Government’s New Policies On Live Music Could Prove Crippling To NSW Arts Scene

A group of people standing with their arms raised at a concert

The live music scene is in a state of disarray after the NSW government’s announcement of new policies that could cause the widespread cancellation of festivals.

The guidelines, effective from 1st March, describe what the government refers to as “harm reduction strategies to support event organisers to deliver safe music festivals in NSW”.

The policies have been derided by festivalgoers as unclear and excessively steep, to the point where the government released a statement in an attempt to clarify a few points of contention.

In an attempt to rally the people, the “Don’t Kill Live Music” petition has surfaced on, garnering over 110,000 signatures and publishing a complete overview on the most glaring issues behind the new changes.

The manifesto opens with: “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.

“Instead of consulting with festival experts, the NSW Government imposed punitive regulation that specifically targets music festivals and music fans. Festivals are being used as a scapegoat for years of failed drug and alcohol policy.

“We want our music culture to be safe and inclusive. Onerous and ill-considered regulation will not save lives. And the State Government is decimating our music culture in the process”.

The movement will come to a crescendo tomorrow in the form of a rally taking place in Hyde Park from 6 pm.

B&T spoke with M&C Saatchi Sport and Entertainment managing director Jamie Gilbert-Smith on the policies, and the potential ramifications they could have on the NSW music scene.

“It’s a huge industry, the musical festival business,” said Gilbert-Smith.

“It’s over 1 billion, when you take into account its knock-on effect into the local economies, and I think the ambiguity casts a shadow over that and therefore puts at risk a lot of people’s livelihoods.

“If you’re going to do that, then you need to have a lot more clarity as to what the parameters are, because by keeping it open, you’re effectively just allowing the government to shut things down as and when they want.

“I think in general, there’s going to be a knock-on effect that nobody really quite understands until it happens, it’s a bit like the lockout laws”.

He warned that the strictness of the policies could cause a mass exodus of future events from the state, saying: “If you were an existing sponsor of a festival, you’d probably want to work with whoever the organiser is to minimise the risk of last-minute cancellations.

“I’d imagine that you’ll start seeing a lot of the festivals changing locations, moving to other states.

“I know if I was a music promoter, that’s what I’d do”.

Jamie Gilbert-Smith

He also suggested that brands could opt for other opportunities to target the same demographic, with a lot less risk involved.

“For instance, our UK guys do a lot of work with Ballantine’s and [online live music streaming platform] Boiler Room.

“It’s basically just different ways of brands bringing music to their audience, so I don’t think that’s going to go away.

“Personally, I wouldn’t be putting money into potentially risky festivals — I wouldn’t be advising brands to do that”.

On the concept of specific brands championing the “Don’t Kill Live Music” movement, Gilbert-Smith said:  “I’m not that aware of any brand really leading the anti-lockout laws argument, so I don’t know if you’ll see brands doing that.

“But there are certainly some brands that have leveraged music and festivals as a passion platform that you would think, a have a right to do that but b probably have an obligation to do it as well.

“I think if you’ve reaped the benefits of associating with festivals, then you should probably think about how you can be part of that conversation”.

He concluded: “This is a very interesting time for the arts and creative services in New South Wales.

“It’s really a very interesting space to watch, and I think they could have been a bit more open-minded and reached out to a broader spectrum of people from that world to look at solutions to the problems that are invariably there, but other markets have looked at solving — for instance, pill testing and things like that.

“I just think it’s a very knee-jerk, nanny state, typical New South Wales”.

Please login with linkedin to comment

don't kill live music M&C Saatchi

Latest News

Optus Offers Victorians Free Access To Optus Sport
  • Media

Optus Offers Victorians Free Access To Optus Sport

Locked down Victorians who don’t currently have an Optus Sport subscription will have complimentary access to Optus Sport from this weekend to enjoy the UEFA Champions League tournament plus access to premium health and fitness content through the Optus Sport app. UEFA Champions League – the world’s premier continental football tournament – kicks off at […]

Torrens University Australia Launches ‘Career Crush’ Via VCCP Sydney & Lash
  • Campaigns

Torrens University Australia Launches ‘Career Crush’ Via VCCP Sydney & Lash

Torrens University Australia has launched ‘Career Crush’ via VCCP Sydney and Lash, to help match students with a career they’ll love. Career Crush is an online quiz that determines prospective students’ personal strengths, passions and aspirations to match them with the careers and courses they’re most compatible with. One of the toughest decisions young people […]

Pedestrian Partners With With NZ’s Mi9 To Expand Commercial Offering
  • Media

Pedestrian Partners With With NZ’s Mi9 To Expand Commercial Offering

Pedestrian Group has partnered with Nine subsidiary Mi9 New Zealand to offer NZ brands the opportunity to partner with the likes of Business Insider Australia, and Gizmodo Australia. Next month, Mi9 New Zealand will be representing Pedestrian Group in the NZ market, offering clients the opportunity to work with leading youth publications including Lifehacker […]

VCNI To Launch SVOD Service Featuring ViacomCBS Content, Replaces 10 All Access
  • Media

VCNI To Launch SVOD Service Featuring ViacomCBS Content, Replaces 10 All Access

ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI), a division of ViacomCBS, is launching a premium streaming service internationally, appealing to audiences of all ages. The new SVOD service will start its international roll-out early in 2021, offering exclusive premieres of all new SHOWTIME series, including Halo and American Rust. CBS All Access originals will also premiere exclusively on the new service, such […]

Optus ‘Yes’ Brand Mark Taken Into New Territory By FutureDeluxe
  • Media

Optus ‘Yes’ Brand Mark Taken Into New Territory By FutureDeluxe

As part of a larger project to refine their brand with partner branding agency Re, Optus have engaged experimental creative studio FutureDeluxe to explore how the iconic ‘Yes’ brand mark behaves in a sophisticated 3D environment. FutureDeluxe have produced a series of 8x idents and a number of static key visuals which will be used […]

Emotive Partners With YouTube And The United Nations
  • Media

Emotive Partners With YouTube And The United Nations

Creative agency, Emotive, and Good Oil Films, is partnering with YouTube and the United Nations to raise awareness around the importance of quality education, which forms part of the UN’s Global Goals for sustainable development.