Following last weekend’s final Secret Garden festival, the heavy police presence is copping some pretty serious backlash. The police, both uniformed and plain clothes, were allegedly stopping people for multiple searches, strip searching, and being generally intimidating.
Both punters and artists have called out the police presence on social media. Artist manager Ali Tomoana, alleges that one of her female artists had a particularly nasty interaction with NSW police. She alleges that police strip-searched the unnamed artist. The post garnered some pretty passionate responses from punters and artists, and has been picked up by Greens run anti sniffer dog account, Sniff Off.
The heavy police presence at Secret Garden festival is being criticised by artists and punters for being “intimidating” and “a disgrace”.
Artist Mojo Juju backed up Tomoana’s claim in a tweet describing police actions as “bullshit”. “I can vouch for this bullshit. Saw them strip search artists. Had our car searched & ID checked 3 x by police the way in to play.” Jezabels guitarist Samuel Lockwood also weighed in on the police presence, calling it “a disgrace”.
This is just another nail in the coffin of NSW festivals. The Liberal state government continues what has been called a “war on festivals”. And with new regulations coming into effect on March 1st, there seems to be no improvement on the horizon. This follows the insanely successful Don’t Kill Live Music rally held last Thursday in Sydney’s Hyde Park, where an estimate of over 10,000 people turned out. It’s pretty bloody clear that music fans and artists alike agree that these restrictions on NSW culture is disgraceful.