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How a reputational crisis ruined a music festival



Back in December, we wrote an article about the crisis surrounding the Stereosonic Music Festival after two deaths and hundreds of drug overdoses put the festival organisers under considerable scrutiny.

Deaths or a prevalence of drug use at festivals have the ability to severely damage the reputation of the festival; the festivals organisers and promoters. Public, media and police pressure and backlash all increase when a festival is being questioned for their procedures for minimising drug use and their ability to keep festivalgoers free from harm. The police have argued that many of these music festivals promote and cultivate a culture of excessive drug use and festival organisers are doing little to warn festivalgoers of the dangers.

However, the issue of drug use is not limited to Stereosonic. Other music festivals such as Rainbow Serpent and Maitreya have been called into question. At Rainbow Serpent alone nearly one in three drivers leaving the festival failed a drug test. State Governments have pushed for these festivals to be shut down, and just recently Stereosonic organisers announced that their festival would not go ahead this year under the guise of making it “bigger and better” for 2017.


It is essential that festivals implement plans and procedures to successfully manage a crisis such as drug use and the additional scrutiny that comes with it. Unfortunately for Stereosonic, they were unable to handle the crisis. However, there is ample opportunity for other festivals to implement additional measures that will increase festival safety and successfully manage their reputation in the eyes of the media, public and the police.

Briggs Communications offers expert training for companies in reputation management and crisis management. Contact us today for a free consultation and see how we can assist your company successfully manage a crisis.

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