Australian Music Festival Forced to Cancel Due to 529% Government-Imposed Price Hike: Report

Rising costs have left many festivals with no choice but to cancel this year, and one major Australian EDM festival is the latest domino to fall.

The organizers of Australia's Return to Rio festival have cancelled this year's event due to a staggering 529% cost increase, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. In New South Wales, a government mandate called the Music Festivals Act allows state administration to fully control the prices of police presence, medical necessities and more.

Electronic music festivals in New South Wales have reportedly been deemed too "high risk," requiring their organizers to pay for "harm minimisation" tactics, including riot squads, strip search facilities, CCTV, police boats and interrogation areas. Return to Rio's promoters highlighted their decade-long track record of hosting safe and well-coordinated events, but still faced the astonishing rate hike.

"This, combined with the extra rules and regulations we have to adhere to, meant last year we incurred more than $300K in extra costs," reads a statement released by Return to Rio. "For a small family-run business, this makes it almost impossible not to run at a loss."

"The sad reality is that in NSW, electronic music is unfairly targeted," the statement continued. "And if this continues, we’ll only be left with beige government-run events and commercial mega-corp festivals, while the smaller diverse and boutique events die out."

The Aussie event joins a slew of American festivals, including Backwoods, Imagine and Firefly, that will not take place in 2024. 

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