Festival organisers meet for ‘crisis talks’
MORE than 30 festival organisers are meeting at NSW parliament to discuss the government's proposed licensing regime, with one attendee claiming the scheme "comes across as a form of punishment".
Industry leaders attending Monday morning's meeting include representatives from the cancelled Psyfari and Mountain Sounds music festivals.
"This meeting is a chance for our voices to be heard and added to the many voices calling for the licensing scheme to be scrapped, and a more thoughtful approach be taken in creating event rules and guidelines," Steve Demian from Psyfari told AAP in a statement.
"The new event licensing scheme has been created with little involvement from people in the festival industry.
"(It) almost comes across as a form of punishment for events which don't sit right with certain authorities."
Monday's "crisis" talks are being hosted by NSW Greens MP Cate Faehrmann and independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian's new licensing system is due to start in March, with interim measures currently in place for summer festivals deemed high risk.
Almost 33,800 people, including many prominent bands and music festival organisers, have signed a petition letter that warns "music lovers, your music is under attack" from Ms Berejiklian.
"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," the open letter reads.
"The state government has declared a war on music and culture in NSW, proclaiming that music and music festivals are high-risk activities."
The letter demands the government convene a music roundtable to review regulation affecting live music, be more transparent on policing and medical bills, and work with the industry to keep festivals safe.
Mr Demian says the final form of the licensing scheme will make or break his festival.
If smaller events are taken into consideration, "then we will simply be priced out by the added costs", he insists.
This comes after the NSW government admitted its music festival "self assessment matrix" has caused "confusion and misunderstanding" in the entertainment industry.
Five people aged between 19 to 23 have died from suspected drug overdoses at NSW festivals since mid-September.