One of the big conversations coming into and out of the election is around the state of live music and music festivals in New South Wales, and what that large part of the economy will look like in the years to come.
The NSW state election has come and just about gone, and it’s looking like the state is in for another term of a Liberal government with Gladys Berejiklian back at the head of the table.
As the government seemingly tightened its grip on the live music industry, bringing legislation into effect that has the potential to price boutique festivals out of the game entirely before the state went to the polls, where do we stand now we’re very likely in for another four years of the same people in charge?
PEDESTRIAN.TV‘s Deputy Editor, music-enjoyer, and politics buff James Hennessy dropped into our podcast studio for a special mini-episode of Sneak Up, where he gazed into his political crystal ball about what’s likely next on the agenda to make sure NSW doesn’t lose its title of being the festival capital of Australia.
In the months leading up to the election, we saw campaigning collective Keep Sydney Open make the move from a vocal metropolitan-focused protest group into a political party with varied results, music festivals and touring companies forming the Australian Festivals Association, and a massive snap protest in Sydney to push for policy reform.
— Frontier Touring (@frontiertouring) February 21, 2019
But now that the election’s done and counted and New South Wales is staring down another term of a government that comes across as having little regard for its youth, what can be done?
I think there’s a chance that something can happen [in the next four years] because even though many would describe some of the actions that the NSW government takes is overly punitive or reactionary to stuff that’s been going on, there’s definitely a sense that they are feeling that pressure [from the public].
At the end of the day the Coalition, for example, does not ultimately want to alienate young voters, because these are people they’re going to want onside for whatever reason later down the track.
The biggest method of action that James drives home is for us young folk to keep the pressure on the government and don’t let the conversation quieten down. Whether that’s supporting initiatives and live music events, or contacting your local MP’s office, the important thing is to keep the conversation in the public conversation.
But there is the sense that they are responding to external pressure, so it’s just a matter of keeping that up, making sure that conversation keeps happening. The people of Sydney have done an incredibly good job of keeping that conversation going. It’s very possible that something, or some sort of loosening, or some sort of investment, can happen in the next four years.
James believes that the NSW government isn’t foolish enough to disregard the fact that live music and festivals are a huge player in the economic and tourism sectors of the state, and that they’re aware that choking out music and cultural events in the state will do more harm than good, especially at the next election.
I don’t think NSW is going to want to lose its position as basically the festival capital of Australia. Obviously, the biggest, most-important festivals do happen here. And I think that the Government would be very critically aware of that, and critically aware that by losing that, they’re losing an economic boon to the regions of NSW.
Obviously, things like Splendour and Bluesfest and Falls are all massive boons for the Northern Coast of NSW, and the government’s not gonna want to lose that.
Listen to the whole chat below, and make sure you subscribe to Sneak Up on Spotify or iTunes where PEDESTRIAN.TV and Platypus Shoes have teamed up to bring you more important conversations about culture in Australia.Image: Getty Images / Cassandra Hannagan