The Melbourne Cup is often toted as the ‘race that stops a nation’ but the fallout looks not dissimilar to music festivals if not seemingly worse. With immense amounts of rubbish and some fairly loose photos and videos of punters ‘having a good time’ it makes us wonder, why the double-standards? Why don’t the races have the same accountability as our music festivals?
Music Festivals by comparison are often toted as the most dangerous place a young person can go, where they will be pressured into drinking far too much and sometimes partaking in some other dubious things. The reality is: yep, that could very well be a possibility, but it’s not the full story.
Music festivals at their core are a lot of fun and an opportunity to watch some seriously great local and international talent, a chance to socialise and make some new friends – which is why hundreds of thousands of punters attend them annually and often local police praise the behaviour of those there. It’s not just a hedonistic music orgy either, with music festival organisers subjected to layers upon layers of safety before, during and post the event – for more on that, you can check out everything they do to keep you safe here.
In contrast, Melbourne Cup which alone hosts a reported 120,000 on the day is celebrated by many for these exact same reasons ie booze, drugs and a chance to socialise. While whipping horses and gambling (not so much a fan of either) does make up a huge focus of Melbourne Cup it’s praised and celebrated as a national spectacle with those in Victoria even treated to a public holiday for the event.
You’d expect much the same when it comes to safety at the Melbourne Cup with on-ground security, RSA on all bars, free water, a police presence and a lot of behind the scenes activity but wait, where are the sniffer dogs?? In contrast this years Defqon had over 200 police as well as undercover detectives and a number of drug detection dogs which didn’t stop the tragic passing of two attendees and actioned a ‘Festival Safety Panel’ headed up by government officials without any input from festival organisers.
While it seems like this piece is heading towards calling for similar actions towards Melbourne Cup such as those for music festivals, it’s not.
This really is just about highlighting that if people are free to socialise and enjoy themselves at the races, then they too should be able to at music festivals. But that’s not the case, there are still on-going restrictions and scrutiny towards punters and organisers that are haemorrhaging new and on-going events with huge burdening costs.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a music fan, or a fan of the races (despite the fact we’re definitely not) a good time should not be something we’re scrutinised for, and we should all have the freedom to enjoy ourselves safely.
Check out a selection of snaps below from this years Melbourne Cup via the Sydney Morning Herald
Photo credits: Justin Mcmanus and Chris Hopkins