The Presets say banning festivals because of drug use is “nuts”

Kim Moyes of iconic Sydney dance act The Presets has slammed an announcement by the NSW Premier that music festivals could be banned if drug overdoses continue.

Premier Mike Baird said yesterday that the state government will look at new laws that could see major music festivals banned because of drug use and safety issues, after a young woman was rushed to hospital suffering a suspected drug overdose at Sydney’s Field Day on 1 January. The woman later recovered in hospital.

The new laws would see responsibility for punters’ actions shifted onto festival organisers, and would make it harder for organisers to get permits for festivals if they “have not done the right thing in the past”.

“Individuals need to take responsibility for their actions, but so do the organisers of these festivals,” Premier Baird said. “Enough is enough. This simply has to stop.”

New South Wales Police Minister Troy Grant added that the crackdown would be about, “putting the onus on these festival organisers to have a better duty of care to the partygoers”. “Ultimately, if the events continue to cause deaths, well the festivals will write their own scripts,” Grant said. “They could potentially be shut down.”

Writing on Facebook earlier today, The Presets slammed the decision. “It’s devastating that there have been two drug related deaths at Australian music festivals in recent months,” Moyes wrote, “[but] threatening to shut down NSW music festivals and blaming the organisers for the choices of the attendees? Nuts.”

Moyes compared the reaction to festival deaths with the government’s response to road deaths, pointing out that the ten people killed on NSW roads over the holiday period was labelled “a good result” compared to the previous year. “I don’t want to trivialise their deaths,” Moyes wrote, “but no government is threatening to shut down transport. NSW is starting to become a little hard to swallow.”