Low risk music festival to be fee free

Licences for low risk music festivals will be free under the NSW Government’s new licensing scheme to start from March 1, Minister for Racing Paul Toole announced.

Mr Toole said the vast majority of music festival operators who have been doing the right thing will not be unduly impacted by the changes.

“NSW has a rich and vibrant music scene – something we want to protect and promote,” Mr Toole said.

“Music festivals that have had no safety issues in the past should have no trouble operating under the new scheme, which will help make all music festivals safer.

“This new scheme will help ensure that music festivals remain a key part of NSW’s entertainment scene and economy, and are safe for everyone to enjoy.”

An expert panel on safety at music festivals was convened following the tragic deaths of two young people who attended a music festival in September 2018.

The Government accepted all of the panel’s recommendations to improve safety at music festivals, and is moving now to strengthen licensing arrangements to ensure that events with a poor track record or heightened risk will face greater oversight.

Under the new scheme, licences for operators of music festivals that are not assessed as low risk will be $650 – the equivalent of the Special Event Licence Fee most festivals already pay – and all music festivals will be required to comply with safety requirements determined by experts from NSW Health and NSW Police, in consultation with festival operators.

“For festivals that have a good track record and good practices in place, it will be largely business as usual,” Mr Toole said.

“Unless good operators are planning significant changes to their festival, their licence conditions – including health and police requirements – will not be materially different to previous years.

“Additionally, under the new scheme, festival operators will be provided with extra support and guidance from NSW Health and NSW Police to ensure costs on industry are minimised and the safety of festival goers is maximised.”

The Government continues to work with the music festival industry and other stakeholders regarding the final arrangements for the new licensing scheme, to ensure the right balance is struck between great entertainment and festival safety – and is committed to continuing to work with the industry following the commencement of the new scheme.