A small festival in Casino, on the outskirts of NSW has been hit with a quote 10 times larger than previous years to have NSW Police in attendance in what is being considered as an inadvertent way to halt the event and has led to a showdown at the Land and Environmental Court.
Last year Bohemian Beatfreaks, under the parent company Rabbits Eats Lettuce paid around $16,000 to have a number of Police on-ground in what is largely seen as a requirement for festivals to proceed in New South Wales (sort of like paid security, but you need them otherwise your event won’t happen), but with just a week until the start of the 3-day festival, the quote was increased to $200,000 to have up to 70 officers on-site – to put that in perspective, that’s one officer for every 42 people.
This follows the NSW Police withdrawing their support citing a number risks at the festival and putting the event into the ‘extreme’ category even without any serious incidents since the local Richmond Valley Council had begun approving permits since 2015.
A spokesperson for the event Mr Lamir-Pike told ABC that “It seems as though they’ve given us a hefty $200,000 user-paid police quote to try and price us out because they feel that they might lose this court case,” adding “We have a dedicated emergency manager on site who was in the Victorian police force for many years and our medical facility can accommodate pretty much anything except for surgery,”
Mr Lamir-Pike believes the quote is excessive considering the capacity of around 3,000 and sees NSW Police somehow comparing his event to Defqon 1 earlier this year that saw two tragic deaths even with over 150 officers in attendance including undercover police and drug detection dogs.
The court action comes as two warehouse events were raided and shutdown over the weekend in Sydney with a third warned not to proceed as well as a major ramp up in police presence and drug detection dogs at Summer Dance, coincidentally the same week that the Lockout laws were to be voted on in NSW Parliament.
Is this all just one last push by the NSW Liberal Government to cripple the industry, before facing an election next year, with nearly three attempts to table a vote, on the heels of a damning report by their own Parliamentary committee about the state of music?
>> Festivals around Australia already do a lot to keep patrons safe, check out an exhaustive list of things they do here
>> Check out a list of recent drug possession statistics at music festival here that show music festivals aren’t as dangerous as some might think
>> Read up on the double-standards of the raves vs music festivals