Australian festivals, notably dance music festivals, have come under fire recently over drug use at festivals and other safety issues. There has been a slight resurgence in the health of Aussie festivals in the past few years after a very lean start to the decade, but times are still a bit precarious, especially with increasing pressure from governments, some parts of the public and activist members of the media. In steps the Australian Festival Association, which aims to “represent the common interests and aspirations of the Australian festival industry” and bring the various festivals together.
Announced today, December 21, the AFA will include individuals including producers, promoters, cultural organizers and festival operators. It will be led by Jessica Ducrou (Splendour in the Grass, Falls Festival, Download) Matthew Lazarus-Hall (CMC Rocks QLD, ex-Chugg Entertainment), Rod Little (Groovin The Moo, The Plot), Adelle Robinson (Listen Out, Listen In, Field Day, Harbourlife, Curve Ball) and Danny Rogers (St Jerome’s Laneway Festival).
It seeks to connect festival organizers with regulatory bodies, develop “best practices,” represent the industry in the media and uphold the reputation of festivals internationally. It also says it is committed to “helping members deliver safe and well-run festivals around Australia, and establishing world leading operating standards for our industry.”
It wants to help with a variety of issues such as drug policy, harm minimization, green initiatives, event medical guidelines and more.