NSW music festivals will have to be licensed under new regulations following a string of tragedies.
Five people have now died after attending music festivals, including 23-year-old Joseph Pham and 21-year-old Diana Nguyen, who both died of suspected drug overdoses after attending the Defqon.1 festival in September.
Following this festival an expert panel was convened to advise the government on how to keep people safe at music festivals.
Based on the recommendation from the panel, from March organisers will have to apply for a specific liquor licence, similar to those for pubs and clubs, for each music festival they hold.
The licence will be targeted to the risks of the event.
Each application will need to be approved by a panel of experts, envisaged to include NSW Health, NSW Police, NSW Ambulance and Liquor and Gaming NSW, before a licence can be issued.
“Festival organisers will need to ensure their events meet high safety standards,” Minister for Racing Paul Toole said in a statement.
The regime will put the onus on organisers to assess and proactively manage safety risks.
“Events with a poor track record and heightened risk will face greater oversight from authorities,” Mr Toole said.
While the licensing plans are yet to be finalised, interim measures are already in place, including “chill out zones” staffed with doctors, nurses and paramedics to help festival goers who feel unwell.
Organisers are also required to provide free water stations to ensure people are properly hydrated.
The new scheme will come into place from March 1, with more details to be announced.