Splendour In The Grass reportedly informed about adult accompaniment rule for under 18s last month

"The condition to require minors to be accompanied by a responsible adult is not a last-minute change," the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority said in a statement

Splendour In The Grass organisers were reportedly informed of the adult accompaniment rule for ticketholders aged under 18 a month ago, according to New South Wales authorities.

Organisers released a statement on Monday (July 11) announcing the rule change, saying they had only been informed of the decision last Thursday (July 7). Moshtix sent out an email to affected ticketholders on July 8.

They cited “late developments regarding Splendour’s Liquor Licensing” as the reason for the change, emphasising “this is not Splendour’s decision”.

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“These new rules have been imposed on us by NSW Police,” the festival’s statement read. “We were only informed of this late Thursday and we are very unhappy about these major changes being forced on the festival at such a late stage.”

However, as reported by The Guardian, a statement from the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) outlined a meeting that was held between itself, festival organisers, NSW Liquor & Gaming and NSW Police last month, to discuss how the festival would comply with licensing changes that had been legislated in 2019.

The NSW legislation in question outlines a supervision rule for patrons under 18 at music festivals deemed “at risk” of safety breaches for young people.

“The condition to require minors to be accompanied by a responsible adult is not a last-minute change – it is an obligation under the law and was agreed to at a meeting with the festival organisers, NSW Police, Liquor & Gaming NSW and ILGA on 16 June,” the statement said. “NSW Police and ILGA both fully support the need for this condition. Any suggestion to the contrary is false.”

A Splendour In The Grass spokesperson told The Guardian that the festival didn’t think it fell under the legislation as an “at risk” event when tickets first went on sale. According to the publication, Splendour was notified by government authorities in June 2020 that it was subject to the new rules, but assumed it would be able to operate under its existing licence, allowing those aged 16 and 17 to attend without adult supervision.

The spokesperson told The Guardian the festival had rejected NSW Police’s recommendations to the ILGA that they be licensed in the same way as any other licensed premises, and had not been informed of ILGA’s acceptance of the recommendation until July 7.

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ILGA, howeve,r claims that it told the festival on July 7 that its health and safety plan had failed to address the issue of supervision for minors in an area where alcohol is being served, which was emphasised to organisers during the June meeting. NME has reached out to Splendour representatives for comment.

Splendour’s Monday announcement coincided with the closure of their official resale platform, meaning no more tickets could be listed past midnight. Tickets can however still be purchased through it until 11:59pm on July 18.

Though the festival’s official terms and conditions state “no refunds will be provided on tickets except as required by law and/or as specified by the Live Performance Australia Ticketing Code of Practice”, a spokesperson for NSW Fair Trading said that those affected may be entitled to a refund.

“Generally, if there are subsequent changes to terms and conditions after purchase that would prevent the purchaser from attending the event, consumer protection laws should provide the impacted ticket holder to obtain redress,” they told  The Guardian.

Splendour In The Grass takes place in Byron Bay next weekend, from July 22-24. The festival’s first iteration in three years, it’ll feature performances from GorillazThe Strokes, Tyler, The Creator and many more.

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