Genesis Black should not have been shut down

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. GenesisBlack.jpg

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.

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  • Peta Hall
  • Care To Be Aware
    Instead of shutting down a well thought out event that countless organisers have invested time, effort, and money into arranging, law enforcement bodies should consider employing harm reduction strategies that increase safer partying for patrons. A more open minded and non-judgmental approach needs to be adopted, that says “if you can’t be good…be careful” and people need to know if they or a friend are at risk of experiencing harm due to drug use, they know can go somewhere or seek advice and assistance about the substances consumed at the event, without worrying about being punished by police for being in possession of illicit drugs.

    In order for society to progress and develop as a functioning whole, we all need to collaboratively and continuously adapt to reality to ensure survival. A zero-tolerance approach has not and does not work in terms of effectively deterring drug dealing and using, this is evident in the UN’s latest drug report, that found Australia to have the highest rate of ecstasy use and the highest drug mortality rate in comparison to the rest of the globe.

    The cancellation of events will also not deter drug use or prevent the harm associated with it, because all the patrons high on drugs would have continued the party at another venue, whether it be a friend’s house or a nightclub, both places of which are less likely to have the same medical staff and paramedic presence a ticketed dance party event would have.