Australia’s history with electronic music and nightlife in general is a troubled one, and the country government consistently does very little to actually help the cause. In the latest of a long string of offenses, the NSW Government has effectively shut down Mountain Sounds Festival with a new “police and safety” fee.
“Dear Australia, it breaks our heart to say the NSW Government has well and truly crossed the line,” writes Peking Duk, a legacy act of the festival. According to duo, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian increased the ‘police and safety’ fee in 2019 to $200,000, a 1250% increase over last year when it was just $16,000. Mountain Sounds 2019 was scheduled to open in one week. It is now officially cancelled.
“Gladys Berejiklian says she wants festivals to continue and to grow,” Peking Duk continues, “how exactly do they grow with a $184,000 increase in police costs? Forcing festivals to pay these costs even though out of 15,000 attendees last year there were only 49 drug detections. 49. There were no drug deaths, no drug violcence, nothing to justify an increase in police costs.”
Berejiklian spoke to the press Monday morning and placed the blame on organizers.
“I don’t think it’s fair for organisers to blame anybody but themselves,” she said. “There are rules in place. We want young people to have fun, we want more tourism to the Central Coast and other places. But the festival organisers just have to obey the law. It’s not just about making a quick dollar, it’s also about keeping the people who turn up safe.
“If you can’t spend money making your event safer, well that’s a decision for you, but it’s not fair to blame the government,” she added.
Mountain Sounds organizers claim they were quoted a specific price for police on January 18, after which they were blindsided by this exorbitant increase.
“The Liberal party’s war on festivals in NSW is real and it’s robbing you of your freedom and culture,” the festival wrote in a statement. “Who would’ve known that lock-out laws were just the beginning of the death of live entertainment in NSW. This has now spread to larger-scale and multi-day regional events and it’s only getting worse.”