Genesis Black, a legal and well-organised music event at Sydney’s Horden Pavilion, was shut down by NSW Police last weekend. It wasn’t a good sign for the summer ahead.
Police said they were concerned about the health and wellbeing of patrons due to the number of drug-affected patrons and evidence of drug supply.
Other attendees I have spoken to were glowing in their praise of the event’s organisers. Ample paramedics and security staff were in attendance, along with plenty of water stations and notices displayed reminding the entire crowd to be safe, drink water and look out for their mates
The police operation was a stark contrast. As at previous music events, police chose to employ drug detection dogs against people waiting to enter the venue. The police continue to pursue this strategy that has proven to increase the risk of harm.
Drug dogs were also used in the outdoor area well into evening. This effectively turned the chill-out area, normally a safe place for patrons to go and have a break in fresh air, into a no-go zone for those who wanted to avoid harassment and strip searches.
Police then topped this at 2am with a short-term closure notice, forcing the immediate shut-down of the party. If they were really concerned about the safety of patrons then forcing them from the venue where paramedics, security and water were available made no sense. If we’re really going to keep people safe, we need much better than this.