EP166 - Melbourne Loop and The Festival War: Creating Safe Spaces

Sunday, 9 September 2018 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm

Nick and Ash discuss the week in news and are joined in the studio by Rite Brian from the Loop Australia.

EGA Panel - The Festival War: Creating Safe Spaces

Facilitator: Martin Williams (EGA and PRISM).


  • Tim Harvey (Rainbow Serpent Festival),
  • Paul Abad (Earth Frequency Festival),
  • Michael Balderstone (MardiGrass),
  • Shane Russell (Dragon Dreaming Festival),
  • Stephanie Tzanetis (Dancewize)

With hyperbole ever-present in the media, regulatory tightening, and law enforcement’s increasing presence at festival sites, one of the front lines of the war on drugs is fought at festivals. In this climate, impeccable harm reduction practices are imperative. Join the conversation with representatives from major festivals throughout Australia on the dynamics of creating safe spaces. This discussion includes but is not limited to: A short history of the festival movement in Australia. The mainstreaming of festivals. The current pressures of running large-scale festivals compared to small-scale events. What is a safe space and what might it look like? How do festival producers assist in making safe spaces and what other services are involved to assist with this goal? The importance of considering ‘set, setting and substance’ in creating safe spaces. What might people need a safe space for and protecting from? The most effective safe spaces are collaborative projects built by the community it exists to serve. Should safe spaces be segregated in some cases, eg. gender-based or medical reasons? Education around drug use and the services available if someone needs assistance. Peer support and educating attendees to look out for each other. Being proactive around safety and harm reduction activities and services. Failed drug policy and the pressure police and councils place on festival organisers. Police presence at festivals. DIY approaches to safe spaces and harm reduction. Upscaling of police forces and presence at festivals and the effect of such operations.