Thousands of Sydney punters flooded Hyde park tonight to protest the cancellation and downsizing of several music festivals and the introduction of the NSW Government‘s new festival regulations.

The Don’t Kill Live Music rally was supported by local acts like Ocean AlleyThe RubensCloud ControlDan Sultan with Polish ClubUrthboyBertie Blackman, and Olympia. Guest speakers included Rhys Muldoon, Yumi Stynes, The Presets‘ Julian Hamilton, and even Murray Cook from the goddamn Wiggles. 

On ground, organisers encouraged attendees to sign a physical petition to be officially submitted to the government. The Don’t Kill Live Music change.org petition has already attracted more than 117,000 signatures with a goal of 150,000.

Joining the petition were lots and lots of signs and despite the drizzle, were held high. A whole bunch of them absolutely tore into NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and encouraged readers to vote the Liberals out at the March 23 state election. Others were just simple: “Our city is an embarrassment.” 

From March 1, the NSW Government will roll out new festival regulations which many believe will prohibit live music throughout the state.

Of the five recent drug-related deaths at music festivals, Ocean Alley’s Mitch Galbraith told The Project that the government “should be trying to educate people at festivals rather than scare them away”. 

“I think music festivals, one could argue that they’re the best place to start this conversation with kids. And it’s the best place, when they’re out there having fun, to educate them. They’re all in one place together so maybe the government should be trying to educate people at festivals rather than scare them away”. 

“At every festival I’ve been to, the staff and the crew have outnumbered the musicians by far so they’re the people who are going to feel it the most,” Galbraith continued on the reality of festival cancellations. “And the tourism in regional centres, that’s just not going to be felt when these festivals disappear.”

That’s “When a straight tall white man is complaining, something’s really fucked up,” in case you missed it.

Image: AAP / Joel Carrett