If you think buying biodegradable glitter and organic weed sanctifies your fancy-free festival soul, I have some sad news for you.
By simply purchasing a ticket to any of Australia’s mainstream music festivals, you’re supporting Australia’s most socially destructive industry. It’s an industry that was responsible for 32% of drug treatment episodes in 15/16, 6000 deaths a year, anywhere from 23%-73% of assaults, and 430 hospital visits every single day.
And that’s not even touching on how fucking annoying it makes some people.
Yes, you guessed it, I am talking about alcohol: Australia’s #1 poison of choice.
Given this information, what do we, as a society, do?
Do our media keep a running tally every time a young person dies while under its influence?
Does our government plaster health warnings all over its packaging?
Does our citizenry lobby for legal reform?
We slap up huge banners showcasing the bubbles and the ice and the cute little slivers of orange adorning the rim of the glass at every single music festival and charge $10+ a pop for the privilege of ingestion.
And I’m not being funny when I say every single festival. Liquor brands are the Australian outdoor entertainment industry’s top backer.
Don’t believe me? Scroll down to the bottom of the website for any mainstream music event on the Aussie social calendar.
There’s Jack Daniels for the blues crowd, XXXX Gold for country crooners and Blossom Rose Cider for hipsters.
There’s Four Pillars Gin for the opera lovers, Captain Morgan for heavy metal hammerheads, and Sidewood wines for the folkish among us.
There’s Trophy EyePA for the pop kids, Coopers for the rock-n-rollers and Reyka Vodka for the dark, experimental types.
And I’m not just talking about the purely commercial 18+ events here. When it comes to advertising alcohol, it doesn’t matter if a music festival is run by a registered charity, sponsored by the government or “family-friendly”. If it aint a bush doof (which usually have no sponsors at all!), it is backed by -OH.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not an advocate for temperance – I’ve spun the wheel of Goon of Fortune and decorated the porcelain palace as much as the next punter.
My issue isn’t simply that Aussies drink too much alcohol (which we do).
My issue isn’t even with the sheer hypocrisy of a federal government that demonises illegal drug use while it funnels liquor down our throats from the moment we turn 18.
No, what pisses me off is that in Australia creative culture can’t survive on its own.
Mainstream festival organisers (who, having to pay the safety of thousands of drunk punters, are usually far from liquor industry advocates at heart) cannot secure enough corporate sponsorships or ticket sales to run events that stand on their own two feet.
Businesses don’t see the value in supporting music and arts with their wallets, and punters don’t see the point in going sober.
We simply don’t appreciate the arts.
And if that bothers you as much as it bothers me, do us both a favour: Click “Sponsors/Partners” before you click “Buy Ticket”.
It’s the ethical thing to do.