Foals front man Yannis Philippakis performing at Splendour in the Grass 2019. Supplied by SITG PR
Foals front man Yannis Philippakis performing at Splendour in the Grass 2019. Supplied by SITG PR Bianca Holderness

Are music festivals planning to leave Byron Bay?

ARE music festivals planning to leave Byron Bay?

Members of the Australian Festival Association will consider their futures in NSW after a meeting with the NSW Government.

The Australian Festival Association, Live Performance Australia & APRA AMCOS met on Monday with NSW Minister for Customer Service, Victor Dominello, to raise concerns about proposed music festival legislation and to repeat their request for a Music Festival Industry Roundtable to be established.

At the meeting, the NSW Government committed to further consultation after the passage of the bill, but did not commit to the roundtable.

Uncertainty and a lack of meaningful consultation has a punitive effect on our businesses, the creative economy, jobs and tourism in live music in NSW.

Rod Little, Co-Director, Cattleyard Promotions, said industry consultation and input is vital in developing balanced legislation.

"Without entering into meaningful engagement with the Industry, Government is condemning the future of Festivals not only operating successfully, but thriving in NSW. It will be music-lovers in NSW that will ultimately miss out," he said.

Missing from the AFA statement were music festivals held in Byron Bay.

Mullum Music Festival's director Glenn Wright said he has not been contacted about any changes and is operating under our existing approvals.

"Mullum Music Festival is waiting to see if and how this will impact our event. Regardless, we think the NSW Government should commit to proper and regular consultation with festival organisers across the spectrum," he said.

"We would be concerned with any regulation without consultation with a broad range of industry participants, not just the larger more commercial events.

"There are hundreds of arts, cultural and community-style events that might or might not fall under any legislation," he added.

Bluesfest's Peter noble declined to comment in the matter.

Splendour in the Grass and Falls Byron Bay were also contacted for comment.

NSW Labor criticised the Berejiklian government for not setting up a roundtable with the industry.

John Graham, Shadow Minister for Music and the Night Time Economy, said music fans across NSW will miss seeing their favourite acts if Premier Berejiklian allows the festivals to move out of the state.

"All they will hear are the sounds of silence, as festival after festival packs up and leaves for Queensland, Victoria and the ACT," he said.

He said Labor's proposed amendment to the current bill would establish a Music Festival Roundtable with government and industry members, and it would be tasked with growing the industry, supporting safety at festivals and reviewing evidence and regulation to ensure it is operating effectively.

The proposed roundtable would review the operation of the bill after this coming festival season to examine its impact.