NSW Government Seemingly Bans Music Festivals On Anzac Day

10 July 2024 | 3:40 pm | Mary Varvaris

NSW Premier Chris Minns recently stated that Anzac Day is “not a day for festivals”.

Good Things Festival Sydney

Good Things Festival Sydney (Credit: Hayden Nixon)

The big news from the New South Wales government today is the plan to ban retail trade on Anzac Day next year.

The restrictions are set to affect supermarkets and fashion retailers, with small businesses excluded and exemptions for chemists, takeaway restaurants, newsagents, and cafes. The new retail trading restrictions will also stretch until midnight when they used to lift at 1 pm.

However, according to reports on Nine News and The Daily Telegraph, live music could also be caught in the crossfire, with Minns reportedly planning to ban music festivals on the 25th of April.

In a press conference, Minns said that the plan to close trade for Anzac Day is about stopping “creeping commercialism” on an important day.

“For Australians, no occasion could be more solemn or significant than Anzac Day,” the premier stated in a press release.

“As of next year, New South Wales will extend our retail trading restrictions across Anzac Day to make sure our veterans are recognised and free to take part in services throughout the day. 

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

“It might be inconvenient for a few hours, but closing our biggest corporate shops for a single day is a small price to pay for living in a free and open democracy.” 

Discussing the move in The Daily Telegraph, Minns added, “I think there’s been a creeping movement away from (Anzac Day) as an opportunity to commemorate those that serve the country, in particular those that gave their life on behalf of Australia.”

Mentioning the inaugural Pandemonium Rocks that happened on 25 April this year – which was forced to move venues in Sydney due to backlash from the RSL – Minns said that Anzac Day is “not a day for festivals”.

The Music has reached out to Minns’ office for clarification on the matter.

In response to Minns indicating that music festivals could be banned in NSW on Anzac Day, the Australian Festivals Association described the move as “complete overreach”.

The AFA made the statement on Instagram and wrote, “Allowing people to go to the pub and play two-up yet not attend a music festival shows the NSW government’s priorities are completely out of line with the community.

“Music festivals contribute to culture and community. We are committed to work with NSW government so festivals can respectfully co-exist alongside these important commemorations. This ongoing war on music festivals must end.”

Earlier this year, Pandemonium Rocks still went ahead on 25 April but at Cathy Freeman Park in the Sydney Olympic Park Precinct. The venue change was decided after talks with key organisations amidst concern over the event’s proximity to the Anzac Day service at the nearby Hyde Park.

Apex Entertainment CEO Andrew McManus said in a statement at the time:

This concert has been six months in the planning and is one of many events, both cultural and sport, that are taking place across the country on April 25.

It is disappointing that despite our best efforts to present the event in what we believe is an appropriate manner, there has been kickback from certain circles”.

This is not an ANZAC Day concert; it is an event that is taking place on the public holiday of April 25th, as are many other events.