Francis; Microwave jonny; New Dark; Nicholas Connors; Nikitta Ra; NTL Landmarks; NUDE; Raaskia; Sara Sandford; Shrimp; Stranger Than Friends; Ultracrush; Voodoo Youth; William John Jr; Ash Campbell; Dave Fulham; Liam Clark; Swim Sessions; David Lobb; Oliver Harlan; and Tom Hudson. Tickets are $20 per day or $30 for a two-day ticket at chinchenst.com.