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​Serious breaches detected at snowtunes festival

Thursday 20 August 2015    [PDF, 223kb]

The Office of Liquor, Gaming & Racing (OLGR) is taking regulatory action after multiple serious breaches were detected at a weekend music festival at Jindabyne, including an intoxicated 13-year-old girl found dazed and unaware in the female toilets.

OLGR Director of Compliance & Enforcement Anthony Keon said the inaugural "Snowtunes" event in the Snowy Mountains was promoted by its organisers as a seven hour all ages and family-friendly event, but an alarming number of serious issues were detected.

"OLGR inspectors and Police at the festival found controls and security supervision to be seriously lacking and insufficient for the 3,600 patrons in attendance. This, coupled with the risky nature of the event, created a potentially unsafe environment particularly for minors," Mr Keon said.

"As well as the extremely serious issue of a 13-year-old girl being found intoxicated and disoriented in a public toilet, a 21-year-old man was detected supplying alcohol to two 16-year-old boys.

"Six minors aged 13-15 were also found unaccompanied and without appropriate adult supervision, contrary to licence conditions for the event. An unaccompanied 14-year-old girl was unable to be located by her adult minder for one-and-a-half hours. The juvenile was only reunited after all patrons had left the event after 12.30am."

Mr Keon said the Snowy Mountains area is a tourism mecca during winter and a festival that promotes skiing and snowboarding during the day followed by a full evening of entertainment could be a good thing if planned for and conducted properly.

"However, the operators of Snowtunes failed to adequately assess the risks of conducting such a large event and failed to ensure adequate planning and deployment of resources to maintain proper oversight of patrons," Mr Keon said.

"Instead of properly monitoring the crowd for intoxication and safety issues security staff were deployed to the event perimeter to stop people jumping the fence without paying for tickets.

"By doing this they dropped the ball on what was going on in the general crowd and mosh pit areas and serious intoxication issues arose as a result."

OLGR will be pursuing regulatory action against the Sydney-based organisation which held the event, Snowtunes Pty Ltd.

Two counts of supplying alcohol to minors will also be pursued against the 21-year-old man caught providing alcohol to the two 16-year-old boys.

Issues detected at the Snowtunes festival

  • About 3,600 patrons, including about 100 juveniles, and not enough roaming guards to adequately supervise the crowd. Festival guards wore dark blue jackets making them hard to identify for people requiring assistance.
  • Security staff not actively monitoring for intoxicated patrons and safety issues, but instead diverted to the perimeter to stop people jumping the fence to gain entry without tickets.
  • A 13-year-old intoxicated girl was located dazed and unaware of her surroundings in the female toilets and at risk of serious harm.
  • A 21-year-old man was detected supplying alcohol to two 16-year-old males.
  • Six minors aged 13-15 were found unaccompanied and without appropriate adult supervision.
  • An unaccompanied 14-year-old girl was unable to be located for one-and-a-half hours until all patrons had left the event after 12.30am.
  • A disc jockey was observed inappropriately yelling "XXXX the police sniffer dogs. People just want to get high and have fun" at the all age event that included minors.
  • An 18-year-old intoxicated woman was observed drinking from a hip flask and subsequently vomited in front of inspectors. A male friend was also intoxicated and vomited.
  • A 23-year-old intoxicated man with a broken wrist was observed having difficulty standing, continuously dropped his mobile phone, tripped over his feet and lost a shoe and needed help from friends to put it back on. When asked by inspectors if he was on medication he replied, "No. I drunk my way through the pain."
  • An intoxicated man was observed urinating in full view of hundreds of people next to the mosh pit. Event staff who observed the conduct took no action. Police subsequently intervened and arrested the male.
  • Two seriously intoxicated women were conveyed to the medical tent for ambulance care. Both were unable to converse and one continuously vomited.
  • Intoxicated patrons were observed in the mosh pit with festival organisers only ordering security sweeps of the mosh pit from 10pm.
  • No promotion of water and no obvious water stations even though the event’s licence included the need for free water stations at every bar area. Soft drinks were also not available for sale at the bar.