Organisers for the highly maligned Defqon.1 dance festival have announced the event has been “postponed indefinitely” and will not return to Australia this year after failing to secure a suitable venue in Sydney in the face of immense pressure from State Government officials.
Defqon drew the ire of NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian following its 2018 iteration, at which two people – a 23-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman – died of drug-related issues and scores more sought medical treatment.
At the time, Premier Berejiklian took the rather extraordinary step of asserting her Government would see to it that the festival would never be welcome back in the state, asserting “I never want to see this event held in Sydney or New South Wales ever again – we will do everything we can to shut this down … I don’t want to see this ever happen again – young lives lost for no reason.” Those comments sparked a growing call for the NSW State Government to at least entertain the idea of allowing a trial of pill testing at music festivals; calls that have so far fallen on deaf ears at Parliament House.
Despite the threat, Defqon organisers ploughed ahead with planning for the 2019 festival, however this afternoon they announced they would be putting the event on ice for the foreseeable future, after the Sydney International Regatta Centre pulled their support and a suitable replacement venue could not be sourced.
In a statement, organisers did not completely rule out a future return to Australia, but heavily implied it was very unlikely.
Warriors, it is with great sadness to inform you that Defqon.1 Festival will not return to Australia this year.
Unfortunately the Sydney International Regatta Centre and its affiliates have withdrawn their support for the event. Despite our best efforts, we have been unable to secure a suitable replacement venue for the event to take place this September.
To our fans, Ambassadors, and everyone else that has contributed to the incredible memories we created for the past 10 years: from the depths of our orange heart we would like to thank all of you for your ongoing support, dedication, and for creating the most epic family imaginable.
While we continue to look for a suitable alternative location that meets our quality standards, we remain uncertain if and when we return.
During this time, we welcome you to explore our events or hostings in any of the 15 countries we are active in this year.
The NSW Government remains unrepentant in their refusal to allow pill testing trials to occur at music festivals in the state.